Language Analysis (also known as Analysing Argument, Argument Analysis, and an array of other names) is comparatively the most different style of responding to a text. The other ways we ask you to write for English, Text Response, Comparative and Creative, focus on analysing texts like novels and films where you are then expected to produce an extended piece of writing reflecting on those texts' ideas, themes, and messages.
Fun fact: In 2013, the VCAA English exam featured a similar poster to this 'Dig for Victory' propaganda poster above.
Language Analysis, officially known as ‘Analysing Argument’ is in the VCE study design and is the 2nd Area of study (AOS 2) - meaning that majority of students will tackle the Language Analysis SAC in Term 2. Unlike Text Response and Comparative, in Language Analysis you will be asked to read 'cold material' (meaning that you will not have seen the piece before, i.e not had the chance to study it prior to your SAC and exam). This 'cold material' will be 1-3 articles and/or images (we'll just refer to all articles/images as 'texts' for simplicity) written for the media, whether it be an opinion piece for a newspaper, or an illustration for a political campaign. You are expected to read the article, analyse the persuasive techniques used by the author, and express this in an essay. Let's get into it!
What Are You Expected To Cover? (Language Analysis Criteria)
What are teachers and examiners expecting to see in your essays? Below are the VCE criteria for Language Analysis essays. Note: Some schools may express the following points differently, however they should all boil down to the same points - what is necessary in a Language Analysis essay.
1. Understanding Of The Argument(S) Presented And Point(S) Of View Expressed;The first most important step is to understand the contention and arguments presented in the text because you'll base your entire analysis on your assumption. This can be tricky if you're unfamiliar with the contentious topic, or if the writer expresses their ideas in complex ways. In the worse case, you'll misinterpret what the author is arguing and this will subsequently mean that your analysis will be incorrect. Never fear! There are many tactics to try and ascertain the 'right' contention, will we'll go into detail later.
2. Analysis Of Ways In Which Language And Visual Features Are Used To Present An Argument And To Persuade;This is where 'language techniques' come into play. You're expected identify the language used by the writer of the text and how that's intended to persuade the audience to share their point of view. There are too many language techniques to count, but you're probably already familiar with inclusive language, rhetorical questions and statistics. For most students, this is the trickiest part of Language Analysis. To read more on how to overcome this part of the criteria, get educated with Why Your Language Analysis Doesn’t Score As Well As It Should. THE golden SIMPLICITY and SPECIFICITY strategy (discussed further under 'ebook' later in this guide) shows you how to analyse any language technique with confidence and accuracy.
3. Control And Effectiveness Of Language Use, As Appropriate To The Task When examiners read essays, they are expected to get through about 12-15 essays in an hour! This results in approximately 5 minutes to read, get their head around, and grade your essay - not much time at all! It is so vital that you don’t give the examiner an opportunity to take away marks because they have to reread certain parts of your essay due to poor expression and grammar.
Know Your Terminology (Persuasive Techniques And Tones).
Make sure you brush up on the definitions of persuasive techniques. It’s not going to be a tick if you used metaphor instead of simile, or if you use alliteration instead of assonance. These mistakes do happen! Don’t fall into this trap. Here're 10 easy Language Analysis techniques you should definitely know:
Credentials and expert opinion
Also ensure you're familiar with tones. It may be easy to identify the writer is ‘angry’ but is there a better way of expressing that? Perhaps ‘irritated’ is a better term or ‘vexed’, ‘passionate’, ‘furious’, ‘disgruntled’, ‘outraged, ‘irate’ and the list goes on….Stuck? Have a look at our 195 Tones for Language Analysis. Images (including cartoons, illustrations, and graphs) is something you also need to get your head around. Understanding how an image persuades its audience can be challenging, so test yourself and see if you know to Look For These 10 Things In Cartoons.
Students need to write up an ISSUE from the news. WHAT IS AN ISSUE? An issue is a debate about a controversial subject that is presented in the media over a period of time. It is often sparked by a particular event that arouses a range of attitudes and opinions, from which develop a number of opposing viewpoints. To identify the issue, consider how the topic could be rephrased as a ‘should’ question that might raise conflicting points of view.
WEEK ONE HOMEWORK
Year 10 English – Homework WEEK 1 Your task is to read and watch the news this week. Your written responses need to include: What is the issue? | Who/what is being impacted? | What is/may be the outcome? Take notes in class each day to help come up with some ideas. Remember to write down the sources where you found your information.
READ AND ANOTATE ARTICLE ONE – ‘WHY IPADS ARE THE NEW DRUG FOR KIDS’ This is a shared reading. Students are to annotate with highlighters and notes around margins. Class discussion about topic and argument being presented. Use Tone Grid, Argument Grid and Persuasive Devices Grid to assist with initial annotation.