An APPRAISAL analysis of the language of real estate advertisements

  • Tracy Beangstrom


This article focuses on the linguistic choices made by estate agencies in their advertisements of houses, and how these choices compare across two competing agencies in Grahamstown, South Africa – Remax Frontier and Pam Golding Properties. Using Martin and White’s (2005) APPRAISAL system, it investigates the interpersonal relationships set up between each agency and their prospective buyers, and how these relationships are affected by differences in the price of houses. Eighty advertisements (differing in prices from above and below R1.2 million) are analysed and discussed in terms of Attitude, Graduation and Engagement, capturing the ways in which each estate agency manipulates linguistic choice patterns according to the monetary value they perceive their potential customers to possess. These choice patterns also indicate a move towards possible adjustments that can be made to Martin and White’s (2005) original framework, in order to analyse more nuanced meanings than is currently the case and qualities (both within the buyer as well as pertaining to the properties) which the customers are likely to be vulnerable to.

Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 2013, 31(3): 325–347

Author Biography

Tracy Beangstrom
Department of English Language and Linguistics, Rhodes University, PO Box 94, Grahamstown 6140

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-9461
print ISSN: 1607-3614