Tourism Discourse Revisited: An Analysis of Evaluative Strategies in Tourist Brochures from a Systemic Functional Linguistics Perspective

Alireza Jalilifar, Yasamin Moradi


Today, studying tourism discourse has become widespread among scholars in the field of text analysis. However, few, if any, studies which have addressed the language of tourism have examined the verbal content of travel brochures from the point of view of the appraisal model. The major questions addressed in this study pertain to Graduation strategies as part of appraisal strategies in the discourse of tourism as well as the lexico-grammatical resources for the coding of these strategies in texts. The dataset comprised 50 e-brochures released by tour operators across the United States within the period 2012 to 2013. First, the data were examined quantitatively to identify the statistical variations in utilizing Graduation strategies in tourist brochures. The preferences for lexico-grammatical resources for the construal of these strategies were also illustrated in light of a qualitative analysis. The results of the study revealed that the discourse of travel brochures is loaded with Graduation strategies. The subsystems within the system of Graduation were shown to serve as strong tools in promoting various aspects of tourist destinations such as the number and distribution of tourist sites over an area.


Appraisal; Graduation strategies; Language of tourism; Tourist brochures


A’Beckett, L. 2010. “Appraisal in the Russian press: The characterization of the Ukranian leaders”. Revista Electrónica de Lingüística Aplicada 8: 102-119.

Bednarek, M. 2010. “Polyphony in APPRAISAL: Typological and topological perspectives”. Linguistics and the Human Sciences 3(2): 107-136.

Bhatia, OV K. 1993. Analyzing genre: Language use in professional setting. London: Longman.

Bruner, E. M. 1991. “Transformation of self in tourism”. Annals of Tourism Research 18: 238-250.

Burns, A. L. and R. A. Robertson. 1999. “An evaluation of state tourism websites”. Proceedings. The Northeastern Recreation Research Symposium, 1999: 17-22.

Ciu, H., Lu, D. and Y. Hong. 2012. “A Contrastive Case Study of Cohesion in English and Chinese Tourist Texts”. Proceedings of the International Conference on Engineering and Business Management. 2486-2489.

Choi, S., Xinvan, Y. L. and M. M. Alastair. 2007. “Destination image representation on the web: content analysis of macau travel related websites”. Tourism Management 28: 118-129.

Dann, G. 1996. The language of tourism: A sociolinguistic perspective. Wallingford, U.K.: CAB International.

Dann, G. 2012. “Remodelling a changing language of tourism: From monologue to dialogue and trialogue”. Revista de Turismo y Patrimonio Cultural 10: 59-70.

Dillard, J. P. and M. Pfa. 2002. The persuasion handbook: developments in theory and practice. California: Thousand Oaks.

Doolin, B., Burgess, L. and J. Cooper. 2002. “Evaluating the use of the web for tourism marketing: A case study from New Zealand”. Tourism Management 23 (5): 557-561.

Dore, L. and CI. Geoffrey. 2003. “Promoting destinations: An exploratory study of publicity programs used by national tourism organizations”. Journal of Vacation Marketing 9: 137-151.

Gotti, M. 2003. Specialized discourse. Bern: Peter Lang.

Hallett, R. W. and J. Kaplan-Weinger. 2010. Official Tourism Websites: A Discourse Analytical Perspective. Bristol: Channel View Publications.

Hood, S. 2004. Appraising research: Taking a stance in academic writing. Ph. D. Thesis. Faculty of Education, University of Technology, Sydney.

Hood, S. 2006. “The persuasive power of prosodies: Radiating values in academic writing”. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 5: 37-49.

Hood, S. and J. R. Martin. 2007. “Invoking attitude: the play of graduation in appraising discourse”. Continuing Discourse on Language: A functional perspective (Volume 2). Eds. R. Hasan, C. Matthiessen and J. Webster. London: Equinox. 739-764.

