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Article

The interrelation between evaluative


categories and evaluated items
Yong Wang* and Jie Xu
Abstract
On the basis of 1171 actual IEC (It-Evaluative Construction, i.e., extraposition in
traditional grammar) examples from the BNC and other sources, the present paper
investigates the interrelationship between the two major semantic elements of the
construction, the Evaluator and the Evaluated. It is found that first-order entities
never occur in the IEC as the Evaluated; all instances of the Evaluated belong to
second or third-order entities. A general correspondence exists between modality
and third-order entities and between attitude and second-order entities. That is, all
the exponents of modality are directed to third-order entities and an overwhelming
majority of attitudinal exponents is oriented to second-order entities, and vice versa.
(The 55 exceptions are explainable in terms of relevance of the entity to the text.)
Thus, the distribution of the evaluative categories and the evaluated entities and the
correlation between them are semantically motivated.
Keywords: correlation; evaluation; evaluator; evaluated, functional
linguistics

1. Introduction
The construction we shall investigate is what is called extraposition in traditional grammar (e.g., Jespersen, 1937/1965; Poutsma, 1928; Quirk et al., 1972,
1985; Biber et al., 1999; Huddleston and Pullum, 2002), which is exemplified
by:
Affiliation
Central China Normal University Wuhan, Hubei, P.R. China.
email: wangyongfl@yahoo.com.cn (corresponding author)

lhs vol 8.1 2013 2961


2013, equinox publishing

doi : 10.1558/lhs.v8i1.29

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(1)
(2)

It was true that she would not enter a shop in her own country. (BNC CDX
2931)
It is hard to read these sentences without a smile. (BNC A7C 1523)

Since we are interested in the meaning expressed by the construction, we prefer


the semantically-oriented term, It-Evaluative Construction (henceforth IEC)
to the traditional formally-oriented term. We recognize three semantic elements within the construction: Evaluated, Evaluator and Hinge. The Evaluated refers to the entity being evaluated (events, actions, propositions, etc.); it
is generally denoted by the extraposed clause in traditional terms. The Evaluator refers to the specific evaluative item which is employed to evaluate the
Evaluated with respect to certain evaluative categories. For example, the Evaluator true in (1) evaluates the Evaluated that she would not enter a shop in her
own country in terms of epistemic modality. In a typical instance of IEC, the
Evaluator is related to the Evaluated through a Hinge, as illustrated by was in
(1). Thus in the present terminology, (1) can be analysed as shown in Table 1.
Table 1.1: The Evaluator, Evaluated, Hinge, and Evaluation in the IEC
It

was

true

that she would not enter a shop in her own country

Hinge

Evaluator

Evaluated

The IEC is believed to be effective in expressing evaluative meaning (cf., e.g.,


Collins, 1994; Francis, 1995; Lemke, 1998; Biber et al., 1999; Hunston and Sinclair, 2000; Herriman, 2000a, 2000b, 2001; Gmez-Gonzlez, 2001; Fawcett,
2003). For example, Biber and Finegan (1989) and Francis (1995) see the IEC as
a syntactic frame for expressing evaluation. Following Francis (1995), Lemke
(1998: 36) uses this frame as a useful heuristic for exploring the semantics of
evaluation, at least in the domain of propositions and proposals. With the IEC
as the testing tool, Lemke (1998) works out seven evaluative semantic dimensions (see Section 2.1). Hunston and Sinclair (2000) regard the IEC as one of the
particular grammatical patterns which select and therefore identify evaluative
items, and which are typically and primarily used to express evaluation.
This paper dwells on the semantic features of the IEC. Specifically, we
shall concentrate on the meanings of the two major semantic elements of the
IEC: the Evaluator and the Evaluated. The former proves to be a controversial research domain which has interested many researchers who have proposed different categorizations of evaluative meaning, some concerned with
evaluative meaning in general, others with that in the IEC in particular, and
still others using the IEC as a frame for exploring evaluative meaning in general; some more systemically-oriented, others corpus-based. As a result, we
are faced with too many categorizations, none of which agrees with any other
because of the heterogeneous frameworks and perspectives adopted.

Yong Wang and Jie Xu 31


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The semantics of the Evaluated is a generally ignored area. This is so both


because researchers are more interested in the semantics of the Evaluator and
because it is taken for granted that this is not a worthwhile area for consideration. Another fallacy about the semantics of the Evaluated is that there is
always a correspondence between the form and the meaning: between the
types of clauses and the entities denoted by them. For example, it is held that
that-clauses express propositions and ing-clauses and infinitive clauses express
actions. Our corpus indicates that this is not the case both in the sense that
there is no one-to-one relationship between form and meaning and in the
sense that the entities denoted can be more varied than just being propositions or actions and the realization classes can be more varied than just being
the that-clause, the ing-clause, and the infinitive clause.
After we have characterized the semantics of the Evaluator and the Evaluated, we shall probe into the interrelationship between them. By this, we
attempt to answer this question: Do people tend to employ particular evaluative categories to evaluate particular types of entities?
The examples used in this research come from a corpus collected by ourselves, which contains 1171 instances of IEC.1 These are mainly from two
sources: one is the British National Corpus (BNC) through repeated itconcordancing. 834 instances are thus derived, accounting for 71.2% of the
total. The advantage of this source is that they are results of random concordance; hence they cover a wider range of different registers. Therefore, they are
more likely to reveal a true picture of the IEC in use. The disadvantage is that it
does not offer much context except the very limited co-text, which prevents us
from approaching IEC examples from the more extended context. Therefore,
we turn to the second source; we manually collect examples from different text
types, which include those from academic writings, news features and literary
writings (essays). 337 examples are derived through this means, accounting
for 28.8% of the total. In some cases, we collected IEC examples throughout
an article or a book,2 which makes available wider contexts for considering the
IEC from the perspective of discourse.

2. Semantics of the Evaluator: Evaluative categories


2.1. Introduction
The notion of evaluation has been variously referred to as connotation (e.g.,
Lyons, 1977), stance (e.g., Biber and Finegan, 1989, Biber et al., 1999, Conrad
and Biber, 2000), evidentiality (e.g., Chafe and Nichols, 1986), attitude (e.g.,
Lemke, 1998), modality (e.g., Halliday, 1976, 1994; Palmer, 1979, 2001), and
appraisal (e.g., Martin, 2000, Martin and Rose, 2003). Due to the divergent
theoretical frameworks or research purposes behind these studies, there is
overlap but never total agreement on what each term covers. In this study, we

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opt for evaluation as the broader cover term for the speakers attitude or stance
towards, viewpoint on, or feeling about the entity that occurs at the position of
the Evaluated in the IEC.
There is a body of literature devoted to the categorization of evaluative meaning and the studies differ in scope and in terminology. For example, concerned with evidentiality, Chafe (1986) distinguishes three aspects
of the marking of evidentiality: (1) the reliability of the knowledge itself; (2)
the mode of knowing; and (3) the source of knowledge; all these are brought
under the cover term, evidentiality. Biber and Finegan (1989) classify evaluative meaning in general (stance in their terminology) into the two main
categories of evidentiality and affect, the former referring to the speakers
expression of attitudes towards knowledge (different and broader than Chafes
notion of evidentiality), and the latter the expression of a broad range of personal attitudes, including emotions, feelings, moods, and general dispositions.
Hunston (1994) also probes into evaluation in general. Her notion of evaluation is of three kinds: status, value and relevance.
Within the systemic functional framework, the system of MODALITY as set
out by Halliday (1976, 1994) accounts for one of the aspects of interpersonal
meaning which gives a value to the clause as a proposition or a proposal (Halliday, 1976, 1994; Martin, 1995; Matthiessen, 1995: 497). It is a resource concerned
with the domain of negotiation of the proposition and the proposal between the
categorical extremes, that is, between the unqualified positive and negative. This
system consists of the two sub-systems of MODALIZATION and MODULATION with regard to propositions and proposals respectively, the former catering for probability and usuality and the latter obligation and inclination.
In order to describe evaluation of entities in general (e.g., objects, behaviours, phenomena), Martin (2000), White (2001), and Martin and Rose
(2003) develop the APPRAISAL system. One of its sub-systems is ATTITUDE, which is in turn hierarchically related to the more delicate systems
of AFFECT, JUDGEMENT, and APPRECIATION, dealing with the characterization of phenomena by reference to emotion, the evaluation of human
behaviour by reference to social norms, and the evaluation of objects and
products by reference to aesthetic principles and other systems of social value.
These two models (i.e., the MODALITY system and the APPRAISAL system)
prove useful in that when combined, they can largely be employed as framework to capture evaluative meaning in general.
Apart from the categorizations of the evaluative meaning occurring in
language use at large, there are also studies dwelling on categorization of
evaluative meaning realized by the Evaluator in the IEC. Most of these are
corpus-based, e.g., Mair (1990: 26), Collins (1994: 19), Francis (1995), Herriman (2000b: 586589), Fawcett (forthcoming), as set out in Table 2.

