Saturday, 28 November 2009

Sample Coursework To Do List

Title Investigation - Power Techniques Used in Cartoon Opening Theme Lyrics

- Research power techniques in language
* Living Language
* AS Textbook chapter on Language and Power
- Research appeal of children's cartoons and typical topics covered in children's themes (e.g.
- Choose selection of cartoons (Selection of origins - Pokemon (Japanese), Darkwing Duck (Disney), Dangermouse (British), Jem (aimed at girls)
- Acquire lyrics (e.g and descriptions of series.
- Topics to look for
* Lexis
* Semantics
* Grammar
* Subtopics of Graphology and Phonology.
* Things to consider:
- Boy-focused cartoons are more likely have powerful language
- Selection is focused on action-based cartoons
- Subject of the cartoon is crucial

Writing Up a Language Research Project

Writing Up a Language Research Project

These subheadings are required by the exam board.

Introduction and Aims
• Discussion of the reasons for choosing the focus of the study
• A hypothesis or research question – what do you hope to achieve from this?
• Aim or aims – do you have any secondary aims – do they vary?
• Are you proving/disproving another theorist/study?

• Describe the methodology you chose for your data collection.
• Explain the reasons for choosing that form of data collection.
• Problems and any ethical considerations encountered/taken into account during the collection process.

• What became evident from your discoveries?
• Analysis and interpretation of data using appropriate linguistic concepts
• Critical consideration of the relevant concepts / issues surrounding the topic area.
• Analysis of the effects of key contextual influences upon the data (what affected your outcomes)

Conclusion / Evaluation
• • An evaluation of the success of the investigation including issues relating to methodology, interpretation of the conclusions drawn from the data and how the study could be extended

• A list of all sources used (paper and web-based).

Appendices - including all data collected and annotations made.

Monday, 16 November 2009

A2 Language Coursework

• Investigation of 1750-2500 words - includes students own words only.
• An accompanying media text of 750 – 1000 words

Exam Board Says:
• Independent work
• Supported by teachers
• Data driven investigations (data quantity and quality is crucial)
• There is no hierarchy of data types
• Evidence of student learning – background reading
• Ethical practices are essential
• Referencing – ALL texts must be referenced, otherwise the folder is incomplete and 50% has to be removed.

Exam Board Advises
• A brief introduction & methodology is sufficient – therefore emphasis remains on analysis
• Background reading must be evident in both investigation and media text

Rothery's Categories

Rothery's Categories

Writer makes observations and follows with an evaluative comment, or mixes with an observation.

Usually chronological sequence of events, written subjectively. Set pattern of orientation-event-reorientation.

A factual and objective description of events or things – usually not chronological

Story genre – set pattern of orientation-complication-resolution-coda. The coda which identifies the point of the story is not always included. Few children complete this early on

Analysing Texts

Look at the texts. Think about how the child has used the following feature of language:

Graphology – how is the writing laid out on the page?
Lexis and semantics – how wide is the child’s vocabulary? Are any specific semantic fields used?
Grammar – which sentence types are used?
Orthography (Spelling) – are there any patterns in the ways the words are spelled?

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Categorising Texts - How to Group

Grouping Texts

Categorising Texts employs a strategy called GROUPING.

You need to group texts according to a linguistic feature they both share. You have more than a hundred features to choose from.

1. Choose the linguistic feature that 2-4 texts share. The areas you can choose form are as follows:
the vocabulary system; meaning at word and phrase level (includes semantics)
• Grammar
the structural relationships within and between sentences and utterances
• Phonetics/ Phonology
the sounds of English, how they are produced and how they are described; including aspects of prosody
• Pragmatics
the ways in which social conventions and implied meanings are encoded in spoken and written language
• Discourse
(i) longer stretches of text, looking particularly at aspects of cohesion
(ii) the way texts create identities for particular individuals, groups or institutions e.g. the discourse of law, politics, the media
• Graphology
language as a semiotic system creating meaning through textual design, signs and images.
• Register
situational variation and register: how language varies in relation to audiences, purposes and contexts
• Mode
how language may vary as a consequence of the channel of communication (speech, writing and mixed modes)
• Idiolect
the language style acquired by individuals as a result of their personal characteristics, systems of belief and social experience
• Dialect
the variations in language produced as a result of local community and regional diversity
• Sociolect
language variations produced by the effects of education, socio-economic class, systems of belief, occupation and membership of social groups.

