Dr Peter White

Senior Lecturer
Ph.D (University of Sydney), B.A. (Hons) University of Sydney, B.A. (Hons) University of Adelaide, Graduate Certificate in ESL Teaching (University of New South Wales)
School of the Arts & Media


+61 2 9385 2364
Room 311F, Level 3, Robert Webster
Kensington Campus


Wednesdays - 3.30 pm - 5.00 pm (please email in advance to arrange a specific meeting time)
Fields: Applied Linguistics and Educational Linguistics, Discourse and Pragmatics, Language in Culture and Society (Sociolinguistics), Creative Arts, Media and Communication Curriculum and Pedagogy, Journalism Studies, Communication and Media Studies, Comparative Language Studies, Translation and Interpretation Studies, Linguistics
Tags: Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society, Communication Across Languages and Culture, Languages and Literacy

I teach linguistics (with a socio-semiotic orientation), discourse analysis and journalism studies and am one of the principal architects of the Appraisal framework (an approach to the study of evaluative language - see http://languageofevaluation.info/appraisal for detailed information, contacts, bibliographies/links and an introdoctory course). For a complete listing (with download links) of my publications, see www.prrwhite.info.

I welcome applications for PhD study in

  • all areas of discourse analysis (including studies of the discourses of journalism, politics, public relations and advertising),
  • translation studies and constrastive linguistics,
  • ediucational linguistics (e.g. literacy development, applications of genre-based pedagogy, bilingual education, indigenous education, etc.),
  • corpus and computation lingjuistics,
  • argumentation theory and the language of persuasion,
  • studies of the language of evaluation, stance and textual persona,
  • and new developments in Systemic Functional Linguistics.

Prior to undertaking postgraduate studies in linguistics, I worked at a journalist for some 15 years. 

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


Dr White is one of the prinicipal architects of the Appraisal framework,an account of the means by which texts convey evaluative and attitudinal meanings. [See Language of Evaluation website for detailed information, contacts, bibliographies/links and an introdoctory course.] He is influential in the development of linguistics-based analyses of mass communicative discourse (journalism, politics, corporate communications, public relations and advertising) and in the contrastive analysis of journalism and political rhetoric across languages and cultures.

Dr White's further research interests include educational linguistics (literacy development, including English-language literacy development in indigenous and bilingual settings; genre-based pedagogy), translation studies and contrastive linguistics, corpus and computational linguistics (including sentiment analysis and opinion mining), argumenation theory and the language of pursuasion, and new developments in Systemic Function Linguistic theory. For a detailed listing (with download links) of Dr White's publications see www.prrwhite.info.

He supervises PhD candidates working across these different topic areas.

Prior to undertaking academic study, Dr White worked as a journalist and journalism trainer for almost 20 years (Sydney Morning Herald, The Adelaide Advertiser, Special Broadcasting Service -SBS). He gained his PhD from the University of Sydney in 2000 and prior to teaching media studies, linguistics, discourse analysis and journalism  at the University of New South Wales taught linguistics and journalism at the University of Adelaide, linguistics and English Language studies at the University of Birmingham (UK), journalism and media studies at the University of Wollongong and linguistics at the University of Sydney.,

He is also a semi-professional jazz musicians, currently performing on saxophone and keyboards with the Travelling Circumstances jazz combo.



    • Feez S;Iedema R;White P, 2010, Media Literacy, 2nd, NSW Adult Migrant Education Services, Sydney
    • White P;Thomson E, 2008, Communicating Conflict, Multilingual Case Studies of the News Media, 1, Continuum Publishing Co, London and New York
    • Martin JR;White P, 2005, The Language of Evaluation - Appraisal in English, 1, Palgrave Macmillan, Houndmills, New York