Yong Wang and Jie Xu 33


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Among the relevant studies, Lemke (1998) is interesting in that it is concerned with evaluation in general on the one hand and he uses the IEC (with
that-clause as the Evaluated) as a trial frame for categorization of evaluative meaning on the other hand. As a result, Lemke identifies seven semantic classes of evaluative attributes for propositions and proposals, which, he
claims, cover all the possibilities allowed in English.
These studies differ in their scope and purpose. For example, Mair (1990)
is concerned with the IEC with the infinitive clause as the Evaluated, whereas
Lemke (1998) is interested in the IEC with the that-clause as the Evaluated. All
of these schemes exclude evidentiality as a sub-category of modality (including Halliday, 1994). One outcome of the different schemes of the categorization is terminological confusion. This is so because some researchers derive
their terms directly from corpus investigations (e.g., Mair, 1990; Collins, 1994;
Francis, 1995), others are more theoretically or systemically-oriented (Halliday, 1994; Martin, 2000), still others start from a theoretically-oriented scheme
and then fit the corpus examples into the scheme (e.g., Herriman, 2000b). In
order to tidy up such terminology confusion, we need to probe into the basic
categories of evaluative meaning. Before this, a comparison between these categories is necessary.
The different categories of evaluative meaning can be generally brought
under two broad categories: modality and attitude (cf. Thompson and Hunston, 2000: 4). The former is in terms of likelihood and reliability and the latter
in terms of emotional/affectual responses (see Section 2.2). In this light, the
above-listed schemes can be viewed as either concerned with one of the two
aspects (the separating approach) or with evaluation in general (the combining approach). According to Thompson and Hunston (2000: 45), Halliday,
Chafe and Martins schemes belong to the separating approach and the rest of
them the combining approach. Therefore, it is largely possible to relate these
different schemes to each other and to the two broad categories.
Table 2: A comparison of the different schemes of evaluative meaning
Modality

Attitude

Halliday (1976, 1994)

modalization

modulation

Chafe (1986)

evidentiality

Biber and Finegan (1989) evidentiality

affect

Mair (1990)

potentiality,

frequency /necessity/desirability,
ease or difficulty, judgement

Collin (1994)

potentiality, usuality

deontic conditions, ease/ difficulty,


judgement

Hunston (1994)

status

value, relevance

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Francis (1995)

modality, predictability,
obviousness, truth

rationality, ability, importance,


value, appropriacy

Lemke (1998)

Warrantability/
probability,
usuality/
expectability,
comprehensibility/ obviousness

desirability / inclination,
importance/significance,
humorousness/seriousness,
normativity/appropriateness

Herriman (2000b)

epistemic modality,

deontic modality, dynamic modality,


evaluation
affect, judgement, appreciation

Martin (2000), etc.


Fawcett (forthcoming)

validity

affective, experiential-affective

2.2. A proposed categorization of evaluative meaning


It is obvious that none of the above-surveyed categorizations is readily applicable to the present study both because our concept of the IEC is different
from that of extraposition, with which most of the relevant studies are concerned (therefore, we yield categories which are excluded in their schemes)
and because there exists such terminological haphazard as is set out above. In
this sub-section, we shall put forth our alternative categorization to account
for the evaluative meaning expressed by the Evaluator in the IEC (i.e., we do
not intend this categorization to cater for evaluative meaning in general). Our
scheme is mostly a combination and adaptation of Halliday (1994) and Palmers (2001) concept of modality and Martins (2000) concept of appraisal. We
shall extend the concept of modality to include evidentiality and to exclude
deontic and dynamic modality, the former being subsumed under judgement and the latter under practicality. As a result, our concept of appraisal is
broader than that of Martins in that, other things being equal, it includes event
modality (cf. Palmer, 2001). Our categories of evaluative meaning are set out
in Fig. 1. In the following sub-sections, we shall elaborate on these categories
and give corpus examples to illustrate them. We shall also describe their distribution patterns as our corpus investigation manifests.
MODALITY

Epistemic
Evidential

EVALUATION

affect
ATTITUDE

judgement
appreciation
practicality

Figure 1: The categories of evaluative meaning in the IEC

Yong Wang and Jie Xu 35


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2.2.1. Modality
Modality is concerned with the factual status of the proposition; it accounts for
the degree to which the proposition is true to the actual status of the described
state of affairs. Strictly, a proposition can only be described as either true or
false. But language use allows intermediate status; this gives rise to modality.
That is to say, modality is a semantic resource which enables speakers to take
a position between the two poles of yes and no. This position can be taken in
different ways in relation to the different entities which are being negotiated
about between the speaker and the hearer. Within the general paradigm of
modality we recognize epistemic modality and evidentiality both are concerned with such questions as: in what way, in what respect, or to what extent
the proposition is held valid. We exclude the traditional concept of event
modality from modality (Palmer, 1979: 24; 2001: 8, 20 modulation in Hallidays terminology), whose components are subsumed under different categories in the system of ATTITUDE on the grounds that basically attitude in our
model accounts for the speakers evaluation of event.3 In particular, the traditional deontic and dynamic modality (cf. Palmer, 1979: 5870; 2001: 710;
Lyons 1977: 820ff) are attributed to judgement and practicality respectively in
the present model.
As a sub-category of modality, epistemic modality is a resource that the
speaker employs to indicate his attitude towards the truth-value or factual
status of the entity in question. It explicitly indicates the speakers degree of
commitment to the truth of the statement (Palmer, 1986: 51). In our corpus,
there are 198 instances of the IEC in which the Evaluators are in terms of epistemic modality, accounting for 16.6% of the total. The most common exponents are: (un)clear, (un)likely, true, possible, may be, apparent, etc. Apart from
such words, another class of exponent of this meaning is lexical bundle,4 for
example, true to say, unreal to say, possible to argue, impossible to say, wrong to
assume, hard to tell, hard to know, difficult to say, easy to see, difficult to assess,
etc. (see Appendix 1 for a full list of the exponents of the evaluative categories).
Among these items, may is different from others as an Evaluator in that
evaluative meaning in the IEC is typically expressed by adjectival groups. But
from the semantic and functional perspective, it may be taken as expressing modality with regard to the proposition denoted by the that-clause in the
position of the Evaluated, as in:
(3) It may be that my help will be called for. (BNC H84 355)

where may indicates the speakers uncertainty with regard to the proposition
my help will be called for.
Evidential modality indicates the evidence that the speaker has for the factual
status of the statement in question. There are two resources which are employed

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for this function: the mode of knowing and the source of knowledge. Ifantidou
(2001: 56) shows that information can be acquired in various ways such as: by
observation (it is observed that , etc.), by hearsay (it is said, it is reported ,
it is supposed, etc.), by inference (it seems , it follows, etc.), and by memory
(it is recalled, it is remembered, etc.). With regard to source, information
may be traceable to the speaker, to other parties (be it identifiable or not), or to
the public in general. Ultimately, these resources function to indicate the speakers commitment to proposition expressed by the Evaluated. It is in this sense
that evidentiality constitutes a sub-category of modality.
There are 259 instances in which the Evaluators are in terms of evidentiality, accounting for 21.7% of the total. Evidentiality functions in two ways in
the IEC: first, it indicates the source of the information by resorting to report.5
This may take three different forms as in:
(4)

(5)

(6)

It was estimated by the World Bank that the collapse of the ICA in July 1989
would cost coffee producers almost $ 4,000 million in lost revenues. (BNC
HL1 3154)
It was reported that signs about dog fouling, and notes for motorists who
park on the green pointing out that the car park should be used, are now
available. (BNC B03 1871)
Its a public secret that the immediate aims of the group are to get into bigger
and better premises in Cupar. (BNC K5H 3757)