2. You then find examples of this particular linguistic feature in action and give them as EXAMPLES.
3. You are now going to show your understanding of the reasons behind the groupings by explaining why they have used the feature and subtle differences between their usages (e.g. three texts may use concrete nouns in the form of names but one text uses first name to form a relationship, one uses surname to show formality due to it being a solicitors’ letter and the other uses a full educational title as it is a speech that confers respect on the special guest).

Monday, 9 November 2009

Accent and Dialect

  • Accent – A distinct way of pronouncing a language

  • Dialect – a variety of a language that is distinguished from others by changes in phonology, grammar, and vocabulary
  • Creole – A combination of two or more languages into one
  • Pidgin – A simplified form of language
  • Standard English (S.E.) - is a term generally applied to a form of the English language that is thought to be normative for educated native speakers.
  • Jargon – is a terminology which relates to one particular group, activity or profession
  • Slang – is the the use of highly informal words and expressions that are not considered standard in the speaker's dialect or language.

Speech and Writing

Speech and Writing Features

  • Decoded by the ear
  • Transient; ephemeral; impermanent; what is said cannot be captured (unless taped)
  • May be spontaneous; unplanned
  • Allows interaction and immediate feedback; overlaps and interruptions
  • Allows non-verbal signals; gestures and body language
  • Unfinished sentences; false starts; hesitations; repetitions
  • Interrupted constructions; disjuncture
  • May use non-standard grammar
  • Contractions (use of elision) eg. can’t; I’ll
  • Pauses and fillers eg. er; I mean; sort of
  • Colloquial language
  • Prosodic features: intonation; stress; pitch; volume
  • Mood signals: laughter; silence
  • Highly context-bound
  • Assumes shared knowledge; deictic expressions eg. over there; that one
  • Phatic utterances eg. ‘How’s things?’
  • Looser grammatical construction
  • Errors remain: what is said cannot be ‘unsaid’
  • Accent and dialect may be apparent
  • Cohesion/ coherence
  • May appear messy and unstructured

Features of Writing

  • Decoded by the eye
  • Usually planned and revised: reader sees the polished version
  • No immediate feedback
  • Only the language can signal tone: no prosodic or paralinguistic features
  • Permanent and static
  • Allows close analysis and repeated reading
  • Sentences more complex, more tightly constructed; more subordinate clauses
  • Avoids deictic expressions which can be ambiguous (e.g. This book)
  • Graphological features
  • Distance between writer and reader

Categorising Texts

Looking at Categorising Texts, consider the following topics:


Lexis and Semantics

  • What word classes are used?
  • Any collocations
  • Use of pronouns?
  • Use of verbs?
  • Use of nouns?
  • Adjectives and adverbs?
  • Lexical/Semantic Fields
  • Lexical connectors
  • Synonyms/Antonyms
  • Denotation/Connotation
  • Figurative Language (similes, metaphors)
  • Under/Over specify
Discourse Structure
  • How does it start?
  • Is it laid out in a logical order?
  • Is it cohesive or disjointed? What is used to make it flow?
  • Subheadings, headings?
  • Chronological structure?
  • Narrative structure
  • Analysis (breaking down ideas into constituent parts)
  • Problem solution (identifies a problem to be solved)

Spoken Discourse Structure

  • Is the conversation laid out in adjacency pairs? (Greetings, questions, answers, command and response)
  • Does the conversation follow a logical pattern?
  • Is there turn taking?

How is it organised?

o Dominant speaker?

o Equal turns?

o Who signals the end/start of a turn?

o Topic management (who has the control?)

