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DJA

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DJA's Guide to Language Analysis (Section C)
« on: November 17, 2014, 12:05:59 am »
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The simple and effective way to conquer Section C of the English Exam
Hey guys and girls - especially directed to the Class of 2015 - I'm going to divulge the way I approached language analysis this year which enabled me to consistently score highly in this section of the exam. For you mathematical people, this will be useful as its quite formulaic  :) and straightforward - if you combine the methodical diligence of analysis with good prose and good vocabulary, you have a good chance of scoring highly.

This is definitely the section you can improve on in the shortest amount of time - if you can get some of these key concepts down, this part of the exam will be way easier, giving you more time to devote to the other two sections which require more intense thought and complex ideas.

This is also one of the early SACs in the year (I believe for most schools?) so get around it and get a headstart!

The three steps to good language analysis. The ABC's!
If we consider the nature of the task, the point of Section C is to analyse the manner in which language is used to persuade the reader. Remember the READER/Target audience is the focal point here. You need to be analysing language in light of how it positions the audience, not simply analyse language for the sake of it. Assume every author is trying to push something - think of them as totally manipulative - every language choice has a nefarious meaning. It's your task to find what these meanings are!
A) Evidence via QUOTE
B) HOW the evidence works often via Technique
C) SIE – Specific Intended effect to a Specific Audience

Example analysis with colour coding
(2011 Exam *cue shudders)
In raising the history of tattoos by presenting their painful significance as markings of ownership on the “unconsenting slaves” of Greece and Rome and on the prisoners of the  “concentration camps of WW2”, Day makes an emotional appeal to her audience to empathise with the horror that these tattoos would have represented to their recipients. In this way, Day positions those with or in favour for tattoos to be less likely to view tattoos as the mere fashion symbols that they are thought of in the modern age.

• The most important thing to note here is the importance of C) SIE. For every point of analysis you raise (or at most 2 maybe) you need to be zooming out to explain what it does to the reader. I find that with a lot of student pieces, it's easy to do A) and B), but often C) gets left out where the specific intended effect is actually the most important requirement.
• Don't slavishly copy the example given. You can interchange A) B) and C) all the way through your essay. They must remain the core of your essay though.
• Identify a specific target audience every now and then.

How to structure the essay itself
I followed the basic Intro, 3-5 body paragraphs and rudimentary conclusion structure all the way from year 11 to 12 and it has served me well.
1) Introduction:
Contextualising the issue
Type of text (article, opinion piece, speech etc)
Title of text
Date of article (if provided)
Author/Speaker
Overarching contention
• **VCAA are likely to continue the "comment" trend as they did this year. If a second text is provided, put a sentence or two in the introduction referring to it - you don't need to go into as much depth.
Optional: Mention images/visuals if they are present and maybe throw in some tone words/specific audiences

Model Introduction
(http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/youve-been-misled-on-boat-people-here-are-the-facts-20130718-2q5rv.html)
The asylum seeker issue is one that has provoked intense debate in the Australian community especially in the light of tragedies at sea and the recent riot at PNG’s Manus island which resulted in a person being killed. In an confident and often critical opinion piece entitled “You’ve been misled on boat people: here are the facts”, published in The Age on 18 June 2013, human rights lawyer Julian Burnside appeals to the reader’s humanitarian instincts to call for the Government to adopt a more humane approach towards those who seek asylum on our shores. Burnside’s views are reinforced by Fiona Katauskas’ accompanying cartoon, which depicts Immigration Minister Scott Morrison as a comical statue in the “Great Australian Hall of Shame”.  On the same day, a reader posting under the username “Realistic” published a distainful comment in response to the article, branding Burnside a ‘bleeding heart’ and calling for tighter controls around our borders.

2) Body Paragraphs (3-4 usually)
• Throughout the body paragraph, follow the ABC's of analysis.
• At this point you might be asking, how do I figure out what to analyse in each body paragraph? How do you write topic sentences for language analysis?  :) Welcome to what many people call 'chunking'. When you receive your article, read through it carefully and identify areas where you feel the tone shifts, the arguments shifts, the author changes an appeal, a new audience is targeted etc
At these key shifts, mark with a biro - these will form your chunks. Aim to have around 3-4 chunks max by identifying these shifts.
• Topic sentences should identify these key shifts and what you are going to analyse generally in that chunk.
Example: Junger continues into the main text of his article in a more even-handed and unbiased tone, engaging readers with a recognition of public sentiment over the issue.
• WHAT DO I ANALYSE there's so much to analyse! -> Don't stress. You're not expected to analyse everything as you simply do not have the time. What I found is that the paragraphs in articles usually were focussed around a particular WIDER technique - for example an anecdote - and then I would flag this main technique and then zoom in closely to specific words for the B) part of analysis.
• Visuals should be analysed within the chunks in which they are found. Search the article for links to the visuals and use these words to link to the visual. Aim for 3-4 points which you can take from the visual to analyse in depth. Use the same ABC's but with visual techniques really!

