If you are not from Wantirna College you are welcome to use these pages. Please, however, do not use any materials for profit and where appropriate I would be grateful if you could acknowledge the fact that this wiki is compiled by Alice White - teacher and Head of English at Wantirna College, Victoria, Australia.

Language Analysis


Here's some of the things that this section of the course is NOT:

It's not an exercise in picking out techniques and listing them
It's not an exercise in explaining how certain persuasive techniques work

If you want to learn lists of techniques go ahead, knock yourself out, but be warned it could trap you into the behaviour listed above and ensure you cannot get anything above the equivalent of a D.

This is what this section IS about.

It's about showing that you understand HOW a writer is trying to get you to agree with his or her point of view (contention) on a particular issue. You may wish to embed into your discussion certain terms such as generalisation, bias or emotive language to assist with the cogency of your writing, but only to assist in describing PRECISELY what is happening to this PARTICULAR language as it is used by the writer to sway readers to agree with this PARTICULAR and PRECISE contention. At all times you MUST be writing about how this particular article works to persuade the reader. Your discussion is useless if it is too general. Examples below - particularly A Closer Look at the Homework will help.

Advice for the SAC -Structuring a Comparative Analysis



Introduction =
1 - Intro to the issue (A couple of sentences that sum up the issue)
2 - Give authors, titles, place of publication (e.g. The Age), date published of all three pieces (two written and an image such as photo,cartoon etc). Give contentions of all three. Try also to sum up tones and particular audiences of the pieces.

Main Body Paragraphs
Then move on and analyse your first piece – one or more paragraphs. (You may need to state contention and overall tone if you haven’t already). Try to sum up the argument and talk about its impact structurally. Then pick out particular words or phrases that are clearly designed to particularly sway the reader.

Analyse your next piece – try to start with some comparison. ( You may need to state contention and overall tone if you haven’t already)If it works you might do a tiny bit of comparison as you go with the first piece but not compulsory.

Analyse the final piece – try to link with a bit of comparison to previous piece or pieces .

Conclusion – compare the key strategies used by the cartoonist and writers. For instance one writer may have relied on using anecdotes to illustrate the dangers of using illicit substances in sport. Maybe all three attack the government, but for different reasons. Maybe they have similar or contrasting attitudes to their audiences. Be specific and make sure this is reasonably long - it is a comparative analysis after all.


Useful Materials and General Advice - Focuses on Exam but still useful for SAC


These are not foolproof materials. None of them give structure for talking about more than one piece.





http://mrsj-english12.wikispaces.com/home
Some advice from Bob Hillman - notes contributed by Ms Baldry


*Do not ignore the instructions page - where did the CONTEXT come from?
Who was involved? When? Etc
*Look at form of piece or pieces
*Why is pic placed this way? Upon us? News pics always placed directly
next to relevant text.
*Need ability to examine ALL forms of language placement, why it
develops
*Not just series of techniques
How has this material arisen - what has genesis been? Part of larger
debate? Controversy?
What form of writing used and how structured?
Where published and why?
Who is the intended audience eg online journal - technically proficient,
not gran.
How does argument develop?
Students must view material as a whole
Need to reflect on use of visual language within whole piece and
intended impact on reader
Reasons for placement of visual images or elements
Comments and observations about visual language may well be spread
throughout rather than restricted to one paragraph
No shopping list/checklist approach - highlighters bad!
Language - how does it shift, operate?
There's a multitude of ways both language and visual elements are used
to argue and persuade - all need to be understood and explained
All language and visual elements used here have intentionally been
employed to be persuasive (does this apply more to exam?)
LANGUAGE: needs to be controlled and effectively used
It needs to be a conscious shaping and organising of written analysis to
prevent listing and avoid summarising
EXPRESSION: formal, not colloquial, never off-hand

Issue Topic for 2014

Should dredged material from the Abbott Point expansion be dumped in The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park?

Background Information 2014




Articles in favour 2014- pro the dumping of dredged material in The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park




Articles against 2014 - anti the dumping of dredged material in The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park







Background on the Topic 2013

Practice Pieces 2013





2013-091--drugs-in-sport-carrot-and-stick-12th-February-.jpg

The online article ‘Taking in one injection at a time’ uploaded by Roar Rookie on 7th February 2013 argues in progressively angry tones that allowing performance enhancing drugs should not be allowed in professional sport, because is wrong because sport by its nature is the demonstration of what humans can naturally achieve at their physical peak.