In (4), the source of the information described in the that-clause is attributable to an identifiable source (i.e., the World Bank); in (5), the speaker claims
to have heard of the information described in the that-clause, but the source
of it is unidentified (it may be unidentifiable or the speaker simply intends it to
be unidentified); and in (6), the speaker indicates that the information offered
is generally held to be true (i.e., attributable to the public). In such cases, the
information is traceable to sources other than the speaker; therefore he is not
held responsible for the truthfulness of it. Two hundred and five instances
are yielded from the corpus in which the speaker indicates (or conceals) the
source of the information through report. Words that most frequently realize this type of evidentiality are: (it is) said/argued/ suggested/noted/assumed/
known/thought, etc.
Second, evidentiality indicates that the evidence of the information is
through different channels of perception (e.g., visual, auditory, hence Palmers
(2001: 43) term sensory), assumption, or inference as in:
(7)

(8)

It appears that the male butterflies secrete sodium in their spermatozoa


capsules (spermatophores) during mating, which the female then uses to
construct her eggs. (BNC B7J 933)
It follows from what we have said that in our judgment the decision of the
judge to stay the proceedings in the instant case was wrong. (BNC FBT 294)

Yong Wang and Jie Xu 37


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Appears in (7) indicates that the speakers evidence for the following information is through some general perception; while follows in (8) shows that the
information expressed in the that-clause is derivable through inference. Basically, it is the speaker who does the perception, assumption, or inference, but
in most cases this is not explicitly indicated. This, as is the case with report,
contributes to the objectification function of the IEC (see Collins, 1994: 22,
Gmez-Gonzlez, 2001: 272).
There are 54 instances yielded from the corpus in which the speaker indicates his evidence for the information through sensory evidentiality. Items
which frequently realize this mode of evaluative meaning are: seem, appear,
follow, look, etc.
2.2.2. Attitude
Attitude is one of the three categories recognized in Martins APPRAISAL
system, the other two being engagement and graduation (Martin, 1997, 2000;
White, 2001; Martin and Rose, 2003). Engagement is largely what is captured
by modality in the present model, though we take a different perspective from
Martin, ours being subjective and Martins intersubjective6 (Bakhtin, 1981;
White, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001). In a narrow sense, graduation is not a category
of evaluative meaning, therefore it is beyond the scope of the present study.
Attitude caters for the value by which speakers pass judgements and associate
emotional/affectual responses with entities. Thus, attitude complements Hallidays model of interpersonal meaning.
In Martins model, three kinds of attitude are identified. They are affect
(resources for construing emotion), judgement (resources for judging behaviors in ethical terms), and appreciation (resourses for valuing objects aesthetically). Though, according to Martin, these three categories are proposed
for evaluation of different entities: affect for behaviour, text/process, and phenomenon; judgement for behaviour; and appreciation for processes and products, we find that they all occur in the position of the Evaluator in the IEC.
This model of attitude can be applied, among other things, to second-order
entities, which are typically denoted by the infinitive clause realizing the Evaluated in the IEC.
It is found that a large portion of Evaluators in our corpus can be fitted into
the tripartite scheme of attitude in Martins model. But there are also cases
which do not yield comfortably to any of the proposed categories. In order to
capture such cases, we propose a fourth category of attitudinal meaning, that
is, practicality.
In Martins APPRAISAL system, affect is modelled as a semantic resource
for construing emotions. It is typically realized through affective mental processes (This pleases me, I hate chocolate, etc.) and through attributive relational

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processes (Im sad, Im happy, shes proud of her achievements, hes frightened of
spiders, etc). It may also be encoded as material processes through ideational
metaphor (this gives me headache , it makes me angry , etc.).
Altogether, we derive 68 instances of IEC from the corpus whose Evaluators express affect, accounting for 6% of the total. As is the case in other contexts, affect in the IEC is mostly realized through mental processes of affection
(It disappointed me , It annoys me , It hurts me , etc.), through attributive relational process (It is a relief , it is a wonder , It is provoking , etc.).
It can also be expressed metaphorically through a material process (It makes
me angry , It gives me pleasure , etc.) (see Appendix 1 for a full list of the
exponents of this sub-category)
Judgement can be thought of as institutionalization of feeling to evaluate
human behaviours by reference to a set of institutionalized norms. The social
norms at risk in such assessment take the form of rules and regulations or of
less precisely defined social expectations and systems of value. Thus, under
judgement we may assess behaviour as moral or immoral, legal or illegal,
socially acceptable or unacceptable, laudable or deplorable, normal or abnormal. There are 266 instances of IEC whose Evaluators express judgement,
accounting for 22.4% of the total. The most common exponents are: better/
best/good/worse, necessary, nice, common, (un)reasonable, desirable/undesirable, sufficient/ insufficient, appropriate, make sense, wise, right, etc.
In the present scheme, judgement includes what is traditionally referred
to as deontic modality in that it is basically relatable to some institutionalized norms so that an action may be construed in such terms as necessary,
required, imperative, compulsory, astute, responsible, etc. (Perkins, 1983: 11).
In this light, the deontic meaning expressed in the IEC is not intrinsically different from judgement and it can be subsumed under this category.
Judgement also includes usuality, which is included in modality in other
models (e.g., Halliday, 1994: 89). This is a resource for expressing different
degrees of polarity by means of oftenness (ibid). In the IEC, it evaluates a state
of affairs described in the that-clause by attaching a value to it in terms of how
often the state of affairs may hold true, for example, sometimes yes, sometimes
no (ibid). There are only 11 instances of the IEC from the corpus which evaluate in terms of usuality. It is expressed by such words as (not) often, seldom,
coincidence, coincidental, happen, (no) accident, etc. as in:
As with most areas of sociological study, it is not often that a simple and
unproblematic definition can be established. (BNC B17 1487)
(10) It is no coincidence that in the current recess, tramp<?>, the big boys have
been active again, though with mixed success. (BNC CBT 875)
(9)

Our treatment of usuality as a subtype of judgement is justifiable in that it is


not the proper category to evaluate proposition (though the Evaluated is real-

Yong Wang and Jie Xu 39


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ized by the that-clause), which can only be evaluated in terms of its factual
status, either true or false, or somewhere in between, that is, propositions are
only truth bearers. This is accounted for by epistemic and evidential modality. What usuality evaluates is the state of affairs behind the proposition rather
than the proposition itself. That is to say, usuality does not belong to proposition modality simply because the Evaluateds are not propositions. (We shall
probe into this issue later.)
Appreciation is the sub-system by which evaluation is made of products
and processes. It encompasses values which fall under the general heading
of aesthetics (e.g., harmonious, symmetrical, balanced, convoluted, beautiful),
as well as the non-aesthetic category of social valuation including meanings
such as harmful, tragic, and ironic. While judgement evaluates human behaviour, appreciation typically evaluates natural objects, manufactured objects,
texts as well as more abstract constructs such as plans and policies. There are
35 instances of IEC which evaluate entities in terms of appreciation, accounting for 3% of the total. Examples are: (it is) one thing (it is) another thing ,
(it is) a paradox , (it is) a fashion , (it is) misleading , (it is) ironic , (it
is) incongruous , (it is) a tragedy .
It is noted that, in these instances, evaluation is not in genuinely aesthetic
terms, that is, in terms of an entitys composition or the aesthetic reaction it
arouses in the appreciator, rather, the entities in question are mostly related to
some social valuation (cf., Martin, 2000; White, 2001; Martin and Rose, 2003).
(For reason of this distribution pattern see Section 3.)
It would be desirable if all the exponents of the Evaluator can be fitted into
the categories we have covered so far. But it proves that many of them can not
be brought into any of them comfortably. In order to cope with such cases,
we propose a fourth category of attitudinal meaning, practicality. Different
from affect, judgement, and appreciation, which construe attitudinal meaning
by resorting to personal emotions, social norms, or aesthetical principles and
social valuation, practicality relates to resources which evaluate entities with
respect to a specific goal, that is, it is concerned with practical issues and it is
goal-oriented. Compared with the other three, this category is more oriented
to the tasks at hand or more concerned with such empirical and practical matters as time, expense, speed, difficulty, usefulness, importance and safety. In
this light, it is comparable to Hunstons (1994, 2000) term of value. Practicality evaluates entities in such terms as early-late, quick-slow, cheap-expensive,
difficult-easy, possible-impossible, useful-useless, important-unimportant,
safe-dangerous.
This sub-category includes what is referred to as dynamic modality in traditional semantics (e.g., Lyons, 1977; Palmer, 1979, 2001), in which it is interpreted
as relating to circumstances that make an action possible or impossible rather

