Date of Award
College of Liberal Arts
Type of Degree
Utilizing the Systemic Functional Linguistic frameworks of taxis, logico-semantic relation, grammatical metaphor, and appraisal, this thesis examines two of the most popular rewrites: Jane Eyre and The Canterville Ghost from the Macmillian Reader, Black Cat Reading and Training, Oxford Bookworm, and Penguin ELT graded reader series. Although a considerable body of literature exists concerning graded readers, the majority of research tends to focus on statistical gains in fluency development or vocabulary acquisition and their retention rather than the linguistic properties of these texts. Furthermore, studies on textual adaptations primarily take a broad corpus-style approach, contrasting altered and unaltered material, rather than materials adapted for beginner, intermediate, and advanced level students. Selected on the basis of researchers’ and publishers’ ruminations regarding the nature of beginner, intermediate, and advanced materials, the Systemic Functional Linguistic frameworks of taxis, logico-semantic relations, grammatical metaphor, and appraisal structure this investigation of text complexity as both a structural and semantic concern. As far as the researcher is aware, this thesis would appear to be the first of its kind to attempt to explore text complexity in graded readers by comparing semantically equivalent passages across different rewrites of the same title. The results of this study (in terms of a greater percentage of nestled constituents, incongruent realizations, and conflicting appraisal items in the more advanced texts) are indicative of increased structural and semantic complexity by level. These findings suggest that a consideration of text complexity in context—as opposed to de-contextualized word or grammar lists—may be beneficial for students because “personal authenticity” (Van Lier, 1996) and its attendant increased autonomy and motivation can be enabled by teachers and publishers understanding and scaffolding areas of difficulty.
Newnham, Sally-Ann, "Text Complexity in Graded Readers: A Systemic Functional Look" (2013). Theses, Dissertations and Capstones. 498.