The strategy of presenting criticisms in book reviews


Ruta Marcinkeviciene (Kaunas)


The presentation comprises pragmatics, discourse analysis and corpus linguistics and investigates the strategy of presenting criticisms in book reviews. The object of analysis is the corpus of Linguist list book reviews from the last two years and the tool used for its processing is WordSmith Tools.


The genre of a book review requires to include evaluation beside an objective reflection of contents. The evaluation presupposes both positive and negative features of the book reviewed. In reality, though, book reviews differ from the evaluative point of view and form several types:


a) book reviews with no evalutation whatsoever,

b) book reviews with one lateral evaluation (predominantly positive or negative),

c) book reviews with multilateral, i.e. both positive and negative evaluation. The latter type was the object of the analysis.


The preliminary unautomatied analysis of Linguist list book reviews revealed the strategy of presentation of criticisms that could be called pairing strategy when positive and negative features of a book are presented in clusters, positive features proceeding negative ones. The surface or textual presentation of this pragmatic strategy manifests itself in the use of the linking adjuncts, indicatings contrasts and alternatives, e.g. however, nevertheless, thought, etc. These linking adjunts served as node words in compilation of concordances that served as the bases to reserch the specific ways that the pairing strategy is carried out.