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than the actual ability of the agent concerned (cf. Palmer, 2001: 10). This is typically expressed by (im)possible in the IEC. Dynamic modality can be plausibly
subsumed under this sub-heading in that it evaluates the possibility of occurrence of an event in practical terms with regard to the external circumstances.
There are 365 exponents of practicality from the corpus, accounting for
30.6% of the total, by far the largest portion of all the exponents of the Evaluator in the IEC. The reason of this distribution pattern will be addressed in the
following sub-section.
2.2.3. Some clarifications
It seems, up to this stage, that we have presented a scheme of evaluative categories whose boundaries are clear-cut. This is far from being the actual situation. As is always the case with language description, in some cases, what we are
faced with is a fluid both-and situation. When such occasions arise, our decisions may be arbitrary for the sake of convenience of discussion. For example,
we describe such items as apparent, obvious, evident, and doubtful as denoting
epistemic modality and seem, appear, safe bet and conceivable as denoting evidentiality. Strictly speaking, the distinction between them is very vague and
fluid. They can be conversely classified without losing much ground in that
both of the groups can be thought of as indicating the speakers (un)certainty as
to the information expressed by the Evaluated as well as indicating the speakers evidence for the information. Nevertheless, it seems that the latter group of
items indicates, apart from the speakers lack of certainty, the evidence for the
information in question, be it perceptive, assumptive, etc. Luckily both epistemic evidential belong to modality, and this fluidity does not affect the validity
of the general conclusion we reach at the end of the study.
This indeterminacy also exists in the general framework. Martins tripartite
scheme of attitude seems theoretically well-motivated but leaves many difficulties in actual analysis. For example, the distinction between reaction appreciation and affect has to be made on arbitrary grounds. Should we classify such
words as surprising, shocking, interesting and pleasure as belonging to appreciation, as Martin (2000: 159169) does? Or should they be attributed to affect
on the grounds they are inherently expressive of feelings? We take them as
expressing affect in that their primary function is to express feelings rather
than to describe features of entities.
To make the issue more complicated, different types of evaluative meaning often go hand in hand. For example, if something is evaluated as desirable
(which is a judgement evaluation), it is most likely to arouse positive feeling in
the person concerned (hence it gives rise to affect evaluation). Furthermore,
in some cases, the evaluative meaning in question is a mixture of different categories instead of belonging to a single category. For example:

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(11) It is a sad fact that unspoken resentment is the commonest cause of sexual
problems in middle-aged couples. (BNC B3G 524)
(12) It would be a sorry paradox if any relaxation in the ownership rules encouraged
the less efficient licensees to acquire the more efficient. (BNC K3M 119)

in (11), the sate of affairs described in the that-clause is evaluated at once as


a fact (epistemic modality) and as sad (affect); in (12) the situation denoted
by the if-clause is evaluated at once as sorry (affect) and paradox (appreciation). Our treatment of the former is as an instance of affect evaluation on
the grounds that epistemic evaluation is of secondary nature in this particular
instance. But (12) is described as containing two instances of evaluation (i.e.,
sorry and paradox, which evaluate in terms of affect and appreciation respectively) co-occurring in the same instance of IEC.
The last point which deserves clarification is that evaluative meaning is
explicit (inscribed in Martins terms) in some cases and implicit (evoked in
Martins terms) in others (Martin, 2000: 155). In the latter case, we resort to
paraphrasing in order to bring out the evaluation. For example, in
(13) It is a fans dream come true to watch it and a commentators dream to be part
of it. (BNC CH7 3790)

the apparent descriptions of to watch it and to be part of it as a fans dream come


true and as a commentators dream respectively are implicit affective evaluations of the entities in question as much desired.
Through the elaboration and description in this section, we can reach a
general distribution pattern of the evaluative categories in the IEC as indicated
by our corpus investigation. Of the two major categories of evaluative meaning, attitude accounts for the larger portion of the total than modality (61.6
vs. 38.4%). Within attitude, practicality is the most frequent category, while
affect and appreciation are much less frequent. We hold that if categories are
unevenly distributed, it is marked in some way. Being marked entails being
motivated. One of the objectives of the present study is to find out how this
unsymmetrical distribution is motivated. But before we probe into this issue,
we need to address the semantics of the other major semantic locus of the construction, that is, the Evaluated.
2.3. Semantics of the Evaluated: The evaluated entities
2.3.1. Introduction
Unlike that of the Evaluator, the semantics of the Evaluated is practically
ignored. For example, Hunston (2000) holds that the Evaluated in general can
be either statement or thing, with the meaning and distinction between them
taken for granted. Martin (2000) only loosely mentions such entities as behaviour, text/process, phenomenon, and product. Chafes (1986) model is exclu-

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sively concerned with knowledge. Even in Herriman (2000b), which shares


much common concern with the present study, the evaluative categories are
related to the formal realization of the Evaluated; that is, it dwells on the interrelationship between the Evaluated as realized by the infinitive clause, ingclause, and that-clause and the evaluative categories, without probing into the
issue of how different ontological entities may be denoted by these different
types of clause. Hallidays concepts of proposition and proposal are inadequate
in that these are proposed for exploring the evaluative meaning (i.e., modality) of clause as a speech event, whereas we are interested in the semantics of
the entity which participates as the Evaluated in the Evaluation. As is indicated
by the description above, modality only accounts for one of the two major categories of evaluative meaning and proposition and proposal do not capture all
the evaluated entities. For example, apart from these two categories, the Evaluated in the IEC may be such entities as events, actions, situations and questions.
Neither are Hallidays concepts of act and fact well-suited for a semantic
treatment of the Evaluated in the IEC, though, as he (Halliday, 1994: 268)
observes, they often occur in the IEC. For one thing, these terms are primarily proposed to account for the logical metafunction, that is, they are seen
as special kinds of expansion and projection respectively. For another, fact
includes the subtype of needs, which, instead of being exclusively realized by
the that-clause (as Halliday presumes), can be realized by the infinitive clause
(i.e., the denoted is not a fact). Furthermore, though Halliday cautions against
it, fact inevitably implies that what is denoted is invariably true, which, in the
case of the IEC, is an implication that should be avoided. In what follows, we
shall attempt to categorize the entities denoted by the Evaluated by employing
Lyons (1977) model of three-order entities.
2.3.2. Three-order entities
Lyons (1977: 442445) distinguishes three types of entities: first-order entities,
second-order entities and third-order entities. Generally speaking, first-order
entities are physical objects such as animals, people, plants and artefacts (e.g.,
dog, woman, tulip and car). The ontological status of these entities are relatively stable from a perceptual point of view. They exist in three-dimensional
space at any point in time and they are publicly observable. Second-order
entities are events, processes/activities, and states such as victory, discussion
and happiness; they are what is referred to as states of affairs. These entities
are located in time and are said to occur/take place rather than exist. Finally,
third-order entities are abstract entities that are outside both space and time.
They are entities such as facts, concepts, and ideas (Lyons, 1977: 442ff; Vendler,
1967/2002: 242, 244, 246).
Second-order entities, though they may be denoted by what are traditionally called abstract nouns, are clearly not abstract in the sense that something

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that has no spatiotemporal location is abstract. They differ from first-order


entities in several ways. They are much more obviously perceptual and conceptual constructs than first-order entities are; the criteria for re-identification
are less clear-cut. The same event can occur or be occurring in several different places, even at the same time. What this means, in effect, is that there is
no sharp distinction to be drawn between an individual event and a generic
event. There is no clear semantic distinction, in other words, between the
same situation and the same kind of situation (Lyons, 1977: 444).
Conceptually, third-order entities can be distinguished from the other two
kinds of entities by the factors of spatiotemporal location and causality (Smith,
2003: 74). The distinction between second-order and third-order entities (both
of them are traditionally described as abstract) is no less important, semantically, than is the distinction between first-order and second-order entities
(Lyons, 1977: 444445; Smith, 2003: 74ff). Whereas second-order entities are
observable and, unless they are instantaneous events, have a temporal duration, third-order entities are unobservable and cannot be said to occur or to
be located either in space or in time. Third-order entities are such that true,
rather than real, are more naturally predicated of them; they can be asserted
or denied, remembered or forgotten, discovered, and realized. In short, they
are entities of the kind that may function as the objects of such propositional
attitudes as belief, expectation, and judgement: they are what logicians often
call intensional objects (Lyons, 1977: 445). Schmid (2000: 4) identifies seven
types of third-order entities. They are: factuality, linguistics, thought, knowledge, circumstance, measure and time (cf. Paradis, 2005).
With reference to this general tripartite categorization of entities, we can
work out a scheme of the Evaluated in the IEC. As the corpus indicates, firstorder entities never occur in the IEC as the Evaluated. What occurs as the
Evaluated can only be second or third-order entities. Figure 2 is a preliminary
scheme, which will be elaborated on in what follows.
SECOND
ORDER
EVALUATED

actions
events
propositions

ENTITIES
THIRD
ORDER

linguistics:

message, question, text

ideas:

thought, point, notion, belief, assumption

Figure 2: Evaluateds as second and third-order entities

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2.3.3. Second-order entities as the Evaluated


