June2010 feedback How to tackle the yr 13 Language Exam
EnglishLanguage Exam A2 Question 1a
Topics to RevisePrescriptivismOrthographyPlain EnglishChurch EnglishLegal EnglishScientific EnglishGlobal EnglishLanguage of TechnologyPC/Gender
What to do in Q 1a You will be directed to the first text (a) The question will always ask you to choose 2 KCs and write one paragraph on each, explaining how they differ from current Standard English USE P-E-E-Analyse+Context
Example of q1a Select two examples which represent different key constituents of language. Using these examples identify and analyse the differences between the English used in the period that Text 1 was created and current English.
Candidates must choose 2 examples representing key constituents of language. These could be: l phonology/graphology p morphology m lexis l grammar g discourse.
The candidate must give an example and analyse it closelyusingappropriate linguistic terminology. In each case the candidateshould comment on standard English use and speculate brieflyon why the change has occurred.Links to context should include relevant issues about creolelanguage forms and the fact that the writer’s language has beenaffected by the amount of time spent in the UK (and theeducation system)The purpose of the text as an example of culturaldiversity means the writer is trying to show the audience howlanguage is used in her home country.
Phonology/graphology:Don’t reward for identifying differences in individualspelling. The candidate must be able to identify apattern.Features should be related to phonology and creatinga distinct written variety for the audience. Forexample:• ‘di’ for ‘the’ links to other Caribbean varieties andAAE• elision/omission of final consonants ‘bes’ for ‘best’• vowel change ‘eva’ for ‘ever’• assimilation* ‘latta’ for ‘lot of’. *assimilation is a common phonological process by which one sound becomes more like a nearby sound.
Lexis:Limited scope for words of Spanish origin ‘uno’ as apronoun. Majority is standard English (meaning itdoes not differ from standard so is not really commentworthy in this question).This shows both the influence of Standard Englishand the fact the writer is UK-based so only certaindefining features of the original Creole are usedbecause these would be a barrier to understanding.
Grammar:• lack of tense on irregular verb ‘to go’(reduction offorms)• formation of the negative ‘if dat experience no satisfyuno’• missing ‘to be’‘ The wata round it shallow’• standard English influences• object pronoun use ‘them’ for ‘they’• uno• ‘no’ used as question tag.
Sample Answer 1aThere are some Standard English constructions in this piece. Inmany instances the syntactical structure remains the same as in theopening with ‘Fi tell uno di truth’ which correlates with the S E ‘to tellyou the truth’. This may reflect the fact that the student has spentten years in the UK and has assimilated Standard English grammarand may also reflect the fact that this is a attempt at approximatingthe Creole rather than data recorded in a real life situation. It is infact a written representation of a representation. However, there area number of examples where the grammar diverges from StandardEnglish. One example is ‘Them got di biggest’. Here the object formof the pronoun is used instead of the subject, ‘they.’ Further there isan omission of the verb to be in a number of places. For example,sky cler blue’ and ‘wata round it shallow’. This, as well as thepronoun confusion or reduction, may well be because of theinfluence of Spanish or even an African language on the Creole,language that may not distinguish between pronoun forms or thatmay not use the verb to be as much. The use of Standard and non-Standard forms is an example of how the Creole language is amixture of several different languages.
Sample Answer 1a continuedThere are phonological differences between text 1 and StandardEnglish. In many cases the fricative ‘th’ sound is replaced with the dental‘d’. This is found in the following examples: ‘Di sky...’, ‘da jaguar...’, ‘datthem caves...’. It is possible that this pattern emerged through theinfluence of the Spanish pronunciation. We know, for example that someSpanish speakers pronounce the letter C as ‘th’, so there is a differencein the pronunciation of consonant sounds. This may also reflectpronunciation in other part of South America and also versions of AAE(African American English) since we know that migration happened fromthe Caribbean to America.
Before writing Read and annotate both texts. Consider the key constituents Consider similarities and differences
PLAN Write the KC beside some points Make sure you make notes on how the context is reflected in the language of the text Number your notes!!
Writing your answer Startwith comments about the provenance of the texts ◦ Say what kind of text it is ◦ When, where was it written ◦ By whom and for whom
Writing your answer Stick with P-E-E ◦ In the explain try to include some analysis of language some reference to the context and possibly a link to the other text
Comparing textsEither write a paragraph on each text in turnOrWrite a P-E-E-Link paragraph(Best to use a mixture of both!)
Be careful to answer the question. It usually asks you about an issue that is reflected in the language. For example, attitudes towards religion and religious language.
What the exam board say Analysis and comments should focus on how travel writing has changed. The data should be placed in the context of the changing nature of travel writing – from personal account to guides.
Now use the following slides to go back over the texts and practise identifying features that you might use in an answer. Consider what the features might say about this form of writing generally and how they fit in with expectations.
The main areas of focus are likely to be: • phonology/graphology • morphology • lexis • grammar • discourse/pragmatics.
Phonology/graphology: • use of bold • use of italics • alliteration in Text 3 (‘soft sand and snorkellers’).
Morphology: Text 2: • polysyllabic. Text 3: • compounding (‘longtail’, ‘lagoonside’).
Lexis:Lexis and the role of language change over time, including audienceneeds.Text 2:• interception, unknown profundity• words not part of modern standard English ‘hither’ for ‘here’• collations (small meals on fast days)• proper nouns• use of adjectives• use of modifiers and prepositional phrases.Text 3:• proper nouns (bold capitals to draw reader’s attention)• more informal to relate to reader – ‘clamber’ ‘hauling’• contraction used to reduce formality• more use of modifiers and prepositional phrases• noun phrases in apposition.
Grammar: Use of pronouns and the relationship with the reader: • Text 2 – 1st person plural/singular (including personal opinions) • Text 3 - 2nd person.
How writing has changed over time Text 2: • use of passives • many relative clauses for detail • non-finite clauses acting as modifiers • adverbials and position • long, complex sentences with much subordination. • complex compound sentences • unusual word orders to highlight information ‘it is a rock perpendicularly tabulated’ ‘their extent we had not time to try’ • declarative – account of travels • past tense.
How writing has changed over time Text 3: • use of passives to front information for the reader • fronted adverbials to highlight • fewer relative clauses • use of modals • imperatives (modern demands for guide) • adverbials and position • present tense – immediacy and sense of being a current guide • still many long complex sentences to give detail • parentheses to give additional information.
Discourse/pragmatics: How the use of words identifies the relationship between writer and reader and assumptions about the readership. Text 2: • limited audience (possible link to social class) • time before travel was widespread for all classes • makes assumptions about gender – more likely to be male (reflects society of time) – ‘no man’ (unlikely to be generic use) and ‘he that ventures’ • purpose is to entertain by describing and to evoke an image – not a practical guide • relationship is impersonal with some personal asides.
Text 3: • much wider audience – anyone wishing to go to Thailand – all classes and genders. • no gender assumptions – audience directly addressed ‘you’ builds up a relationship between writer and reader • purpose is to inform and perhaps to persuade and entertain • pragmatics- comments on the relationship between the writer and reader.
With all of this in mind, try to write a P- E-E-A-C-L paragraph POINT EVIDENCE EXPLAIN ANALYSIS CONTEXT LINK TO TEXT 3