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Text & Talk

An Interdisciplinary Journal of Language, Discourse & Communication Studies

Ed. by Sarangi, Srikant

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Volume 36, Issue 1


Discourse of persuasion: a preliminary study of the use of metadiscourse in policy documents

Victor Ho
Published Online: 2016-03-09 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2016-0001


The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government has proposed a number of reform initiatives in different policy areas since its establishment in 1997. This paper explores and discusses the HKSAR government’s discursive attempt to persuade the people of Hong Kong to accept two education policy reforms it has proposed. Adopting a corpus-based approach and drawing upon the construct of metadiscourse as the method of inquiry in the study, the author found that the HKSAR government had appealed to logos, ethos, and pathos with metadiscourse in the policy reform discourse in actualizing its persuasive attempts. The present study represents a modest attempt to analyze the policy document genre from a metadiscursive perspective and to inform writers of the genre of the possible ways to textualize the three means of persuasion – logos, ethos, and pathos – who will then be more aware of the resources that they can use to enhance the persuasiveness of their writing.

Keywords: metadiscourse; discourse; policy reforms; persuasion; logos/ethos/pathos


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About the article

Victor Ho

Victor Ho completed his PhD in linguistics at Macquarie University, Australia. He is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of English, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. His research interests include pragmatics, professional communication, and intercultural communication. He has published in Text & Talk, Journal of Pragmatics, Intercultural Pragmatics, Discourse Studies, and Functions of Language.

Published Online: 2016-03-09

Published in Print: 2016-01-01

Citation Information: Text & Talk, Volume 36, Issue 1, Pages 1–21, ISSN (Online) 1860-7349, ISSN (Print) 1860-7330, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2016-0001.

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