Macquarie University
2 files

Praise and criticism in university seminars: form, function and use

posted on 2022-03-29, 00:11 authored by Anne McLellan Howard
While feedback in written academic discourse has been extensively studied, it is only relatively recently that the development of several academic corpora has allowed this feature of spoken academic discourse to be closely examined. This thesis consists of four related studies, all of which use discourse samples obtained from the BASE and Michigan corpora to investigate interpersonal issues in the university classroom, specifically those relating to praise and criticism. In a comparison of praise in an academic context with compliments in ordinary speech, praise was found to have different discourse functions. Praise in spoken academic discourse was also compared with positive feedback in various types of written academic English, and it was found that less variation in form was evident in the spoken contexts investigated. A study of the relationship between types of praise and discipline area did not suggest that they were linked. Finally, when negative feedback was examined in the same contexts, it was discovered to take a range of forms, and the data suggest that in this case choice of form may be linked to discipline, context, and type of activity. -- Feedback in the university classroom is usually explored as a purely pedagogical phenomenon. By showing the different forms that feedback can take in different contexts, it is hoped that this study will add an understanding of the surrounding interpersonal issues, particularly those involving face. This work also provides categorizations of positive and negative feedback, developing a feedback with applications for teacher development. The findings are potentially useful for non-native English speaking students who need to make a sometimes difficult transition from participating in the IRF sequences encountered in the language classroom, and acclimatize themselves to academic spoken contexts in the university.


Table of Contents

1. Introduction -- 2. Research background and rationale -- 3. Literature review -- 4. Compliments in ordinary conversation and praise in academic spoken discourse -- 5. A comparison of positive evaluation in spoken and written academic discourse -- 6. Praise in university seminars: disciplinary differences -- 7. Criticism in academic discourse -- 8. Conclusion -- 9. References -- 10. Appendices.


Bibliography: pages 254-287 December 2011

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


Thesis (PhD), Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Linguistics

Department, Centre or School

Department of Linguistics

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Jill Murray


Copyright disclaimer: Copyright Anne McLellan Howard 2012.




1 online resource (viii, 332 pages)

Former Identifiers

mq:27170 1999405