Introduction to English LanguageStudying Written Language • Unit 1 focuses on reading non-fiction texts, which includes texts such as: diaries letters leaflets brochures articlesadvertisements reports autobiographies WebPages fact-sheets • This unit is assessed by an exam that lasts for one hour. • The exam paper will include two non-fiction texts and you will be expected to answer four questions on them.Some of the questions will ask you to look at the first non-fiction text, some will ask you to look at the second textand at least one of the questions will ask you to compare and contrast both texts . Assessment Objective • For this exam, you will be assessed according to the following Assessment Objective: Read and understand texts, selecting material appropriate to purpose, collating from different sources and making comparisons and cross-references as appropriate. Develop and sustain interpretations of writers’ ideas and perspectives. AO3 Explain and evaluate how writers use linguistic, grammatical, structural and presentational features to achieve effects and engage and influence the reader. Understand texts in their social, cultural and historical contexts.
Non-Fiction Texts ? • The non-fiction texts that you will see in the exam, will always include visual elements such as: • Images • Diagrams • Layout features. • This means that you should think about how these elements work with the main content to convey a particular meaning or create specific effects. What will I need to do in the exam? Comment on particular words Read the texts carefully Use close reading skills – track the text Use short quotations Explore how a writer has used Explore persuasive techniques such as: language to create the effect theyrhetorical questions, repetition, appeals to require – how have they the reader, counter argument, emotive persuaded or influenced you, etc. language, humour (sarcasm or irony), hyperbole, etc How to write about non-fiction 1. Technique spotting 1. Quoting 2. Explaining why the writer chose these words, in your opinion 3. Explaining the effect they have on you
Audience, Purpose & Form • Look carefully at the following texts.The exam will focus on; – Who are they aimed at? • Locating and selecting detail (Q.1) – What are they trying to do? • Writers’ ideas and perspectives (Q.2/3) You would need to identify both the audience and purpose for each example and explain your answer. • Comment on the meaning of the headline in the article Example 1 about Namibia, and how it connects with the content below it. • The words/phrases are intended to make Namibia seem attractive. Pick out 2 or 3 that help to create a favourable mood and atmosphere.
The sentence describing the park is very dense. If Example 2 you have to explain it in plain English, what would you say? Finish the sentence: ‘It is trying to say that Rhondda Heritage Park…’ResponseAnother advertisement, this time with the aim ofpersuading people to visit Rhondda Heritage Park;again, the complexity of the language suggests thatthe advert is aimed at adults. The reference to ‘allages’ might suggest that the advert is trying toappeal to families, although the image and designof the text is arguably less family-friendly. Thedesign perhaps helps to support the ‘educational’angle a little more than the ‘entertaining’ angle.
Question 1 • This question will tend to ask you to locate information. They will expect you to locate textual references (quotations) in order for you to answer the question. • You must include these (quotations) in your answer. • ALWAYS WRITE IN A PARAGRAPH – NOT A LIST REFER BACK TO THE QUESTION THROUGHOUTREMEMBER: 10 Points = 10 Marks
Locating and Selecting detail • The simplest type of exam question asks you to pick out particular information from a text. Examiners call these ‘locating and selecting detail’ questions. • These kind of questions test the skills of reading and understanding texts, and selecting material appropriate to purpose.Here are some tips on how to answer them well . Locating Information Read the following text carefully At the age of 46, I was fed up of London. I sold my house and rented a cottage in the idyllic Scottish town where I grew up. After just a few weeks, I knew I’d made the right decision: Melrose, with its friendly people and stunning scenery, is where my heart is and it’s a wonderful place to live. It is terribly pretty, with the kind of charming, local shops that are rapidly being replaced by supermarket giants elsewhere. For such a tiny place, it is buzzing with life. There’s a theatre, museum and literary society. The sporting facilities are fantastic, with an excellent rugby pitch.Q1. According to Betty Munro, why is the town of Melrose a wonderful place to live? You must use the text to support your answer. • After you’ve read the question look back through the text. • As you read, underline information that answers the question. Focused Answer • All the points you make should be based on the text and help to answer the question. • Avoid copying out long quotes. If your quote is long, then copy out the first few and last few words, but use three dots (… = ellipsis) in between to indicate there is a gap and therefore more to the quotation. – For example, ‘A fearful man … with a great iron on his leg’. Good answer Bad answer The writer says Melrose is “terribly pretty” and The writer says that at the age of 46, she was has “charming” shops. She is also enthusiastic fed up of London. She must have been bored about the sporting facilities, for example the of cities. She seems to think Melrose is much “excellent” rugby field. better than London, probably because it’s rural.
