A Study of American Rap Song Lyrics from the Perspective of Appraisal Theory
|Course||English Language and Literature|
|Keywords||Appraisal Theory rap song lyrics attitude engagement graduation|
Appraisal Theory is put forward by J.R.Martin in the1990s, and it is regarded as the supplement to interpersonal meanings of Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL). Since then Appraisal Theory has been applied to analyze a wide variety of real texts, such as advertising, journalism, speeches, etc, in order to discover how it expresses the standpoints and attitudes of the speakers or the writers.Rap music is a vital branch of American pop music, and it is widely loved by the people in America and around the world. Rap song lyrics express the rappers’strong feelings and persuade people to think or act as the rappers encourage. As a special discourse, rap song lyrics are of great significance under the framework of Appraisal Theory.This thesis intends to take the Appraisal System as its analytical tool to discuss the linguistic realization of the appraisal resources of the rap music lyrics. The research is conducted on20American rap songs collected from the Internet. Through the study, it is found that there exist abundant appraisal resources in these lyrics, and the distribution has certain features. The analyses show that the songs of different themes emphasize different subsystems of appraisal. For instance, in gangsta rap song lyrics, affect resources are used a lot and most of the attitudinal resources are negative resources. In motivational rap song lyrics, judgment resources and appreciation resources are frequently used and the negative resources are not frequently used. The rap song writers employ a lot of appraisal resources to convince their listeners to believe in their beliefs. Appraisal System has three sub-systems:attitude, engagement and graduation. The rap song writers make good use of these three resources to enhance persuasion.Through the study, it is proved that the Appraisal Theory can be applied to the analysis of American rap song lyrics discourse. This, on the one hand, could definitely enrich Martin’s Appraisal Theory and enhance the practicability and universality of this theory, and, on the other, could make the listeners and readers gain a better comprehension of the rap song lyrics’language, especially the lexical features.