The writer is not in favour of legalizing performance enhancement drugs. He explains that sport should be a contest, testing natural ability and not enhanced blood profile.

Roar Rookie’s contempt for the concept for deregulating the use of performance enhancing drugs in sport is immediately made evident in his sarcastic opening paragraphs. He labels his own urges to deregulate as ‘cynical’ and ‘tempting’ thus positioning the reader to feel that if they agree with deregulation than they are giving into weak and negative sides of human nature. This association of the wish to deregulate with lazy and insufficiently vigilant attitudes is further enhanced when the writer says ‘we could just relax, dismantle WADA, ADF and every other well intentioned acronym’. The phrase ‘just relax’ underlying Roar Rookie’s labelling of deregulation as lazy. The use of the verb ‘dismantle’ implies that those that follow this route are actually doing something destructive that would be hard to mend in the future, although the phrase ‘well intentioned acronym’ does seem to acknowledge the writer’s awareness that the regulatory bodies that should be adhered have not been acting sufficiently powerfully. The sarcasm becomes more bitingly aggressive as Roar Rookie envisages ladders of drug companies and ‘nefarious and corrupt bookies, stand over merchants and organised crime syndicates’ evolving if we allow drugs to be used in sport, with utterly condemning terms of ‘nefarious’ and ‘corrupt’ being used to ensure the readers have no doubt in their minds of the stupidity and dangers involved in allowed drugs to be used.

Analysis of Drug cheats desreve place in hall of infamy

Blue = what the writer is doing to position the reader to agree with their point of view
REd = example
Green = intended effect on the reader - what the reader will think and feel so has to be persuaded to agree with the writer's point of view


.

Advice for the SAC -Structuring a Comparative Analysis



Introduction =
1 - Intro to the issue (A couple of sentences that sum up the issue)
2 - Give authors, titles, place of publication (e.g. The Age), date published of all three pieces (two written and an image such as photo,cartoon etc). Give contentions of all three. Try also to sum up tones and particular audiences of the pieces.

Main Body Paragraphs
Then move on and analyse your first piece – one or more paragraphs. (You may need to state contention and overall tone if you haven’t already).

Analyse your next piece – try to start with some comparison. ( You may need to state contention and overall tone if you haven’t already)If it works you might do a tiny bit of comparison as you go with the first piece but not compulsory.

Analyse the final piece – try to link with a bit of comparison to previous piece or pieces .

Conclusion – compare the key strategies used by the cartoonist and writers. For instance one writer may have relied on using anecdotes to illustrate the dangers of using illicit substances in sport. Maybe all three attack the government, but for different reasons. Maybe they have similar or contrasting attitudes to their audiences. Be specific and make sure this is reasonably long - it is a comparative analysis after all.










Practice Pieces 2012







Monday 19 March

Here is the draft and final piece I wrote about a couple of paragraphs from 'Baillieu salutes nurses':

To reinforce their contention that hypocrisy is being shown by both sides in the dispute, the writer further belittles Marshall Bailleu at the same time as giving reasons for his behaviour. The description of the nurses graciously deciding to 'Just smile and wave' in reaction to Marshall Bailleu's rude gestures does further belittle his behaviour, but the phrase emphasised in bold that states the incident took place at a 'private family event' combined with the quote from Marshall Bailleu that asserts the nurses were using 'highly offensive' language serves to evoke sympathy in the reader for the Bailleu's predicament. Thus the writer suggests both sides are guilty of disrepectful behaviour.


Wednesday 21 March

Here are the intro paragraphs to the issue. First from Matt Oaten and second from me.

On October 3 2011 the Victorian Government announced the introduction of new speed and red light cameras, sparking controversy on whether the cameras should be implemented or not. The government believe the cameras save lives while critics see them as ‘revenue-raising’. The debate over the use of speed cameras is not just in Victoria, the argument spreads in to New South Wales.

The decision to switch on 32 extra speed and red-light cameras in Victoria in October 2011 sparked controversy in the media and amongst politicians and experts, about whether such cameras are effective in reducing accidents or are really being used by governments as revenue raisers.

I've put the example analysis work from the Editorial into the documents below - as I couldn't paste the highlights on the wikipage - and we need that green!