Student Response 1. What can people do to help Accrington Stanley Football Club in their current difficulties, according to the website? Student response Question 1 A good start;Donate and raise money. The club need £308,000 to pay off their answer deals directly with thetax bill so they are asking people to help them. On the website questionthey give lots of ways fans and others can help raise money.They ask people to come to the games and bring friends along, points are clearlyhopefully paying for tickets in advance; this will help get the presentedmoney in faster. People can buy this historic club’s merchandiseeither online or when at the club. effective use of paragraphing toThere is a sponsorship form available to download for those who structure the responsewant to raise money through events. One little girl ‘Hannah’ whois a fan has emptied her piggybank and given the money to theclub, so they are saying it all helps. Businesses can donate money writing isand get involved in fundraising activities, as well as coming to the technically accurategames with customers or advertising their business at the club. A good start to the set of answers, and a good start to this particular answer – the club has no money, so it needs some! It’s a fairly efficient response all the way through, and I counted 11 points which are well organised.
Question Types 2• One question will ask you to think about how the writer of one of the texts achieves a particular effect. The effect will be stated in the question. For example, it could be: REFER BACK TO THE QUESTION USE QUOTATIONS THROUGHOUT YOUR ANSWER
Persuasion • What is persuasion? – …a form of influence. It is the process of guiding oneself toward the adoption of an idea, attitude, or action by rational and symbolic means. Rhetorical Question An emotive and hard-hitting question creates a dramatic impact, as an audience is forced to consider the issue.• Examples • How can you help? • Can we continue to sit back and allow this to happen? Emotive Language Powerful language that plays on our emotions, designed and chosen to sway our responses.• Example • Meat is Murder Appeals To The Reader Using ‘you’ enables writers to appeal directly to the reader, provoking a personal response of fear, guilt, pleasure, sadness etc• Example • You can help to save whales and dolphins Facts and Statistics People generally trust statistics and facts. They may surprise us, impress us, anger us, appal us, scare us etc• Examples • “Lies, damned lies and statistics” - Mark Twain • Every second another child dies
Expert Opinion We tend to believe what an ‘expert’ in their field tells us, we bow to authority• Examples • Scientists have calculated that in the next decade we will suffer major power shortages, as fossil fuels run out? Oppositions Often offer a ‘before’ and ‘after’ view, to show how a change can be made. May use connectives to structure ideas, such as ‘on the one hand … on the other hand … however …’ • Examples • On the one hand it could give unemployed people jobs in factories, on the other hand it could pollute the local area. Pattern of Three Closely linked to the idea of repetition, this technique is used to emphasise a point strongly • Examples • Hunting is evil, cruel and out-dated.Humour, Sarcasm or Irony Pokes fun at the ideas of other people, sometimes through exaggeration (hyperbole) • Examples • Britains biggest dog (until it died recently) was called Tiny.
Counter Argument A view or argument opposite to the it, it addresses our potential concerns, makes us think that the speaker has considered all sides so we trust them. one the writer or speaker is making. Included in order to challenge• Examples • It could be said that one person turning off their light will not save the world ... Pun Play on words.• Examples • Michael Vaughan (ex-England cricket captain): My pride of Lions. Sentence Variety Long, complex sentences convey a lot of information and give the text a serious tone. Short sentences are used for emphasis.• Examples • A man who had been soaked in water, and smothered in mud, and lamed by stones, and cut by flints, and stung by nettles, and torn by briars; who limped, and shivered, and glared and growled; and whose teeth chattered in his head as he seized me by the chin. • ‘Hold your noise!’
