The Analysis of Attitudinal Resources in Obama’s Victory Speech from Perspective of Appraisal Theory

Ailan DING


As the first African president in American history, Obama’s victory speech is very noticeable and influential in political and social life. As a formal and well-prepared speech, it fully expresses Obama’s positions and policies on domestic and external affairs.
James Martin and Peter White in nineties of the 20th century firstly introduced the Appraisal Theory which has its origin in the framework of Systemic Functional Linguistics. Appraisal Theory, as the extension and supplement for Halliday’s Systemic-Functional Theory, concerns how various resources are applied to convey attitudes and negotiate relationships and comprises three sub-types: Attitude, Engagement and Graduation.
In this thesis, the researcher attempts to make an analysis of attitudinal resources in president Obama’s victory speech from the perspective of Appraisal Theory and to discover how resources of Affect, Judgment and Appreciation are applied to rebuild public confidence, minimize hostility, appeal to the public for national solidarity and rally the country to challenges ahead.


Attitudinal resources; Appraisal Theory; Obama’s victory speech

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Martin, J. R., & White, P. (2005). The language of evaluation: appraisal in English (pp.92, 118, 134). New York: Palgrave Macmillan Ltd..

Martin, J. R., Rose, D., & Fawcett, R. (2003). Working with discourse (pp. 168-189). Bloomsbury Publishing PLC.

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