Photo Paul Lakatos: P.R.R. White covering a protest against the Roxby Downs uranium mine in 1981 - The Adelaide Advertiser

biographical details

Dr Peter R. R. White teaches linguistics with a socio-semiotic orientation (e.g. applied, appliable, educational, discourse analytical etc.) and journalism studies at the University of New South Wales in Sydney Australia, having previously taught at Birmingham University in the UK, the University of Adelaide in South Australia, the University of Sydney and Wollongong University. He is one of the architects of the Appraisal framework, an approach to the analysis of evaluative language. [See Language of Evaluation website for detailed information, contacts, bibliographies/links and an introductory course.]

In addition to his work on the language of evaluation, his research interests include the discourses of mass communication (verbal and visual meaning making in journalism, politics, advertising and public relations), educational linguistics (literacy development, including literacy in indigenous education, genre-based pedagogy, journalism education), translation studies, contrastive linguistics, argumentation theory, corpus and computational linguistics, the language of science and technology, and new developments in Systemic Functional Linguistics. He supervises PhD candidates across this range of topics.

Previously Dr White worked as a journalist, sub-editor and editor for two of Australia's leading metropolitan daily broadsheet newspapers, the Adelaide Advertiser and the Sydney Morning Herald. He also acted as journalism trainer for Australia's multicultural, multi-lingual broadcaster, the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), which broadcasts in more than 60 languages.

He currently performs on saxophone and keyboards with the Travelling Circumstances, a jazz and blues combo of (mostly) linguists.

For more info and contact details see his UNSW webpage.


White, P.R.R. 1997. 'In the American Spirit From a Functional Linguistic Perspective', Ways of Seeing - Looking at Models of Exhibition Critique. Papers From the Museums of Australia Inc (NSW) 1996 International Museums Day Seminar, (ed.) Landman, P., Sydney, Museums Australia Inc (NSW). [Download scan of "In the American Spirit..."]

White, P.R.R. 1997. 'Death, Disruption and the Moral Order: the Narrative Impulse in Mass-Media Hard News Reporting.', in Genres and Institutions: Social Processes in the Workplace and School, Christie, F. & Martin, J.R. (eds), London, Cassell: 101-33. [Download WP file of "Death, Disruption and the Moral Order..."]

White, P.R.R. 1998. 'Extended Reality, Proto-Nouns and the Vernacular: Distinguishing the Technological From the Scientific', in Reading Science - Critical and Functional Perspectives on Discourses of Science, Martin, J.R. & Veel, R. (eds), London, Routledge: 266-96.[Download scan]

White, P.R.R. 2000, 'Dialogue and Inter-Subjectivity: Reinterpreting the Semantics of Modality and Hedging', in Working With Dialog, Coulthard, M., Cotterill, J., & Rock, F. (eds), Tübingen, Max Niemeyer Verlag: 67-80. [Download to be available shortly]

White, P.R.R. 2000, 'Media Objectivity and the Rhetoric of News Story Structure', in DISCOURSE AND COMMUNITY. DOING FUNCTIONAL LINGUISTCS. Language in Performance 21., Ventola, E. (ed.), Tübingen, Gunter Narr Verlag: 379-97. [Download WP file of "Media Objectivity..."]

White, P.R.R. 2002. ‘Appraisal - the Language of Evaluation and Stance’, in Verschueren, J., J. Östman, J. Blommaert, & C. Bulcaen (eds.) The Handbook of Pragmatics, Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins: 1-23. [Download published copy, 2011 reissue: "Appraisal"]

White, P.R.R. 2003. 'Beyond Modality and Hedging: a Dialogic View of the Language of Intersubjective Stance', Text - Special Edition on Appraisal 23 (3): 259–284. Download published copy: "Beyond Modality and Hedging..."

White, P.R.R. 2003. 'News As History - Your Daily Gossip', in Re-Reading the Past: Critical and Functional Perspectives on Time and Value, Martin, J.R. & Wodak, R. (eds), Amsterdam/Philadelphia, John Benjamins: 61-89. [Download proofs: "News as History..."]

White, P.R.R., 2004, 'Subjectivity, Evaluation and Point of View in Media Discourse.', in Grammar, Text & Context: A Reader, Coffin, C. & O'Halloran, K. (eds), London & New York, Arnold: 229-257. [Download WP file: "Subjectivity, Evaluation and Point of View...]

Martin, J.R. & P.R.R. White, 2005, The Language of Evaluation: Appraisal in English, London & New York, Palgrave/Macmillan. [Download sample chapter 3 (Engagement and Graduation)]

White, P.R.R. 2006 'Evaluative Semantics and Ideological Positioning in Journalistic Discourse', in Image and Ideology in the Mass Media, Lassen, I. (ed.), Amsterdam/Philadelphia, John Benjamins: 45-73.[Download WP file: "Evaluative Semantics..."

White, P.R.R. & Sano, M., 2006, ‘Dialogistic Positions and Anticipated Audiences – a Framework for Stylistic Comparisons, in Pragmatic Markers in Contrast, Aijmer, K & Simon-Vandenbergen, A-M (eds), Frankfurt, Elsevier: 189-214. [Download scanned copy: White, Sano...]

Simon-Vandenbergen, A-M, P.R.R. White and Karin Aijmer, 2007, “Presupposition and ‘taking-for-granted’ in mass communicated political argument - An illustration from British, Flemish and Swedish political colloquy”, in Fetzer, A. & Lauerbach, G. (eds) Political Discourse in the Media, Amsterdam & Philadelphia, John Benjamins. [Download proofs: "Presupposition..."]