Jalilifar, A. L., Hayati, A. M. and A. Mashhadi. 2012. “Evaluative strategies in Iranian and international research article introductions: Assessment of academic writing”. RALS 3 (1): 81-109.

Jonsson, S. and J. Syssner. 2011. “Postkolonialism”. Perspektiv på turism och resande. Begrepp för en kritisk turismanalys. Ed. J. Syssner. Lund: Studentlitteratur. 215-236.

Kress, G. and T. Van Leeuwen. 1996. Reading Images: The grammar of visual design. London: Routledge.

Lähteenmäki, S. 2012. Experience the real New Zealand - Maori culture as it is today: Representations of New Zealand and Maoris in Maori tourism websites. Master’s thesis. University of Jyväskylä, Department of Languages.

Liu, L. and M. Stevenson. 2013. “A cross-cultural analysis of stance in disaster news reports”. Australian Review of Applied Linguistics 36 (2): 197-220.

Liu, X. 2013. “Evaluation in Chinese university EFL students’ English argumentative writing: An APPRAISAL Study”. Electronic Journal of Foreign Language Teaching 10: 40-53.

Locksley, G. 2009. The media and development: What’s the story? Washington, D.C.: The World Bank.

MacCannel, D. 1989. “Introduction”. Annals of Tourism Research 16: 1-6.

Macken-Horarik, M. 2003. “Appraisal and the special instructiveness of narrative”. Text 32: 285-312.

Martin, J. R. and P. White. 2005. The language of evaluation: Appraisal in English. New York: Palgrave.

Mei, W. S. and D. Allison. 2003. “Exploring appraisal in claims of student writers in argumentative essays”. Prospect 18 (3): 71-91.

Mocini, R. 2009. “The verbal discourse of tourist brochures”. Annals of Tourism Research 5: 153-162.

Myers, G. A. 1996. “Strategic vagueness in academic writing”. Academic Writing: Intertextual and Textual Issues. Eds. E. Ventola and A. Mauranen. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 3-18.

Pan, S., Tsi, H. and J. Lee. 2011. “Framing New Zealand: Understanding tourism TV commercials”. Tourism Management 32: 596-603.

Patpong, P. 2009. “Thai persuasive discourse: A systemic functional approach to an analysis of amulet advertisements”. Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses 22: 95-217.

Rokowski, E. P. 2001. “Tourism as a language of social control”. Simposio Internacional de Comunicación Social. Ponencia invitada. Santiago de Cuba, 22-26 enero 2001.

Said, E. W. 1991. Musical Elaborations. New York: Columbia University Press.

Santos, C. A., Belhassen, Y. and K. Caton. 2009. “Reimagining Chinatown: An analysis of tourism discourse”. Tourism Management 29: 1002-1012.

Scollon, R. and P. Levine. 2004. “Multimodal discourse analysis as the confluence of discourse and technology”. Discourse and Technology: Multimodal Discourse Analysis. Eds. P. Levine and R. Scollon. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press. 1-6.

Thurot, J. 1989. Psychologie du Loisir Touristique. Aix-en-Province: Centre des Hautes Etudes Turistiques.

Van Leeuwen, T. 2004. “Ten reasons why linguists should pay attention to visual communication”. Discourse and Technology: Multimodal Discourse Analysis. Eds. P. Levine and R. Scollon. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press. 7-9.

Wan, Y. N. 2008. “The exchange of interpersonal meaning in call center conversations”. Odense Working Papers in Language and Communication 29: 825-839.

White, P. R. R. 2001. “Appraisal: An overview”.

White, P. R. R. 2003. “Appraisal: The language of attitudinal evaluation and intersubjective stance”.

Yui Ling Ip, J. 2008. “Analyzing tourism discourse: A case study of a Hong Kong travel brochure”. LCOM Papers 1: 1-19.

Zikmund, W. G. 2008. Business Research Methods. Ohio: Thomson South-Western.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

© Universidad de La Rioja, 2013

ISSN 1576-6357

EISSN 1695-4300