As the corpus examples indicate, first-order entities do not occur as the Evaluated in the IEC. This is so partly because first-order entities are always realized by nominal groups, in which entities such as people, animals, objects
can be conveniently evaluated through the element of the Epithet within it
(e.g., a nice place, a sweet girl, an ugly dog, etc.). Another commonly employed
device for evaluating first-order entities is by an attributive relational process,
in which the first-order entity is the Subject and the Carrier at the same time
(e.g., The dog is ugly.).
Even when nominal groups occur in the IEC as the Evaluated, what they
denote are second-order rather than first-order entities. For example:
(14) Its rapid response six times a day. (Time, March, 22, 2004: 38)
(15) What a waste it would be, all those roads and nobody to tramp on them!
(BNC ACK 1622)

in (14), the Evaluated six times a day denotes speed (a second-order entity)
rather than some particular object (a first-order entity), and the Evaluator
rapid is an evaluation in such terms. Similarly, in (15), the Evaluated all those
roads and nobody to tramp on them describes a second-order entity, that is, the
situation of nobody using those roads. Though second and third-order entities can be encoded as nominal groups and evaluated by the Epithet, this is a
very restricted means and many of them do not yield to such nominalization,
hence they can not be so evaluated. Therefore, the IEC can be seen as a device
characteristically employed for evaluating second and third-order entities.7
Within second-order entities, a distinction is often made between the
things that merely happen to people the events they undergo and the various things they genuinely do. The latter events, the doings, are the acts or
actions of the agent, as is shown in Fig. 2 as a subclass of events. That is to say,
actions are carried out by agents; they are animate events and they denote a
bringing-out relationship between the agent and the event. An action is essentially active and intentional. Event proper usually involves changes; it is a
mere happening or occurrence. There is no agent-action or bringing-out relation in such happenings or occurrences. As is shown by the corpus examples,
when Evaluateds denote second-order entities, they can be realized by infinitive clauses as in (16), (17), and (18), ing-clause as in (19), and finite clauses8,
including that-clause, wh-clause, if-clause as exemplified by (20), (21), and
(22) respectively:
(16) it would be possible for Hugh to stumble back to them pretending he had
failed to recapture his prisoner. (BNC BMX 1549)
(17) It was better for him to die thus out among the wheels and the horses than to
end in a lethal-chamber or be poisoned in a stable-yard. (Woolf 1995: 332)

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(18) It is hard to read these sentences without a smile. (BNC A7C 1523)
(19) It is a strange feeling knowing they are aimed at you (BNC CH5 2530)
(20) it is not too surprising that the signals and mechanism of development are
virtually identical in the arm and the leg. (BNC ASL 929)
(21) Its always interesting when men you thought you knew behave out of
character. (BNC C8T 1178)
(22) it would be best if they did not take place. (BNC CM8 1629)

Corpus examples also indicate that most of the Evaluateds realized by the
infinitive clause and the ing-clause are actions rather than events proper, and
the agent may be explicitly indicated or not. For example, in (16) and (17) the
agents of the actions are explicitly indicated as Hugh and him respectively,
while in (18) and (19) the actor is implicitly present, though not expressed
it can be anyone in (18) and it is you in (19). When realized by a finite clause,
the agents of the actions are usually explicitly indicated. This is so because a
finite clause obligates the presence of the Subject, which, in unmarked cases,
is the Actor as in (21) (i.e., men you thought you knew). For the same reason,
when events proper occur as the Evaluated, they are more likely to be realized
by finite clauses than by non-finite clauses as in (22). The difference between
second-order entities denoted by the that-clause and those denoted by the nonfinite clause is that the former are more particularized, while the latter are more
generic (cf. Lyons, 1977: 444, Mair, 1990: 47), as is shown by (23) and (24):
(23) It was great that we bumped into you. (BNC AN7 766)
(24) its great to get another opportunity to show what I can do against the best
in the country. (BNC CEP 7104I)

Among other things, the event denoted by the that-clause in (23) (i.e., that we
bumped into you) is more particularized in terms of time than that denoted by
the infinitive clause in (24) (i.e., to get another opportunity to show what I can
do against the best in the country).
There is a special type of situation in our corpus which is denoted by ifclauses (34 such examples are derived from the corpus), cutting across actions
and events. They are what are traditionally called conditional clauses. In the
present framework, they are seen as denoting conditions with respect to which
the evaluation is held as valid. For example:
(25) it would matter much if I fell in anyhow, cos I can nearly swim. (BNC A74
2488)
(26) it would be wonderful if she could have a wood with an obelisk where she
could go and sit (BNC CEK 4901)

if I fell in in (25) and if she could have a wood with an obelisk where she could go
and sit in (26) describe states of affairs which are in turn evaluated in terms of
practicality (i.e., matter much) and affect (i.e., wonderful) respectively.

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2.3.4. Third-order entities as the Evaluated


Propositions as a special type of third-order entity
Propositions, by definition, are the bearers of truth and falsehood of the states
of affairs expressed by declarative clauses. People approach propositions cognitively, that is, they believe, doubt and know propositions. It should be noted
that it is the proposition that a clause expresses and it is not the clause itself
that possesses modal properties such as being true, likely or contingent. Propositions are expressed by clauses uttered by the speaker and they can also be
thought of as the information content of clauses. The proposition is taken to
be the thing that is in the first instance true or false. A declarative clause is true
or false derivatively, by virtue of expressing a true or false proposition. That is
to say, propositions are patently representational entities, items having definite
truth values with respect to the state of affairs they describe (Heil, 2003: 910).
On the other hand, propositions function as intermediaries standing between
the world and statements or assertions about the world. As such, propositions are posited entities, at once linguistic (they are true or false) and nonlinguistic (they are language independent, though expressible by clauses in a
given language). The relation propositions bear to reality is so intimate that
the propositions replace the reality in our thinking. When we do the ontology
of propositions, we ignore their representational character and identify them
with the reality they represent (ibid: 10).
In the use of language, a distinction is often made consciously or subconsciously between the proposition as a truth-bearer and a state of affairs.
Though both of them co-occur in the clause, they are different capacities which
are ascribable to entities of different orders. Propositions as truth-bearers are
third-order entities, while propositions as described states of affairs (whether
actualized or not) are second-order entities (Vendler, 1967/2002: 224240).
This distinction is elucidated when different items are employed to describe
the same proposition as in:
(27) That John sings is unlikely. (ibid: 228)
(28) That John sings surprises me. (ibid)

According to Vendler, the denoted entities are different in (27) and (28),
though they find expression in the same that-clause (i.e., that John sings). In
(27), it denotes a third-order entity, while, in (28), it denotes a second-order
entity.
Similarly, the same clause in the position of the Evaluated can be seen as
denoting a second- or third- order entity when it is evaluated in different
terms, as is indicated in (18) and (18a):
(20a) It is true that the signals and mechanism of development are virtually identical
in the arm and the leg.

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In (20) the entities denoted by that the signals and mechanism of development
are virtually identical in the arm and the leg is evaluated as not too surprising. In this instance, the Evaluated is the state/situation of the virtual identity of the signals and mechanism of development in the arm and the leg; it
is a second-order entity. But if the same that-clause is evaluated as true as in
(20a), the entity denoted by the that-clause is treated as a truth-bearer (i.e., a
proposition); hence it belongs to third-order entities. This duality of propositions explains why that-clauses in the Evaluated position in the IEC are treated
as denoting propositions in some cases and as describing states of affairs in
others. In this study, we use a proposition to refer to a proposition as the truthbearer unless otherwise indicated.
Other types of third-order entities
Apart from propositions, there are two other major kinds of third-order entities denoted by finite clauses in the IEC. They are linguistics and ideas. The
former includes messages, questions, and text. Of these, only questions
occur as the Evaluated in the IEC, which are mainly realized by whether/
if-clauses and which can be traced back to questions if they stand on their
own as clauses. For example, in (29), whether any portfolios would be offered
to UNITA is traceable to the question Would any portfolios be offered to
UNITA?
(29) It was not clear whether any portfolios would be offered to UNITA. (BNC HLS
28)