Example Answers The following answers discuss the use of a rhetorical question in the text. What do you think about them? In the Computer Aid advert there is an In paragraph two, the writer uses a example of a rhetorical question, where rhetorical question to show that he it says: ‘But what about the developing knows what it means to live in a world, poor countries where clean developing country, to make readers water, nutritious food, a safe home and think about what priorities might be in access to health care are luxuries that these circumstances. He uses it to most people can only dream of?’ This make readers think about whether is a rhetorical question that does not computers haven’t become just as expect an answer and really makes you important to a good standard of living think. as other necessities. Which of these do you think the examiner disliked? Why?The student has correctly identified a rhetorical question and quoted it. They obviously understand how itworks, but they have not shown this by explaining why this question is effective in this text. The commentthat ‘it does not expect an answer and really makes you think’ could be about any rhetorical question. Mock Exam Paper
Student Response 2. How does the Save Our Stanley campaign appeal to a range of people to help Accrington Stanley Football Club?  a good start; but thisStudent response Question 2 would benefit from moreThe campaign clearly outlines how everyone can be focus on persuasiveinvolved in helping Accrington Stanley Football Club techniquesraise the money it needs. It appeals not just to thefootball fans and followers of the club, but businessesand individuals, both adults and children. The websitemakes it easy to donate money by showing that it would be better toaccepts all payments on card, cash, PayPal and even consider how the writershows that emptied piggybanks are acceptable and tries to persuade differentgratefully received. types of people The campaign is honest and shows why they need themoney to pay a tax bill, not anything else. It asksbusinesses to get involved with ‘hospitality visits, matchday tickets, sponsorships and advertising’. It lists veryclearly 4 ‘SOS’ ways to help. Fans can bring friends to answer discusses the strengths soundly butgames and buy tickets in advance, buy merchandise misses an opportunity towhich is open to everyone. Accrington Stanley is talk about how the textdescribed as a ‘historic football club’, which is well- worksworded.
Question Types 3 • All questions will test your ability to read for understanding and meaning. • Some questions will ask you to read one of the source texts and pick out specific information. These questions may be worded as follows:• What is the writer’s opinion of...• According to the writer of this text, why / what / who / when... REFER TO THE QUESTION USE QUOTATIONS THROUGHOUT
Locating Fact and Opinions • Facts are definitely true. There is evidence to back it up. – Fact: Liverpool FC won the UEFA Champions League in May 2005. – Fact: Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius. – Fact: Tony Blair was the UK Prime Minister after John Major. • Opinions are someone’s beliefs. They are likely to be someone’s interpretation of events or details. – Opinion: I think that animal testing for cosmetics should be banned. st – Opinion: China and India will be very powerful in the 21 Century. Student Response 3. What is the writer’s attitude to the money being spent by Manchester City Football Club?  answer focuses on the question Student response Question 3 straight-away The title of the article immediately shows how the writer feels when it says ‘Manchester City is making a mockery of the game’. The writer is clearly unimpressed and goes a shorter quotation would be on to say very strongly that ‘their wild excess in the more effective here, just ‘wild transfer market won’t buy them any friends or win them excess’ would be adequate any respect’. The writer is critical about some clubs’ ability to buy any footballer without much thought to what is happening in the economy of the rest of the country. Whilst ‘employers are all having to scale right back’ this this answer would benefit from club continues to spend ridiculous money ‘rocketing more comment on the longer quotations through the £200 million barrier since Hughes took over’. The writer thinks ‘mega-rich’ City is leading football to sign players for whatever it takes money wise and it is not realistic. It is also not acceptable to think this way when more confidence in focusing the argument would take answer the rest of the country suffers. into the next grade bandAnother good answer, which clearly picks up to some extent on the writer’s strength of feeling. Sometimeswrites are very subtle in their attitudes to the subject they are writing about. But here the journalist is upsetby the amount of money that goes to waste and the answer needs to reflect that. Some of the quotationshere are a little too long; a short phrase like ‘wild excess’ could be used to illustrate irresponsibility.Alternatively, some comment should have been made on the longer quotation, as it stands. A little moreconfidence in focusing the argument would take this answer into the highest grade band.
Question Types 4• Finally, one of the questions will ask you to compare both source texts.• This question might be worded as follows:• Compare and contrast what... and... say about...• Both of these texts are about... Compare and contrast the texts.
Comparison Both writers believe that dog owners should be responsible. True FalseThe second writer suggests that dog owners are irresponsible, but the first suggests that most are not. Both extracts suggest that dog owners favour their dogs over people.The first writer believes specifically that owners who let their dogs off the lead are a nuisance; the second writer avoids specific criticism. The first text is written in an impersonal style and is therefore more formal than the second text.The second text uses short sentences to add impact to the writer’s point of view. The first opens with a long sentence to fully explain the problems caused by dog owners. Both texts consider the impact that dog owners have on children. The first text includes an instruction in the headline, demanding that action is taken. The second text gives a statement in the headline, affirming a particular point of view.