Friday 30 March

1 - Review of Homework


Some Examples Taken from Homework
Have a go at improving this paragraph. Why would the first sentence gain no marks? What is missing from the last sentence? How is the final sentence too vague?

The writer uses the appeal to the hip-pocket nerve in order to influence the reader. It's stated that "the state budget says the Government expects to raise an extra $44.8 million from speed fines over the next three years" This influences the reader by indicating that of that large sum of money their own hard earned dollars could a part of it.

Here's another paragraph by the same student. Why is it better than the previous example?

The writer demonstrates a diversion when he switches attention away from speeding. He says that drink driving and inattention are more important factors than speeding. This influences the reader by making them realise that accidents have more than one factor that influences it and therefore showing speed cameras are unnecessary in certain circumstances.

Try re-writing the above paragraph to gain higher marks.

Structuring your analysis around tone is a great thing to do if you can pull it off. This is a good start, but needs some more development. What's in brackets has been added by me.

A playful and mocking tone is used at the very beginning to attract readers into reading the article and also plays down the opposition. By starting off with agreeing with people that dislike speed cameras showed that the author has taken both sides into account, but through the added playful tone and simile 'like empty Ned Kelly Helmets... they are automatism..." Not only makes the opposition's argument look weak but also makes them look foolish. This introduction leaves readers with a hint of curiosity and positions readers to see that speed cameras are only robots doing what they are made to do and are not as bad as what many motorists perceive. .

After such a mischievous introduction Gordon heads straight into his contention. The change into a serious, attacking tone is a key sign to his new arguments. He first attacks the coalition for their uncertainty about what to do with the cameras, "Cynically exploit....hip pockets politics." Such negative comments makes readers view that all the arguments on speed cameras being used to raise revenue were political manipulated. Putting (forward the notion that) the coalition victory to the December election was mainly due to their promise on shutting down and revealing the location of speed camera makes readers question why they have gone back on their promise knowing that their popularity will be deeply harmed by such action. Also through giving the background history on the coalition going back on their promise to shut down speed cameras and quoting members has provided strong evidence for readers to see that there are real uses to speed cameras. This gives further evidence to support the author's contention that speed cameras actually serves a good purpose for road safety.

Here is a very well written sentence. How is the rule of 3 used? What vocabulary works particularly well? How could references to tone further improve marks?

To stress the point that the efficacy of speed cameras especially in black spots and rural areas is not a high priority for the government, the editorial emphasises multiple times that road trauma and death rates are not decreasing with the increasing number of cameras.

2 - Look at the criteria for the SAC
2 - Using your text book

Be careful when looking at the lists of techniques - p. 177?
See tips for images p. 183?
The five steps are OK. Try to refer to tone throughout your analysis - particularly if you are aiming for high marks
The Planning the structure is OK too - p. 188 In the introduction it might also be worth considering the particular audience the piece is aimed at.
Sentence openers and word bank are useful (p.190?)- see also my tone list at the top of this page.
The strategies for discussing three or more media texts are good and you should read them. I recommend analysing each text separately, but ENSURING you include comparison in the intro, in linking sentences as you move from one text to another and particularly in the conclusion. The plan for the structure of analysing each text separately is good. When it says 'briefly outline the perspective' that means state the contentions. No mention of tone - but I think you should mention tone and the audience that you think is intended.
I'm not massively impressed with the intro in the sample piece p.200.

3 - Cartoon analysis in class

Homework = Research for the Oral Point of View Speech - completing the sheet of your progress
Write a comparative language analysis. Do at least two articles, but ideally do two articles and a cartoon - use the practice pieces on the speed camera issue. IF you feel you are still at a basic skill level then just analyse one and focus on doing the rule of three very well and don't get too caught up on tone.

Monday 16th April
- Paragraphs from Practice language comparisson.

Over the past 10 years the Australian government has pushed for the implementation of more fixed speed cameras on the roads, within more recent times the Australian population has become to question the effectiveness of the cameras sparking controversy on whether the cameras should be implemented or not. The government believes the cameras save lives while critics see them as ‘revenue-raising’ and in some situations dangerous. The two opinion pieces released by the Sydney Morning Herald both argue opposing contentions, the article released in August 2010 “Speed cameras cause erratic driving”, using an analytical and informative tone, contends that whilst cameras have been shown to cause accidents in certain situations and do not actually change the general behavior of speeding their presence has been shown to prevent many accidents and is widely accepted as a necessary precaution, in comparison to the piece published more recently, June 2011 “Why NSW needs more speed cameras”, in favor of speed cameras, using an aggressive tone to attack the NRMA, campaigning that speed cameras are more efficient than policing the roads and that the public’s hatred for the cameras is misguided and ill-informed.