In such cases, the evaluation is actually directed to the question or the answer
to the question.
It should be borne in mind that not all wh-clauses denote questions; there
are also clauses which are related to exclamations rather than to questions.
In such cases, what is evaluated is a states of affairs rather than a third-order
entity.
Idea is a general term which includes such perceptive entities as thoughts,
points, notions, beliefs, assumptions, aims, and plans. Thoughts are realized
by that-clauses, and they are evaluated in different terms from those for propositions (see next section). For example:
(30) it is perhaps worth remarking that it is not new in physics for novel
phenomena to be observed when looking for something else. (BNC B78 1423)
(31) It is assumed instead that, each time a logogen reaches its threshold, the value
of that threshold is lowered; and this value then slowly drifts up towards what
it had been, but never quite reaches the previous level. (BNC GVA 78)
(32) It is a popular superstition that in America a visitor is invariably addressed as
Stranger. (Wilde 1995)

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the italicized that-clauses in (30), (31), and (32) denote thoughts in different
guises as a viewpoint, an assumption, and a popular superstition respectively.
Point is what the speaker intends to convey to the hearer as his communicative intent, as in
(33) It is important that professional relationships with other schools are not
damaged by aggressive marketing. (BNC AND 1319)

In (33), that professional relationships with other schools are not damaged by
aggressive marketing is the information the speaker intends to emphasize. It
constitutes the point the speaker wants to convey to the hearer.
2.4. The interrelation between the Evaluator and the Evaluated
2.4.1. Introduction
Researchers have noticed the interrelation between the Evaluator and the
Evaluated in the IEC. Leech (1971: 108111) detects the modality difference
between that-clauses and infinitive clauses in the IEC, which in turn gives rise
to the evaluation in different terms. Mair (1990: 4950) finds that that-clauses
are associated with factual modality (hence, associated with particularized
states of affairs) and infinitive clauses are associated with theoretical modality (also called potentiality, eventuality by some scholars, and they tend to
express more generic states of affairs). Therefore, the former can be evaluated
in terms of truth or likelihood and the latter in terms of ease or difficulty. Collins (1994: 18) notices a division of labour between Evaluators taking finite
nominal clauses as Evaluateds and those taking infinitival clauses as Evaluateds, even though in principle most predicate types are capable of taking either
type of clauses.9 Similar observations can be found in studies such as GmezGonzlez (2001: 272), Huddleston and Pullum (2002: 1252, 1254).10
Herriman (2000b) is by far the most in-depth study of this issue. Specifically, Herriman studies the interaction between the clause types realizing the
Evaluated and the meaning of the matrix predicate (a rough equivalent of Evaluator in the present terminology) by examining and comparing the semantic representation of the matrix predicates of different types of extraposed
clauses. She concludes that the main difference between matrix predicates of
extraposed that-clauses, wh-clauses, infinitival clauses, and -ing clauses in the
corpus is that it is usual for the matrix predicates of that- and wh-clauses (but
not those of infinitival and -ing clauses) to represent epistemic modality, and,
conversely, for matrix predicates of infinitival and -ing clauses (but not those
of that- and wh-clauses) to represent dynamic modality. Though she explains
the distribution pattern by relating to the entities denoted, Herriman rigidly
associates that-clauses with third-order entities, and non-finite clauses with
second-order entities. But this correspondence is frequently disrupted as our

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investigation indicates. This is because that-clauses and wh-clauses are linguistic classes; they can be seen as representing truth-bearers (i.e., propositions) as well as states of affairs (second-order entities) depending on how
they are actually construed in language use. This simplistic association of thatand wh-clause with third entities results in incongruence between the Evaluated and the Evaluator. For example, in her investigation, 64% of that-clauses
in the corpus are evaluated in terms of epistemic modality (which is associated
with third-order entities). The remaining 36% of that-clauses are evaluated in
terms of evaluation and deontic/dynamic modality.11 This is too large a portion (the portion is even greater in the case of wh-clauses) to be dismissed as
exception and it leads us to throw doubt on the validity of the conclusion she
reaches.
The problem with Herriman (2000b) and other studies with which it shares
a common interest is that they attempt to associate evaluative categories with
the realization classes of the Evaluated in spite of the fact that they are categories of a different nature, the former being semantic and the latter linguistic. In
this sense, the association is heterogeneous, and it does not throw much light
on the interrelation between them. For example, they fail to explain why different evaluative categories are employed to evaluate the same clause type (be
it that-clause or infinitive clause) on the one hand, and why the same evaluative category is used to evaluate different clause types on the other. To solve
this problem, we need a semantic categorization of both the Evaluator and the
Evaluated before we can probe into the interrelationship between them on
genuinely semantic grounds.
2.4.2. Probing into the interrelation
In order to explore the interrelation between the Evaluator and the Evaluated,
we need to adopt a perspective from both ends. On the one hand, we shall
start from the evaluative categories and investigate what kinds of entities each
is employed to evaluate. On the other hand, we shall start from the evaluated
entities and explore how each kind of entity is evaluated in terms of different
evaluative categories.
We shall start from the end of the Evaluator. The picture with the first major
category of Evaluators (i.e., modality) is homogeneous. All the 457 exponents
(accounting for 38.4% of the total) are used to evaluate third-order entities. Of
these, 208 (45%) exponents evaluate propositions, 39 (8%) exponents evaluate questions, and 210 (47%) exponents evaluate ideas (i.e., thoughts, notions,
beliefs and assumptions). This even distribution of proposition evaluation and
thoughts evaluation is expectable in that speakers are equally concerned with
the certainty of the information (mostly indicated by epistemic modality and
sensory evidentiality) and the source of it and how it is received (indicated by

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report). The distribution of question evaluation is restricted because questions


can only be evaluated in certainty terms, or rather uncertainty terms speakers are usually unsure as to the answers to questions.
There are 734 attitudinal exponents of the Evaluator, accounting for 61.6%
of the total. Different from modality, which is directed to third-order entity,
attitudinal evaluation is primarily directed to second-order entities. There
are more exponents of attitude evaluation than those of modality evaluation
partly because there are more dimensions along which events, actions, and
situations are evaluated than there are for evaluating third-order entities as
set out above. Furthermore, as we shall see immediately, whereas third-order
entities can be evaluated in attitudinal terms, second-order entities can not
be evaluated in terms of modality; they are exclusively evaluated in terms of
attitude.
Within attitude, practicality (365 exponents, accounting for 30.6% of the
total) and judgement (266 exponents, accounting for 22.4% of the total) are
the most frequent categories. This is so because when people consider an
event, practicality and social norms are the two primary concerns which
most naturally come into their minds. Human beings are ultimately social
beings. When something happens, or when people do something to others
or to the external world, they will consider them as a social being should.
They will refer to some relevant social norms or consider the practical
aspects (e.g., the means, consequences, the cost, etc.). In this light, it can be
said that judgement and practicality are primarily directed to second-order
entities.
On the other hand, affect (68 exponents, accounting for 6% of the total) and
appreciation (35 exponents, accounting for 3% of the total) are by far the less
frequent attitudinal evaluative categories. The infrequency of affect evaluation
may be attributable to two factors. First, affect can be directed to first as well
as second-order entities and the IEC is not the only device, not even the main
device for affective evaluation. Second, being more personally-oriented and
more subjective, affective evaluation tends to appear in the more informal use
of language. But the sources from which the IEC occurrences are derived in
this study belong to the more formal varieties (90% of BNC materials are from
written registers and only 10% are from spoken registers; our manually collected examples are all from written materials). Appreciation occurs the least
frequently because it is primarily directed to first-order entities (cf. Martin,
2000: 159160). Most of the appreciation exponents we get from the corpus
do not refer to the composition of the evaluated entity (second-order entities
do not have composition) or reaction the entity produces in the appreciator,
rather they belong to what Martin generally refers to as valuation (ibid), for
example:

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(34) It may be an over-simplification to conceptualize all the different interests


in terms of class struggle, particularly as some of the interest groups
involved and some of the alliances of interests forged may defy analysis in
conventional Marxist terms. (BNC HTV 888)
(35) It seemed utterly incongruous that there were cars parked outside on the
wide circular drive; carriages would have looked more appropriate. (BNC
HGD 2670)

Of all the attitudinal categories, only practicality can be applied to thirdorder entities. When so used, such items usually evaluate in terms of relevance
and the evaluated entities usually take the form of points or questions. We
derive 55 such exponents; all of them evaluate entities in terms of importance
or relevance. For example:
(36) it is important to remember that the differences based on sex are small and
the overlap between the sexes is very great. (BNC EAA 66)
(37) it is perhaps worth remarking that it is not new in physics for novel
phenomena to be observed when looking for something else. (BNC B78 1423)
(38) it matters much what you study, but I think to do so is very important in
terms of promoting the power to think about issues. (BNC A6L 242)