Question 4 • Read through Question 4. – What do you think the keywords are in this question? • Highlight them. Student Response 4. The images of Manchester City Football Club and Accrington Stanley Football Club in these texts are very different. In what ways are they different? Student response Question 4 these opening sentencesManchester City and Accrington Stanley Football clubs could are sharp and focusednot be more different. Clearly one has far too much moneyand the other needs money to stay alive. Whilst ManchesterCity spends ‘£200 million’, Accrington Stanley is trying this section strays away fromeverything possible to raise £308,000 to pay a tax bill. the question slightly and doesAccrington Stanley is calling on the help of loyal fans to the not really focus on ‘different’club and football fans everywhere to help them, by being and ‘images’honest and straightforward in its appeal on the website.Accrington Stanley’s appeal also highlights how much fansthink of the club when ‘Hannah Holland has emptied her the student makes pointspiggybank to help save’ the club and how grateful the club clearly with a lively toneare to her by giving her a seat in the directors‘ box as a thankyou.Manchester City are not thinking of normal people or fans at although this is a goodall, when they continue to spend, spend, spend ‘while many commentary, sharper analysisfans struggle to rake together enough cash to be able to afford is needed to get top markstickets’. The club are proving how ‘they are completely outof step with the rest of us’ when they pay £25 million for oneplayer and then immediately pay it out again for another. The answer completes a very good set of response from our candidate. It’s a clear, coherent response, giving the reader every chance to tick points made. But does it truly focus on ‘different’ and ’images’? Although it is a good commentary, sharper analysis is needed for top marks.
Mock Exam Paper Point, Evidence, Explanation • When you answer questions, especially one which is based on a text, the PEE model of writing is a simple and effective way of making sure you are keeping on track. • Point – the idea you want to put across; the idea you are making – this is done briefly. • Evidence – this is where you back your point up using a quote or referring back to the text. • Explanation - this is where you fully explain your point, usually referring to something in the text – link it to how it would affect the audience.Everyone might have similar or even the same points and evidence. The real differencecomes in the explanation section – this is your main opportunity to show how well you have understood the text and the question. All Answers Should include; Unsupported assertions and simple comments with occasional references to the text? Appropriate references to the text with simple comments/inferences? Valid comments based on appropriate detail from the text, which begin to address the issue of ‘how’, but with some ‘spotting and listing’ of key words or quotations? Valid comments/inferences, which combine specific detail with overview and are fully engaged with analysis of techniques?
Headline What do I look for when analysing the headline of a text?• Analyse the headline by; – Looking at language and tone – Thinking what is purpose and effect – Looking at position on the page Pictures What do I look for when analysing pictures within a text?• Analyse a picture as you would words. – What message does it contain? (denotation / connotation) – What feel or atmosphere does it create? – Is it meant to shock/entertain/arouse our curiosity? Layout What do I look for when analysing the layout of a text?• Think about the way everything is put together on the page. – Are the pictures related to the text they are near? – Do the pictures break up the text? – Think about the length of paragraphs. – Think about any sections which stand out for any reason.
Reading with Insight • Reading with insight is what the examiners call a ‘higher order’ reading skill. This means you’ve got to show you can do it to get the higher grades. 1. You can show insight if you work There is a strong sense that the writer feels out what a writer’s attitude is. angry about the changes 2. You could show you understand what the writer wants the reader The article makes the reader question to think about. whether schools are a good thing. 3. You could comment on how the writer tries to make the readers The writer seems to want to make readers feel. feel guilty. 4. You might write about why you Perhaps the writer felt he needed to make think a piece was written. sure the memory of his friend was kept alive Your Opinion • You can get marks for giving a thoughtful personal response. Make sure you focus on the text though – examiners don’t want to know your general opinions on various unrelated issues.This would be good This would be bad I think the article would The short sentences I think old people are remind older people of could give an impression quite boring. happier times because it of anxiety and tension, or includes so many they could suggest to descriptive details. some readers that the This writer has an arrogant shows that attitude. you’ve got plenty of • Examiners love alternative ideas. interpretations • If you give more than one possible way of looking at a text, the examiner will be extremely impressed.