    Book Chapters

    • White PR, 2016, 'Evaluative contents in verbal communication', in Rocci A; de Saussure L (ed.), Verbal Communication, Vol 3, Handbooks of Communication Sciences, edn. Handbook of Communication Sciences, DE GRUYTER MOUTON, Berlin, Boston, pp. 77 - 96, http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/9783110255478-006
    • White PR R, 2015, 'Appraisal Theory', in Tracy K; Ilie C; Sandel T (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Language and Social Interaction,, edn. 1, Wiley-Blackwell, New Jersey, pp. 1 - 8, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/9781118611463/wbielsi041
    • Thomson E;White P;Kitley P, 2010, '"Objectivity" and "Hard News" Reporting Across Cultures: Comparing the news reort in Ehglish, French, Japanese and Indonesian journalism', in Richardson JE (ed.), Language and Journalism, edn. Original, Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, London and New York, pp. 61 - 77
    • Thomson E;Fukui N;White P, 2008, 'Evaluating "Reporter" Voice in Two Japanese Front-page Lead Stories', in Thomson EA; White PRR (ed.), Communicating Conflict, Multilingual Case Studies of the News Media, edn. 1, Continuum Publishing Co, Great Britain, pp. 65 - 96
    • White P, 2008, 'Praising and blaming, applauding and disparaging – solidarity, audience positioning, and the linguistics of evaluative disposition', in Antos G; Ventola E (ed.), Handbook of Interpersonal Communication, edn. 1, Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin and New York, pp. 542 - 567
    • White P;Thomson E, 2008, 'The News Story as Rhetoric: linguistic approaches to the analysis of journalistic discourse', in Thomson EA; White PRR (ed.), Communicating Conflict, Multilingual Case Studies of the News Media, edn. 1, Continuum Publishing Co, Great Britain, pp. 1 - 24
    • Simon-bandenbergen A;White P;Karin A, 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 (ed.), Political Discourse in the Media, edn. 1, John Benjamins Publishing Company, Amsterdam and Philadelphia, pp. 31 - 74
    • White P, 2006, 'Evaluative Semantics and Ideological Positioning in Journalistic Discourse: a new framework for analysis', in Lassen I; Strunck J; Vestergaard T (ed.), Mediating Ideology in Text and Image: Ten critical studies (Discourse Approaches to Politics, Society and Culture), edn. Original, John Benjamins, Amsterdam, pp. 37 - 67
    • White P;Sano M, 2006, 'Dialogistic Positions and Anticipated Audiences – a Framework for Stylistic Comparisons', in Aijmer K; Simon-Vandenbergen AM (ed.), Pragmatic Markers in Contrast, edn. Original, Elsevier, Frankfurt, pp. 189 - 214
    • White P, 2004, 'Subjectivity, Evaluation and Point of View in Media Discourse', in Coffin C; O'Halloran K (ed.), Grammar, Text & Context: A Reader, edn. Original, Arnold: 229-257, London & New York, pp. 229 - 257
    • White P, 2003, 'News As History - Your Daily Gossip', in Martin JR; Wodak R (ed.), Re-Reading the Past: Critical and Functional Perspectives on Time and Value, edn. Original, John Benjamins, Amsterdam and Philadelphia, pp. 61 - 89
    • White P, 2002, '‘Appraisal - the Language of Evaluation and Stance', in Verschueren J; Östman J; Blommaert J; Bulcaen C (ed.), The Handbook of Pragmatics, edn. Original, John Benjamins, Amsterdam/Philadelphia:, pp. 1 - 23
    • White P, 2000, 'Dialogue and Inter-Subjectivity: Reinterpreting the Semantics of Modality and Hedging', in Coulthard M; Cotterill J; Rock F (ed.), Dialog VI - Working With Dialog, edn. Original, Tübingen, Max Niemeyer Verlag, Germany, pp. 67 - 80
    • White P, 2000, 'Media Objectivity and the Rhetoric of News Story Structure', in Discourse and Community, edn. Original, Gunter Narr Verlag Tubingen, Germany, pp. 379 - 397
    • White P, 1998, 'Extended Reality, Proto-Nouns and the Vernacular: Distinguishing the Technological From the Scientific', in , . (eds),,: .', in Martin JR; Veel R (ed.), Reading Science - Critical and Functional Perspectives on Discourses of Science, edn. Original, Routledge, London & New York, pp. 266 - 296
    • White P, 1997, 'Death, Disruption and the Moral Order: the Narrative Impulse in Mass-Media Hard News Reporting', in Christie F; Martin JR (ed.), Genres and Institutions: Social Processes in the Workplace and School, edn. Original, Cassell, London,, pp. 101 - 133