(36) and (37) illustrate cases where the entities denoted by that-clauses are
treated as points which are evaluated as important to remember and worth
remarking respectively, thus they are highlighted and are more likely to be
conveyed to the hearer. In (38), a question what you study (traceable to What
do you study?) is evaluated as matters much. The evaluation of a point or a
question as important/relevant or unimportant/irrelevant justifies the speakers dwelling upon it or dismissing it from discussion. In this light, practicality evaluation of third-order entities contributes to the organization of the text
(cf. Hunston, 1994, 2000).
The above analysis reveals a very neat correspondence between the categories of the Evaluator and those of the evaluated entities in the IEC. All
the modality exponents are directed to third-order entities and 93% attitudinal exponents are directed to second-order entities. There are only 55 examples in which the attitudinal Evaluators are directed to third-order entities (all
belong to the category of point or question) and the evaluations are in terms
of importance/relevance. This is so because the speakers bringing-up or dismissal of a point or a question is relatable to its relevance or implication to the
goal of the text. In this light, third-order entities are also goal-oriented with
respect to the speakers purpose of producing the text; therefore, they can be
evaluated in terms of practicality.
If we start from the end of the Evaluated, we arrive at the same general
correlation as presented above, that is, there is a general third-order entities
vs. modality and second-order entities vs. attitude correlation. But we believe

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the pursuit from this end is worthwhile since we notice certain correlations
between the sub-categories of the Evaluated and those of the Evaluator.
There are 205 exponents of proposition in the corpus occurring as the
Evaluated in the IEC. Of these, 158 exponents are epistemically evaluated.
This is a primary mode of evaluating propositions in that, basically, propositions can not but be evaluated as true or false or possibly true or false;
epistemic modality is a resource which functions in this mode. The other 47
exponents are evaluated by sensory evidentials such as: (it) seems/follows/
appears/looks. As is noted in Section 2.2.1, such items ultimately function to
indicate the speakers commitment to the truth or falsehood of the proposition, therefore these can be taken as indicating the speakers epistemological
basis for the proposition.
There are 54 instances of question (all of them are realized by wh-clause).
Of these, 14 are evaluated in practical terms such as: (it) matters (very much/
little) /does not matter, (it is) significant; 40 are evaluated in epistemic
terms. Interestingly, the corpus examples reveal an overwhelming tendency
that questions are evaluated in terms of negative epistemic value such as
uncertain, unclear, and doubtful. Of 40 such instances, only four are evaluated
positively.12 while 36 are evaluated in negative terms, as in
(39) It is not clear whether it is the limited powers of the Tribunal or the wide
powers of the Government which led to none of the first sixty-eight
complaints to the Tribunal being upheld. (BNC ASB 1136)
(40) it is doubtful whether private undertakings would have considered this
particular transaction as normal. (BNC H91 140)

It is natural for questions to be so evaluated simply because the potential


answers to questions are uncertain by nature. Questions can be evaluated in
practical terms because they contribute to text organization; a question may
be evaluated as (un)important/(ir)relevant, hence it may be (un)important/
(ir)relevant for the development of the whole text. In this sense, questions are
goal-oriented entities as second-order entities are, though the goal is of different nature than that of second-order entities.
We derive 212 instances of idea, all evaluated in evidentiality terms. This
is expected because when the speaker puts forward an idea it is necessary for
him to indicate the basis or evidence so that the hearer might approach the
idea in such a way as is intended by the speaker. Of these, 205 are evaluated as
report and 7 as sensory. As is made clear in Section 2.2.1, this mode of evaluation indicates (or conceals the source if it is the speaker who actually brings
up the idea) the source of the thought, notion, belief, or assumption, therefore
it helps to achieve a kind of objectivity as is intended by the speaker.
Of third-order entities, points are special in that they are typically evaluated in practicality terms. Specifically, points are seen as (un)important/(ir)

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relevant to the speakers goal of the text, therefore, they are evaluated in such
terms as (un)important, essential, vital, (it) matters, important to remember/
note/bear in mind, useful to note, worth noting/remarking, etc.
The correlation between second-order entities and attitudinal evaluation
are relatively more homogeneous in the sense that the former can only be evaluated in terms of the latter.
In the corpus, we notice such interesting cases in which the Evaluated is at
once evaluated as entities of different orders, as in:
(41) Its shocking but true: homonymic surnames and equal doses of hotness are
not enough to keep a couple together in Hollywood these days. (Time, 5
April 2004: 55)
(42) It was obvious and natural that as the last report had dealt mostly with the
more able pupils so its successor should focus upon the needs of the pupils
of average and below-average ability. (BNC ARC 856)

In (41), homonymic surnames and equal doses of hotness are not enough to keep
a couple together in Hollywood these days is at once treated as a proposition
when it is evaluated as true (epistemic modality) and a state of affairs when it is
evaluated as shocking (affect). Similarly in (42), that as the last report had dealt
mostly with the more able pupils so its successor should focus upon the needs of
the pupils of average and below-average ability is treated as a proposition when
it is evaluated as obvious (epistemic modality) and as a state of affairs when it
is evaluated as natural (judgement). At a more fundamental level, this illustrates that the distinction between second and third-order entities is a vague
one especially when they are realized by finite clauses. In some cases, we have
to make arbitrary decision. For example:
(43) It is important that what you wear is comfortable. (BMC BNA 468)
(44) It is a sad and generally unrealised truth that the client who had been
investing for upwards of nine months, probably knew considerably more
than a new dealer. (BNC EUU 1561)

shall we see important in (43) as directed to that what you wear is comfortable
as a state of affairs (second-order entity), as a point (third-order entities), or
as a mixture of both? Shall we treat that the client who had been investing for
upwards of nine months, probably knew considerably more than a new dealer
in (44) as a truth or as a sad state of affairs as it is evaluated differently and
simultaneously? Our answer to the first question is that we should resort to a
wider context for such decision and most probably it can be seen as a mixture
of second and third-order entity. We take (44) as primarily an affective evaluation on the grounds that different from logicians, language users are not
concerned with the truth of propositions as such they are concerned with
implications of them if the described states of affairs come true.

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3 Summary and conclusions


With the semantic categorization of the Evaluator into modality and attitude and the Evaluated into entities of second- and third-order entities, it is
possible to investigate the correlation between the two semantic elements in
IEC. It is found that there is a general correspondence between modality and
third-order entities and between attitude and second-order entities. That is, all
the exponents of modality are directed to third-order entities (propositions,
points, questions, and thoughts) and an overwhelming majority of attitudinal
exponents is oriented to second-order entities. Only 55 exponents of attitudinal Evaluators are directed to third-order entities (14 to questions and 41 to
points). These exponents evaluate in terms of practicality (relevance), and this
is explainable in that when so evaluated they are treated as discoursal items,
hence they are goal-oriented and have practical implications.
The perspective from the end of the Evaluated also reveals a nearly neat
correspondence to relevant evaluative categories. All the second-order entities are evaluated in terms of attitude and most of the third-order entities are
evaluated in terms of modality (the exceptions are presented above, see Section 2.4.2).
Thus the correlation between the Evaluator and the Evaluated is more
homogeneous than that reported in related studies in the literature. This is
because we propose semantic categorizations of both the Evaluator and the
Evaluated, the latter being largely ignored in the literature. But we believe a
probe into the semantics of the Evaluated is worthwhile since there is no correspondence between ontological status of entities and the different types of
clauses which realize such entities. Therefore it is not so plausible to associate the semantic categories of the Evaluator with the clause types which realize the evaluated entities. This heterogeneous association results in too large a
portion of exceptional cases, which in turn may invalidate the conclusions that
have been reached in the related studies.

Acknowledgements
The present research was funded by the China National Social Science Funding Project Features of Syntactic Functions and Related Syntactic Issues in
Chinese (10BYY061).

Notes
1. The sources of the examples are indicated at the end of the text. The letters and numbers
correspond to the file and sequence number in BNC respectively. With hand-collected examples,
sources are offered explicitly.
2. For example, we collect all instances of the IEC from The Future of English? (Graddol,
1999).