3) Comment/2nd Text Analysis (if VCAA decide to do it again which is a distinct possibility  :P)
• Treat the comment as a second text on its own.
• For this course, you are NOT required to engage in complex comparative analysis. Remember it is HOW language is used to persuade the reader. Feel free to draw some points of comparison - and often the stronger pieces will - but the bulk of your analysis should be on how this second author seeks to persuade the reader to his/her point of view.
• Spend one paragraph analysing the comment. Use the same ABC's and aim to perhaps draw a couple of point of comparison

4) Conclusion
Make an arbitrary conclusion. This is seriously a structural requirement more than any thing. Just try not to repeat yourself.

Example Conclusion
Overall, Aly’s opinion piece attempts to position the reader to grapple with the terrible situation of asylum seekers in detention centres through a raft of mostly emotional appeals, attempting to illicit a response which condemns the government’s poor handling of the situation. Similarly, the commenter “Common Sense” appeals to the reader to condemn current policy and move to a more rational stand on the issue but does so in a manner which largely appeals to our sense of logic and reason. Both pieces ultimately seek to call for a change of policy which adequately deals with the human rights of asylum seekers rather than relegate this issue to the fringes of the public consiousness.


Hope this helped people! Feel free to message me or post here with any questions. I'll post up an exam advice for LA next year closer to the date. Remember if you would like feedback on work you've written, post to the English Work Submission and Marking board and the community will try and give advice! :) The best way to improve is to try and write - even single body paragraphs! Good luck Class of 2015!
« Last Edit: November 17, 2014, 06:22:33 pm by DJALogical »
2014 - English (50, Premier's Award)| Music Performance (50, Premier's Award) | Literature (46~47) | Biology (47) | Chemistry (41) |  MUEP Chemistry (+4.5)  ATAR: 99.70

Griffith University Gold Coast Queensland
2015 - 2017 Bachelor of Medical Science (BMedSc)
2017 - 2021 Doctor of Medicine (MD)

DJA's Guide to Language Analysis (Section C)
DJA's guide on the topic of English Expression (Text response)

literally lauren

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Re: DJA's Guide to Language Analysis (Section C)
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2014, 09:03:24 am »
+3
preeeeety colours!

This is awesome; linking this to the resources sticky :)

AmericanBeauty

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Re: DJA's Guide to Language Analysis (Section C)
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2014, 09:05:24 am »
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I used the same approach but it was sometimes arbitrary when I wrote on C as you can't analyse the intended effect with literally everything - some stuff has to be grouped together to make an overall argument which required buildup. I also added a D which came after the specific effect which included like a 'reevaluation of opinion' from the audience or to 'become proactive in adhering to the authors contention' and what not. You could say that was C, but my C was more to do with feeling as such.

DJA

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Re: DJA's Guide to Language Analysis (Section C)
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2014, 11:23:24 pm »
+2
This is great! Very straight to the point! Just a question : Any advice on picking out the best information to use in the piece ? I get distracted by a lot of minor techniques and my pieces gets clouded since I try to analyse everything.

Yes so as I said, what you most often find in pieces is that the paragraphs usually have a main technique which they use overall.
Examples of the big OVERALL type techniques: anecdotes, personal anecdotes, Evidence/Facts and figures, Emotional appeal, Appeal to nationalism/patriotism etc.

When you read through the piece, try to identify these overarching techniques and I would definitely recommend analysing them. That's the priority. Then within each of these larger overarching techniques, 'zoom in' to specific techniques which augment the argument. Examples could be: metaphors, allusions, similes, rhetorical questions, repetition etc.
Try to find at least 2 moments within the bigger techniques to zoom in to also analyse specific words and their connotations.

So the minor techniques are still important - but what is important is to flag the BIGGER techniques at a higher priority and explain their meaning and then find opportunities to use the minor techniques to add to what you are arguing in terms of specific audience effect. That way you don't end up analysing anything and everything which is just impossible given the 1 hour time limit in the exam!  :)
2014 - English (50, Premier's Award)| Music Performance (50, Premier's Award) | Literature (46~47) | Biology (47) | Chemistry (41) |  MUEP Chemistry (+4.5)  ATAR: 99.70

Griffith University Gold Coast Queensland
2015 - 2017 Bachelor of Medical Science (BMedSc)
2017 - 2021 Doctor of Medicine (MD)

DJA's Guide to Language Analysis (Section C)
DJA's guide on the topic of English Expression (Text response)

24bauer12

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Re: DJA's Guide to Language Analysis (Section C)
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2014, 09:29:45 pm »
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This is an excellent resource! What do you think distinguises an L.A from an 8 to a 10?

