Chapter 1 provides an overview of the metalinguistic terminology connected with the features of a commentary: contextual factors, social purpose, register and stylistic and discourse features. (See pp. 3-4 and the Glossary on pp. 77-83.)
While using these features to guide your analysis, you must also demonstrate an ability to use “relevant descriptive and metalanguistic tools” — relating to at least two subsystems. Given that the linguistic features must be connected to, and guided by, the meaning and the mode of the text, the most prevalent subsystems will be lexicology, syntax, semantics and discourse.
Chapter 1 begins with warm-up exercises. L-Fresh the Lion’s instagram post contains non-standard linguistic features typical of an informal register. It connects with Unit 3: Language variation and social purpose, Area Study 1: informal language.
The second text is a formal speech delivered by Leila Smith on the ABC’s 7.30 Report. It consists of standard linguistic features and connects with Area Study 2: formal language. Both texts display examples of Unit 4: language variation and identity (group membership).
An important first step is to write analytical sentences focusing on the subsystems of lexicology and syntax. The words people use are critical to the register and to their social purpose.
What is the best way to evaluate the meaning of the text?
A smart and efficient structure is the key to drawing out the deeper meanings in the text. Chapter 2 provides a model structure that can be adapted to a range of written and spoken texts — in both formal and informal registers.
Chapter 3 provides detailed plans and commentaries on a range of written text types. The texts are drawn from exams for English Language set by the Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority (VCAA) and can be accessed via their website
Each commentary establishes a connection with Unit 3: Language variation and social purpose and Unit 4: Language variation and identity.
The linguistic features of a formal policy document outlining terms and conditions differ markedly from the features of an informal comment imitating teenspeak. The former uses lexical and syntactic features of Standard Australian English while the latter uses non-standard features for the purposes of stylistic difference.
Generally, the text’s formality depends upon the mode, the message, the function, the author and the audience. The context also determines the discourse conventions used, which will in turn influence the message.
- An official document: Stage 1: Water Restrictions are now in place (VCAA 2006
- A brochure: Wilsons Promontory National Park Brochure (VCAA 2004
- Terms and conditions: Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (terms) (VCAA 2012)
- An advertisement: Virgin Airlines non-stop flight (VCAA 2010)
- An advertisement for “Be Natural” (VCAA 2013)
- An article: “Basic Training” by Larissa Ham (VCAA 2016)
- An extract from a novel: The Eye of the Sheep by Sofie Laguna, (VCAA 2019)
- A Letters Page: Quick Fix in the Big Issue (VCAA 2014)
- An extract from a novel: Wasted by Colin Bowles (VCAA 2005)
Chapter 4 provides detailed plans and commentaries on a range of text types for spoken communication — both formal and informal. The transcripts are drawn from exams for English Language set by the Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority (VCAA) and can be accessed via their website, “Past examinations”.
Each commentary establishes a connection with Unit 3: “Language variation and social purpose” and Unit 4: “Language variation and identity”.
In a spoken text, how one speaks (prosodic features such as stress levels, rising and falling patterns of pitch and pace) is often just as critical as what one says. Additionally, speakers use paralinguistic features (non-verbal communications such as gesture, posture, facial expressions and so on) to reinforce and underpin the words spoken. These cues are dependent upon the context and the interaction between the interlocutors. The pace and delivery of a scripted ceremonial speech differs from an unrehearsed sports commentary; likewise, the conversational and turn-taking strategies one uses with a friend are markedly different from the strategies one uses in a public interview.
- A scripted speech: Tim Minchin’s Logie Speech (VCAA 2017)
- A scripted speech: Governor-General’s Australian Citizenship Day (VCAA 2018)
- A scripted speech: Governor-General’s Medal Presentation (VCAA 2013)
- An interview: ABC Breakfast Interview on Ladies in Black (VCAA 2016)
- An ABC Broadcast: The Royal Australian Navy Fleet Review Spectacular (VCAA 2014)
- A Sports Commentary: ABC Radio: Australian Open 2011 tennis match (VCAA 2011)
- An informal conversation: Margaret and Joan (VCAA 2012)
- An informal conversation: Gary and Mum (VCAA 2005)
- A radio segment: Hughesy and Kate on Fox FM (VCAA 2019)