  • What speaker moves are used: framing, initiating, focusing, challenging (interruption of a topic)
  • Tag Questions
  • Fillers
  • Discourse markers (anyway, so,)
  • False Starts
  • Ellipsis and Ellision

Grammar and Syntax
  • Does the grammar conform to the formality of the situation? (The more formal the more standard the grammar patterns)
  • What sentence structures are used?
  • What clause structures are used?

  • What kinds of utterances are used? (declarative, imperative, emotive)

  • Use of adverbial intensifiers to enhance meaning? (very, a bit)
  • Incomplete utterances.
  • False starts and pauses
  • Contractions
  • Qualifiers

Graphology - The visual elements of a text.

  • Font choices
  • Layout
  • Inclusion of pictures


  • Assonance
  • Alliteration
  • Accents and Dialect


  • Context, implication and inference
  • Grice’s Maxims
  • Diexis
  • What meanings do we take from words
  • Background knowledge and modern language.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Parents and CDS

Mummy and Daddy
  • What do parents provide a child with?
  • How does this stimulate Language Acquisition?
  • Which theorists do we know include the role of the parents?
What are these really?

CDS – Child Directed Speech
  • Reduplication
  • Deletion and Substitution
  • Addition
How is baby talk (CDS) said?
  • Simple features
  • Exaggerated prosodic features

What features are there of CDS?
  • Repetition or repeated sentence frames
  • Higher pitch
  • The child’s name rather than pronouns
  • Present tense
  • One word utterances or ellipsis
  • Few verbs or modifiers
  • Concrete nouns
  • Expansions (the expanding of a child’s utterances)
  • Recasts – the extending of and rephrasing of an utterance.
  • Yes/no questions
  • Exaggerated pauses with turn-taking cues.

Bruner and his LASS
  • Ritualised activities help parents make rules and meanings predictable and explicit.
  • What does peek-a-boo teach children?
  • What about hickory-dickory-clock
  • One, two, three, four, five?

Children's Reading

What do young readers need to know?
• Relationship between written symbols and sounds.
• The cohesion of written texts with different interconnections
• Memory for the words – shapes and sounds
• Are organised in certain ways.
• Differ in organisation according to genre.
• Represent the culture of origin (narratives, left to right etc)

How are Children taught to read?
• “Look and Say”/whole word approach
• Phonics
• What are the benefits/drawbacks of each?

Children's Books

Feature of Children's Books

  • Emphasis on multi-modal and interactivity
  • Significance of characters
  • Use of direct speech
  • Phonological Devices
  • Pictures and Layout
  • Illustrations relating to actions
  • Consistent tense
  • Poetic devices
  • Repetition
  • Use of synonyms and hypernyms.

Children's Writing Stages

– What are the purposes and functions of writing?
– How do our writing skills develop?
– How do we personalise these?
– How do we adapt our writing for different registers?

What do children need to know to be able to write?
• Controlling a writing implement
• Combining words and sentences together
• Controlling register and discourse structure
• Manipulating language
• Recognising audience

To be able to write, you must be able to:

• Vocabulary and associated meanings of words and phrases.
• Sentences to create meaning.
• Graphemes that relate to phonemes and other devices to create prosodic effects (punctuation choices).
• Social conventions within texts.
• Cohesive structures
• Layout of texts and use of graphology
• Variations in language to suit Purpose, Audience and Register.

Writing Stages
• How do children progress in writing?

Writing stages
• Drawing
• Letter-like forms (emergent writing)
• Copied letters
• Name and strings of letters
• Words
• Sentences
• Text

Kroll’s Four Phases

Stage 1 - Preparatory
• Up to 6 years old
• When the child learns the physical skills required to write and the basics principles of the spelling system

Stage 2 - Consolidation
• Ages 6-8
• When children write as they speak
• Sentences are grammatically incomplete
• They use simple CONJUNCTIONS e.g. and, then, so

Stage 3 - Differentiation
• Age 8 – mid teens
• They become more aware of differences between speech and writing
• More confident use of grammatical structures
• More complex sentences including SUBORDINATE CLAUSES and more sophisticated connectives
• Begin to adapt writing to audience and purpose

Stage 4 - Integration
• Age – mid teens and upwards
• Personal style is more developed
• Writing adapted confidently to different situations