White, P.R.R. & Thomson, E.A., 2008, ‘News Journalism in a Global Society’, in Communicating Conflict: Multilingual Case Studies of the News Media, Thomson, E.A. & P.R.R. White (eds.), Continuum International Publishing Group, London. [Download WP file: sample chapter "News Journalism in a Global Society"]

Thomson, E.A. and White, P.R.R., (eds), 2008, Communicating Conflict: Multilingual Case Studies of the News Media, Continuum International Publishing Group, London. [Download proofs "Communicating Conflict..."]

White, P.R.R., 2008, “Praising and blaming, applauding and disparaging – solidarity, audience positioning, and the linguistics of evaluative disposition”, in Antos, G & Ventola, E., (eds), Handbook of Interpersonal Communication, Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin & New York: pp 542-567. [Download WP file: "Praising and blaming..."]

Thomson, E.A. & P.R.R. White (eds.), 2008, Communicating Conflict: Multilingual Case Studies of the News Media, Continuum International Publishing Group, London. [Download proofs: "Communicating Conflict"]

Thomson, E.A., Nagisa Fukui and P.R.R. White,2008, “Evaluating ‘reporter’ voice in two Japanese front page lead stories”, in Communicating Conflict: Multilingual Case Studies of the News Media, Thomson, E.A. & P.R.R. White (eds.), Continuum International Publishing Group, London

White, P.R.R., 2009, “Media power and the rhetorical potential of the ‘hard news’ report - attitudinal mechanisms in journalistic discourse,”, VAKKI Symposium XXIX, University of Vaasa, Finland. [Download published copy: "Media power..."]

White, P.R.R. & Thomson, E., 2010, "Objectivity" and "Hard News" Reporting Across Cultures: Comparing the news report in English, French, Japanese and Indonesian journalism”, in Richards, J.E., (ed.), Language and Journalism, Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, London and New York, pp.61-77. [Download published copy: "Objectivity and Hard News..."]

White, P.R. R, 2010, “Taking Bakhtin seriously: dialogic effects in written, mass communicative discourse”, Japanese Journal of Pragmatics, v. 12, pp. 37-53. [Download WP copy: "Taking Bakhtin seriously..."]

White, P.R.R., 2012, “Attitudinal meanings, translational commensurability and linguistic relativity”, Revista Canaria de Estudios Ingleses, University of La Laguna, Canary Islands, pp.147-162. [Download scan: "Attitudinal meanings..."]

White, P.R.R, 2012, “Exploring the axiological workings of ‘reporter voice’ news stories — Attribution and attitudinal positioning”, Discourse, Context & Media, Elsevier 1(2-3),pp. 57–67. [Download published copy: "Exploring the axiological workings..."]

White, P.R.R. (in press), “Evaluative contents in verbal communication”, Handbook of Verbal Communication, in Rocci, A. and de Saussure, L, (eds), Mouton de Gruyter: Berlin

White, Peter R.R., 2014, "The attitudinal work of news journalism images – a search for visual and verbal analogues" [Access open access journal for download]. Bologna: Centro di Studi Linguistico-Culturali (CeSLiC) e Alma Mater Studiorum, Università di Bologna. ALMADL - Area Sistemi Dipartimentali e Documentali, DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsacta/4110. In: Quaderni del CeSLiC. Occasional papers A cura di: Miller, Donna Rose. ISN 1973-221X. Or directly download [Download ]

White, P.R.R., 2015, “Appraisal Theory”, in International Encyclopedia of Language and Social Interaction, Wiley-Blackwell: Hoboken, U.S.A. [Download published copy: "Appraisal Theory"]

White, P.R.R., Mammone, G., Caldwell, D., 2015, “Linguistically based inequality, multilingual education and a genre-based literacy development pedagogy: insights from the Australian experience”, Language and Education, Vol 29, Issue 3, DOI: 10.1080/09500782.2014.994527. ad published copy: "Linguistically based inequality...]

White, P.R.R., 2016, 'Evaluative contents in verbal communication', in(Eds) Rocci A, de Saussure L, Verbal Communication, Vol 3, Handbooks of Communication Sciences, DE GRUYTER MOUTON, Berlin, Boston - online at

Abstract: This chapter evaluates recent scholarship concerned with the analysis of language interpreted as expressing evaluative meanings. It critiques work undertaken within semantics, pragmatics, discourse analysis and corpus linguistics and makes new connections with recent developments within the computational linguistics field of ‘sentiment analysis’. The chapter explores evaluative meaning making under two broad headings: (1) attitudinal evaluations by which positive or negative assessments are conveyed and (2) evaluative positionings by which propositions are construed as more or less reliable, contentious or agreed upon. Under the first heading, the distinction between explicitly attitudinal (positive/negative) meaning making and implicitly attitudinal meaning making is discussed. Contributions to the understanding of implicit attitudinal meaning making provided by the corpus linguistic notions of ‘pattern grammar’ and “semantic prosody” are analysed, along with how computational sentiment analysis has and might deal with the challenge posed by such meanings. Under the second heading, there is an analysis of the various approaches to dealing with language by which authors take up different stances towards the propositions being advanced in the text. The “truth-functional” orientation of some scholars is critiqued and contrasted with the dialogistic approach developed within the Appraisal framework of Martin and White (2005). The literature which explores the evaluative functionality of attribution is also investigated and new insights offered as to how it is possible for the authorial voice to favour or disfavour a proposition even when it has been “neutrally” attributed to an external source. Such language poses particular challenges for automated sentiment analysis.


White, P.R.R., 1998 (unpublished), Telling Media Tales - the news story as rhetoric, unpublished PhD dissertation, Linguistics Department, University of Sydney [Download pdf]
- Appendices [Download pdf]