Book review genre in academic writing: a comparative study of English and Turkish across ten disciplines

Bal Gezegin, Betül
The current study aims to conduct a cross-disciplinary, and a cross-linguistic/crosscultural analysis of BRs published in English and Turkish in order to discover how this particular genre is enacted. To do so, it draws on two theoretical frameworks; Move Analysis (Swales, 1990), complemented by Appraisal Theory (Martin & White, 2005) within Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL). For the study, a corpus of 385 BRs published in Turkish and English journals in ten different disciplines in the period of 1990-2015 are collected. BRs in the corpora have undergone three levels of investigation: i) analysis of macro-structural (rhetorical) features; ii) identification of positive and negative evaluations, their types and functions as well as target aspects of books evaluated; iii) analysis of appraisal resources to see how interpersonal meaning is construed. The structural analysis of BRs revealed that BRs differed in textual features but shared common structural features in regards to having four overarching moves: introducing the book, outlining the book, providing evaluation and closing. In addition to these four moves, a new move (stating purpose of the reviews) was identified. For the second level of the study, negative and positive evaluative acts were identified and this yielded a new taxonomy of structural and functional features of evaluative acts. The analysis of evaluation in BRs showed that there were significant differences between Turkish and English in the practice of evaluating a book, particularly in providing negative evaluation. In Turkish reviews criticism was found to be generally avoided. In addition, it was found that book reviews in English presented most of the negative evaluations together with praise. Lastly, in the third phase of the study, application of appraisal model to BRs revealed that there were significant differences between English and Turkish BRs in all types of appraisal sources: attitude, engagement and graduation. English BRs were observed to include more resources of attitude and entertain. Among significant findings was that in English BRs there were more mitigated statements compared to Turkish BRs.


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Citation Formats
B. Bal Gezegin, “Book review genre in academic writing: a comparative study of English and Turkish across ten disciplines,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2015.