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3. For simplicity, the term event will be used to cover event, action, state/situation, or
any kind of state of affairs.
4. Superficially, such exponents as difficult to say, hard to determine seem to evaluate in
terms of practicality. But basically they indicate the speakers degree of certainty as to the proposition made in the clause that follows the Evaluator.
5. See Palmer 2001: 35-42 for definition of this term.
6. For a comparison of these two perspectives, see White (2001).
7. Another device for such evaluation is so-called non-extraposition construction, e.g., To
read these sentences without a smile is hard. But this is the statistically marked construction for
such a function (cf. Mair, 1990: 2830, Biber et al., 1999: 676, 724, Kaltenbck ,1999: 158; 2004:
222, etc.)
8. This is a finding which runs counter to what is taken for granted in the literature (e.g.,
Biber et al., 1999; Herriman, 2000b, etc.), which holds that finite clauses in the Evaluated position exclusively denote propositions.
On the other hand, the corpus examples indicate that third-order entities as the Evaluated
can only be realized by finite-clause. Therefore we may have
(a) It was true that she would not enter a shop in her own country. (BNC CDX 2931)

but not
(b) *It was true for her not to enter a shop in her own country.

9. Our corpus investigation reveals that the converse of this is true. That is, most Evaluators are not used for both clause types.
10. Hunston (2000) also explores different evaluative categories and their relationship to
the different things that are evaluated. For example, she claims that the status of something constrains the criteria or grounds on which it can be given value. But this observation is circular by
definition. On the one hand, Hunston (1994, 2000) uses certainty as one of the defining criteria
for determining the status of an item. On the other hand, the association between status and certainty is seen as derivable from the interaction between the two.
11. Collectively, these three categories are equivalent of attitude in the present study, which
in most cases are employed to evaluate second-order entities. Deontic and dynamic modality are
called event modality in Palmer (1979, 2000), that is, they are inherently associated with secondorder entities.
12. With the four positive cases, what is evaluated is the answer to the question rather than
the question itself, e.g.,

it must be clear which participant in the independent clause the dependent clause
relates to. (Lock, 1996: 254)

About the authors


[Take in bionotes to follow]

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White, P. R. (2001) Appraisal outline. http://www.grammatics.com/appraisal Appraisal
Outline/Framed/Appraisal Outline.htm.
White, P. R. (2001) Appraisal outline. http://www.grammatics.com/appraisalAppraisalOutline/Framed/Appraisal Outline.htm.

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Appendix 1
Evaluative Categories
Epistemic modality (198 in total, 16.6%)
(un)clear (38)
(un)likely (24)
may be (23)
true (21)
possible (16)
apparent (9)
(im)probable (8)
obvious (7)
doubtful (6)
evident (6)
difficult to say (3)
impossible to say (3)
true to say (3)

certain (2)
easy to see (2)
not known (wh-) (2)
obvious (2)
truth (2)
uncertain (2)
undoubtedly the case (2)
apparent (1)
arguable (1)
difficult to assess (1)
difficult to determine (1)
doubted whether (1)
doubtful (1)

go without saying (1)


hard to argue (1)
hard to believe (1)
hard to know (1)
hard to tell (1)
inevitable (1)
no longer dangerous to
affirm (1)
possible to argue (1)
too early to say (1)
unreal to say (1)
wrong to assume (1)

Sensory and Report (259 in total, 21.7%)


Sensory (54)
seem (26)
appear (9)
follows (7)
a safe bet (2)

conceivable (2)
occur to me/us (2)
came home to me (1)
look as if (1)

my hope (1)
my strong belief (1)
noticeable (1)
thinkable (1)

shown (4)
alleged (3)
announced (3)
appreciated (3)
felt (3)
recognized (3)
reported (3)
admitted (2)
believed (2)
claimed (2)
conceded (2)
explained (2)
mooted (2)
natural (2)
planned (2)

recalled (2)
recorded (2)
understood (2)
a popular superstition (1)
acknowledged (1)
born in mind (1)
calculated (1)
come to the notice of ... ( 1)
decided (1)
demonstrated (1)
determined (1)
disclosed (1)
discovered (1)
documented (1)
envisaged (1)

Report (205)
argued (17)
said (16)
suggested (15)
noted (13)
assumed (9)
estimated (9)
held (7)
(well) known (7)
accepted (5)
remembered (5)
thought (5)
recommended (5)
agreed (4)
found (4)
occur to (4)

60Please supply short title


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expected (1)
hoped (2)
hypothesized (1)
intended (1)
intuition (1)
it is a public secret (1)
it is considered (1)

it was feared (1)


mentioned (1)
noticed (1)
objected (1)
observed (1)
ones view (1)
pointed out (1)

proposed (1)
realized (1)
reiterated (1)
reminded (1)
revealed (1)
seen (1)
taken for granted (1)

a relief (1)
annoy (1)
appalling /amazing (2)
appreciated (1)
dreadful (1)
frightens (1)
fun (1)
funny (1)
great (1)
hurt (1)
hurt (1)
make me angry (1)

provoking (1)
puzzle (1)
sad (1)
sorry (1)
sorry (1)
startling (1)
strange feeling (1)
tempting (1)
tiresome (1)
wonder (1)
wonderful (1)

Affect (68 in total, 6%)


surprising (13)
interesting (10)
pleasure (4)
disappointing (3)
relief (3)
(dis)agreeable (2)
pleasant/pleasant (2)
striking (2)
shocking (2)
a consolation (1)
a fans dream come true (1)
a measure of my despair (1)

Judgement (266 in total, 22.4%)


(This includes 11 exponents of usuality: coincidence coincidental (4), happen (4), no
accident (1), not often (1), seldom (1).)
better/best/good/ worse
(35)
necessary (29)
nice (9)
common (9)
suffice it to say (8)
(un)reasonable (6)
appropriate (6)
desirable / undesirafble (6)
sufficient/insufficient (6)
make sense (5)
natural (5)
right (5)
wise (5)
duty (4)
good idea (4)
mistake (4)

responsibility (4)
up to (4)
absurd (3)
great (3)
odd (3)
proper (3)
sensible (3)
strange (3)
wrong (3)
(un)just (2)
a violation of human rights
(2)
acceptable (2)
advisable (2)
custom (2)
enough (2)
fair (2)

fair to say (2)


foolish (2)
normal (2)
practice (2)
ruled (2)
shame (2)
strange (2)
too much (2)
usual (2)
a hobby (1)
adding insult to injury (1)
apposite (1)
appropriate to conclude (1)
astute (1)
compulsory (1)
correct (1)
curious (1)

Yong Wang and Jie Xu 61


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customary (1)
error (1)
evil (1)
fair to point out (1)
fair to suggest (1)
fallacy (1)
fine (1)
foolhardy (1)
good manners (1)
habit (1)
imperative (1)
instructive (1)
insufficient to note (1)
(ir)responsible (1)

it would be a generous
gesture (1)
kind (1)
laughable (1)
legal (1)
nave to suppose (1)
necessary condition (1)
nice (1)
nice idea (1)
noble (1)
nonsense (1)
offence (1)
ok (1)
out of place (1)

plausible (1)
pointless (1)
policy (1)
preferable (1)
rare (1)
remarkable (1)
senseless (1)
senseless (1)
too much to hope (1)
too much to say (1)
typically (1)
unacceptable if (1)
understandable (1)

Appreciation (35 in total, 3%)


one thing/another thing (4)
fashion (2)
notable (2)
paradox (2)
a better sign (1)
a bitter end (1)
a characteristic of (1)
a good approximation (1)
a mad gamble (1)
a proof of our immorality
(1)
accurate (1)
an over-simplification (1)
cold comfort (1)
general (1)
incongruous (1)
intelligible (1)
ironic (1)
it would make a lot of sense
of a lot of uninterpretable
data (1)
logical (1)
misleading (1)
no exaggeration (1)
not beyond the ingenuity of
the vigneron (1)
object (1)

on the tip of jehans tongue


(1)
realistic (1)
significant (1)
tragedy (1)
unhealthy (1)
weird (1)Practicality (365
in total, 30.6%)
(im)possible (96)
difficult (47)
easy (36)
important (33)
hard (24)
it take time/money/
imagination/knowledge
(22)
worth (12)
matter (11)
useful (11)
time (8)
safe (7)
essential (6)
help (5)
vital (4)
help (3)
helpful (3)
(ir)relevant (3)

no good (2)
importance (2)
cheaper (2)
effort (2)
helpful (2)
impractical (2)
too early (2)
too late (2)
worthwhile (2)
a necessary condition (1)
advantage (1)
convenient (1)
futile (1)
in the interests of (1)
it pays to (1)
priority (1)
quick (1)
rapid response (1)
risky (1)
significance (1)
time-consuming (1)
useless (1)
valid to note (1)
waste (1)
wasteful (1)