M_BONG

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Re: DJA's Guide to Language Analysis (Section C)
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2014, 09:32:43 pm »
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This is an excellent resource! What do you think distinguises an L.A from an 8 to a 10?
A quote from my teacher - "What the examiner had for breakfast".

Ok, maybe not an 8 from a 10. But a 9 from a 10, I recond.

DJA

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Re: DJA's Guide to Language Analysis (Section C)
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2014, 10:32:36 pm »
+3
This is an excellent resource! What do you think distinguises an L.A from an 8 to a 10?

Two things pretty much:
1) Consistently explaining the Specific Intended Effects for the techniques/evidence you analyse. Many students don't always do this vital last step. You can analyse the whole piece in perfect prose and yet if you do not actually explain the effect on the audience you simply aren't meeting the requirement of the task. Every time you analyse something, I suggest you ask the question: "How does this make me feel? How does this make the audience feel?" - This will help you nail the step C) every single time.
2) Writing in coherent, clear and relevant prose. While language analysis is still relatively formulaic, you still need to follow the conventions of good writing. Also having a good vocabulary helps heaps rather than constantly saying "this....positions" which gets boring fast :) Know good synonyms for everything and try to avoid repeating the same thing over and over in terms of certain language features.

Good luck!

A quote from my teacher - "What the examiner had for breakfast".

Ok, maybe not an 8 from a 10. But a 9 from a 10, I recond.

9.5 to a 10 yes probably :P I still think there's a gap between 9 and 10 - but then again that might just be me being idealistic haha. Tbh at the very top end of writing, there's very little separating the top pieces and yes it could come down to something mundane as that.

Bet you the examiners just throw a dice to decide marks in the top range.
2014 - English (50, Premier's Award)| Music Performance (50, Premier's Award) | Literature (46~47) | Biology (47) | Chemistry (41) |  MUEP Chemistry (+4.5)  ATAR: 99.70

Griffith University Gold Coast Queensland
2015 - 2017 Bachelor of Medical Science (BMedSc)
2017 - 2021 Doctor of Medicine (MD)

DJA's Guide to Language Analysis (Section C)
DJA's guide on the topic of English Expression (Text response)

Yacoubb

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Re: DJA's Guide to Language Analysis (Section C)
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2014, 10:38:53 pm »
0
Great guide :)!!

M_BONG

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Re: DJA's Guide to Language Analysis (Section C)
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2014, 10:47:03 pm »
+9
Dear DJA,

When are you writing a guide to getting a 50 in English?

Sincerely,
Class of 2015.

Yacoubb

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Re: DJA's Guide to Language Analysis (Section C)
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2014, 10:49:08 pm »
+5
Dear DJA,

When are you writing a guide to getting a 50 in English?

Sincerely,
Class of 2015.

Dec 15 approx 7am once results are released!!

EvangelionZeta

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Re: DJA's Guide to Language Analysis (Section C)
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2014, 05:36:10 pm »
+4
Really like this guide - a few comments/things that I suggest differently to my students (though there is no single "correct" way of doing LA, so this is just to offer a different perspective):

1. In terms of your three bits of analysis (A, B, C) thing, I prefer to think of A as "labelling a technique and quoting it", and B as "analysing the immediate effect of the technique".  I think focusing on having techniques specifically is useful because it shows you're able to engage with the way in which the language is being framed; the biggest issue I think many students have is they sound like they're just summarising the piece, not really engaging with how its *language* works. 

2. I actually recommend usually that you analyse the image separately from the article - this is advantageous because a. it makes it REALLY clear that you're doing the image justice to the examiner (ie. you're analysing it enough, SO MUCH SO that you're giving it its own paragraph!) and b. sometimes the image doesn't *necessarily* agree with the article entirely, or perhaps will express a subtly different point. 

3. I like students to put body paragraphs together based on what I call "approaches" that the author takes - so like, broad strategies they have to persuade you, such as "appearing rational", "making the opposition look silly", "creating an emotional pull to their argument", etc.  Under each of these strategies, find three-four techniques that contribute to these overall strategic effects.

4. For the conclusion (in the "approaches" style), I recommend just summarising what the main approaches are.  Maybe also comment on what the broader context of the article is again or something.  Agreed though that it's a moronic thing they force you to include just cos.
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