Using colourful language, the writer establishes a persuasive tone designed to get the reader to agree with both sides of the argument with the use of quotes and facts included. 'It is worth noting...,' helps to highlight the importance that the words occurring next are worthwhile remembering.

-------------


Due to the articles being of different nature, one being an editorial while the other is an opinion piece, the two articles emphasise their own separate contentions. However, both use similar arguments to extend their stance on the issue of the operation of speed cameras. Victorian Deputy Premier and Police Minister, Peter Ryan and the editorial by The Advertiser both implement statistics to support their claim. In the opinion piece Mr. Ryan mentions that since the implementation of cameras, the road toll has fallen saying, “In 1990, when speed cameras were first introduced in Victoria, the annual road toll was 776. In 2010, the road toll was 291.” In the editorial, the writer argues that even the Victorian Police Officers think that speed cameras do not save lives saying, “Only 6 per cent (3459 were surveyed) believed speed cameras helped save lives”. Both articles use an assertive and authoritative tone when delivering their supporting evidence to their contention. Using a strong tone makes the argument seem more in depth and knowledgeable, thus making the reader form their own opinion on the issue and agreeing with the article. Although the two articles have an exact opposite contention to one another, they both use similar ideas to help persuade the reader in to agreeing with the articles contention.


To stress the complexity of the issue, the writer references two expert opinions from opposing views. Managing Director John O’Roarke from LV=insurance states that ‘while [people] may reduce speed, they also impair driving ability or ... concentration on the road’. AA President Edmund King is then later quoted defending speed cameras stating that ‘drivers have accepted them and far more crashes have been avoided than created by cameras’. The reader is left with two well supported views that persuade them to support the writer’s outlook.


McKenzie uses humorous tones and mocking remarks on the publics knowledge of basic physics and common sense to prove the neccessity of speed cameras being placed in rural and urban areas for everyones safety. In comparison, Kelton imposes a more serious attitude towards speed cameras, as he believes they are only used as revenue rasiers that do not help the public, including the notorious 'black spot' zones in Adelaide. He speculates the use of speed cameras are only to collect money from the society for the government. However, McKenzie and Kelton both agree that instead of planting speed camers left and right, the states should increase the number of police patrols be designated to control and guard more serious accident causing offences and stop drink drivers on the roads, where the cameras can not capture half of what police officers can see if they were out on the roads.


Beginning of analysis of Scruby piece by Mrs White

Over the past 10 years the Australian government has pushed for the implementation of more fixed speed cameras on the roads, with the decision to switch on 32 extra speed and red-light cameras in Victoria in October 2011 sparking new controversy in the media and amongst politicians and experts, about whether such cameras are being used effectively to reduce accidents or are really being used by governments as revenue raisers. In the opinion piece ‘Why NSW needs more speed cameras’ published in the Sydney Morning Herald in June 2011, Harold Scruby argues in often sarcastic and angry tones that it is irrational and even dangerous for the NRMA to oppose speed cameras, which do in fact reduce accidents on the roads.

Scruby’s contempt for the NRMA is immediately discernible in the exasperated tones of his first sentence in with which he dismisses the NRMA’s credibility. By by didactically stating ‘It’s difficult to understand what or who is driving the NRMA’ campaign against the speed cameras. This statement prepares the reader to feel that the NRMA are irrational in their opposition: an opinion that he continues to reinforce in the next sentence, which becomes more aggressively sarcastic in tone as he employs extreme vivdly powerful language such as ‘rails’ and ‘robotically shrieks’ to personify the organisation as some kind of heartless, mindless irrational machine that is simply reacting in a ‘knee jerk’ fashion to the idea of speed cameras.


More


Having demonised the NRMA and effectively inferred that their dangerous opposition to speed cameras makes them they are as good as killers, Scruby goes on to more rationally support his contention that the NRMA need to re-think their stance.