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Revista signos

versão On-line ISSN 0718-0934


NATALE, Lucía. Discourse strategies for negative evaluations in university professors´ written comments. Rev. signos [online]. 2021, vol.54, n.105, pp.236-257. ISSN 0718-0934.

The written comments university professors make about students’ texts serve, fundamentally, two purposes: to express an evaluation (positive or negative) and feedback on written production (Kumar & Strake, 2011). In the latter case, professors offer guidance and indicate what adjustments can be made for the text to meet the disciplinary culture requirements. Evaluations, in turn, can be more or less open to negotiation depending on the discursive resources selected for their construction. Based on the contributions of Systemic Functional Linguistics (Halliday, 1994; Martin & White, 2005), this paper presents a qualitative analysis of three discourse strategies (Menéndez, 2005) used by professors to express a negative evaluation about their students’ productions. The strategies -which we have called ‘Rejection’, ‘Adjustment’ and ‘Problematization’- construct, respectively, evaluations that respond to scales (Thompson & Hunston, 2000) such as correct/incorrect, accurate/inaccurate or questionable/unquestionable, which refer, specifically, to the conceptual contents and knowledge construction made by students. In order to identify the strategies mentioned, we have considered the type of knowledge (e. g., terms, factual data, research methods) assessed by professors and the way in which intersubjective positions are negotiated (Martin & White, 2005). The results show that negative evaluations offer more or less margin for negotiation, according to the type of knowledge evaluated.

Palavras-chave : Academic writing; written comments; negative evaluation; discourse strategies; negotiation.

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