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Volume 20 Number 2, Summer 2023, Pages 215-506   

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Understanding Chinese High School ESL Learners' Use of L2 Attitudinal Resources in Letter Writing: A Systemic Functional Perspective

    Winfred Wenhui Xuan

While adolescent L2 writing has gained exponential research spotlight in the field of L2 writing, yet research on adolescent L2 English letter writing remains relatively scanty. In this paper, I draw on Appraisal from systemic functional linguistics to investigate the attitudinal resources used in L2 English letters written by adolescent Chinese EFL learners. I collect the data from two English letters written by a class of 50 junior three ESL students in Guangzhou China. I mainly look at Affect, Judgement and Appreciation from the system of Attitude in Appraisal to examine the interpersonal meaning-making in ESL learners' L2 letter writing. I utilize both quantitative and descriptive approaches to analyze the data, which are repeated measures ANOVAs and case study. The findings reveal that judgment is the dominant attitudinal resources that used in the interpersonal meaning-making in these students' letter writing and there exist significant differences under the use of different attitudinal resources between the two letters studied. These findings provide feedback to our understanding of interpersonal meaning-making in adolescent L2 letter writing. In addition, they also offer implications on how Appraisal could be leveraged as a framework in L2 writing assessment.

Keywords: adolescent L2 writing, Appraisal, systemic functional linguistics, interpersonal meaning-making, L2 letter writing