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Using the Appraisal model for analysis of wine reviews: benefits and challenges
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Languages.
2013 (English)In: Appraisal Symposium 2013: Current Issues in Appraisal Analysis. Keynote abstracts. UNSW, February 20-21, 2013, 2013Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This presentation will report on a study of the discourse of wine reviewing, specifically the wine reviews of Robert Parker, a US wine writer whose views are purportedly so influential as to have substantially changed tastes and preferences across the global wine market. The study sought to provide an account of how Parker’s reviews worked representationally, evaluatively and argumentatively, with a view to understanding the terms under which readers are positioned vis-à-vis wine and its appreciation by this influential critic.

The field of wine appreciation is highly specialised both in terms of the experiential “reality” of wine production and in terms of its “aesthetics” – the rarefied systems of taste and value by which individual wines are applauded or criticised. This presentation will report on the use of the system of Attitude, as proposed in the Appraisal literature, as a means of describing the specialised “aesthetics” of Parker’s wine appreciation and hence of providing insights into how these reviews work evaluatively.

One significant outcome of the study to be reported is the finding that the attitudinal system of Appreciation, as outlined by White (2001) and by Martin and White (2005), could not accommodate all the meanings by which wine is positively or negative assessed in Parker’s reviews. Accordingly, additional subcategories were introduced into the Appreciation taxonomy. For example, the sub categories of “Intensity”, “Persistence” (and “Maturity”) were proposed as new sub types of Composition, alongside Balance and Complexity. This was to capture additional dimensions of meaning by which the taste of wine was evaluated with respect to the way it was made or with respect to the way in which the contributing flavours and aromas of wine held together or complemented each other. The paper will discuss the reasons for these new sub categories and what was involved theoretically and methodologically in their formulation.

Another point of interest emerging from the study which will be addressed in the presentation is the apparent attitudinal ambiguity, vagueness or under-specification of many of the evaluative terms used in wine reviews. This is a highly specialised domain in which reviewers such as Parker are apparently authorized to use terms in a way unique to the field and to create their own attitudinal lexicon, as they grapple to articulate all the subtle nuances of taste, “feel” and aroma which they detect in the wine. This means that the precise meanings of some terms are often difficult to determine, especially for any readers who come across this type of writing for the first time.

The presentation, then, will provide an account of how Parker disseminates a particular specialist and novel system of attitudinal valeur for the evaluative description of wine, and employs this in what is apparently a rhetorically very successful manner – i.e. one which sees him lauded as the US’s preeminent wine critic who influences the preferences of wine drinkers across the world. Thus both the attitudinal repertoire and the persuasive structures and techniques he employs to position readers vis-à-vis his assessments will be discussed. The presentation will be relevant to any who have a particular interest in winespeak, and of more general interest to those interested in how the language’s meaning making potential may be extended to accommodate novel domains of attitudinal assessment. It will also interest those concerned with the on-going formulation of the Appraisal framework and with the possibility that its taxonomies may need to be modified or extended in order to deal with meanings encountered in discourse domains not previously dealt with by Appraisal analysts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013.
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-59695OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-59695DiVA: diva2:1063110
Conference
Appraisal Symposium 2013: Current Issues in Appraisal Analysis. Keynote abstracts. UNSW, February 20-21, 2013
Available from: 2017-01-09 Created: 2017-01-09 Last updated: 2017-01-10Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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  • asciidoc
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