    Journal articles

    • Makki M;White PR R, 2018, 'Socio-cultural conditioning of style and structure in journalistic discourse: The distinctively “objective” textuality of Iranian political news reporting', Discourse, Context and Media, vol. 21, pp. 54 - 63, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dcm.2017.12.001
    • Caldwell D;White PR R, 2017, 'That's not a narrative; this is a narrative: NAPLAN and pedagogies of storytelling', AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF LANGUAGE AND LITERACY, vol. 40, pp. 16 - 27, http://gateway.webofknowledge.com/gateway/Gateway.cgi?GWVersion=2&SrcApp=PARTNER_APP&SrcAuth=LinksAMR&KeyUT=WOS:000395057700003&DestLinkType=FullRecord&DestApp=ALL_WOS&UsrCustomerID=891bb5ab6ba270e68a
    • Caldwell D;White PR R, 2017, 'That's not a narrative; this is a narrative: NAPLAN and pedagogies of storytelling', Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, vol. 2017
    • White PR;Makki M, 2016, 'Crime reporting as storytelling in Persian/Farsi news journalism – perspectives on the narrative function', Journal of World Languages, vol. 3, pp. 1 - 21, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21698252.2016.1244407
    • White PR;Jing Y, 2016, 'Why Audiovisual Translators Downplay the Interpersonal: The Case of "Interjections"in English-to-Chinese Move Subtitling', The Journal of Translation Studies, vol. 17, pp. 107 - 142
    • White PR R, 2016, 'Constructing the "Stranger" in Camus' L'Étranger - Registerial and Attitudinal Variability under Translation', The Journal of Translation Studies, vol. 17, pp. 75 - 106, http://dx.doi.org/10.15749/jts.2016.17.4.004
    • White PR 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, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09500782.2014.994527
    • White PR;White, 2014, 'The attitudinal work of news journalism images – a search for visual and verbal analogues', Quaderni del CeSLiC. Occasional papers, vol. 2014, pp. 1 - 42, http://dx.doi.org/10.6092/unibo/amsacta/4110
    • White PR R, 2012, 'Exploring the axiological workings of 'reporter voice' news stories-Attribution and attitudinal positioning', Discourse, Context and Media, vol. 1, pp. 57 - 67, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dcm.2012.10.004
    • White P, 2012, 'Attitudinal meanings, translational commensurability and linguistic relativity', Revista Canaria de Estudios Ingleses, vol. 65, pp. 147 - 162, http://webpages.ull.es/users/rceing
    • White P, 2010, 'Taking Bakhtin Seriously: Dialogic Effects in Written, Mass Communicative Discourse', Studies in Pragmatics, vol. 12, pp. 37 - 53
    • White P, 2003, 'Beyond Modality and Hedging: a Dialogic View of the Language of Intersubjective Stance', Text and Talk, vol. 23, pp. 259 - 284

    Conference Papers

    • White PR R, 2009, 'Media power and the rhetorical potential of the "hard news" report - attitudinal mechanisms in journalistic discourse', in VAKKI Symposium XXIX, University of Vaasa, Finland, University of Vaasa, Finland, pp. 30 - 49, presented at VAKKI Symposium XXIX, University of Vaasa, Finland, 13 - 15 February 2009


Currently supervising PhD students in the following topic areas:

  • journalistics discourse analysis (including contrastive studies),
  • political discourse analysis,
  • translation and interpretting studies,
  • contrastive linguistics and constrastive discourse analysis (across cultures and languages),
  • educational linguistics (issues in academic English, literacy development, ESL/EFL, genre-based pedagogy),
  • the language of evaluation and intersubjective stance,
  • argumentation theory and the language of persuasion,
  • critical discourse analysis.

Undergraduate teaching

  • Convener: News Reporting (MDIA1004)
  • Convener: Advanced Media Writing (MDIA2003)
  • Convener: Analysing Media Communication (MDIA2002)

Professional contribution

I act as literacy development consultant for a group of primary schools identified as having students from socially disadvantaged backgrounds. I act in a similar capacity in a project developing teaching and learning resources for literacy developments in remote-area indigenous schools in the Anangu lands of northern South Australia.

I review for a number of academic journals including Discourse and Society, Critical Discourse Studies, Discourse, Context and Media, Functions of Language, and Functional Linguistics.

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