Analytical Commentary Introductions in VCE English Language

August 16, 2020joelleva

In this article, I'll be looking at WHAT to include and HOW to write an introduction in analytical commentaries. Many students seem to struggle with the AC section due to how much students need to write and how little time they have. The key to succeeding in this assessable area is to practice, practice and practice more!

So, what do we write in an analytical commentary introduction?

  1. Register - what is the register of the text/dialogue?
  2. Social purpose and function - try to differentiate between the two, although this can vary according to school.
  3. Audience - mention primary and secondary audiences (if applicable)
  4. Contextual Factors affecting the informality/formality of the text - what in the given circumstance is affecting the language choices being made
    1. Situational
    2. Cultural
    3. Audience
    4. Purpose
    5. Register
    6. Topic

You can see an example I wrote for the 2015 ANZAC Day Speech by then Prime Minister Tony Abbott:

The register of this ANZAC Day speech as presented by the then Prime Minister Tony Abbott is mostly formal, with elements of informality. The main function of the text is to inform the audience about the centenary of the ANZACs, however, the wider social purpose is to commemorate and remember those soldiers who died whilst fighting for their country, and to further promote Australian patriotism. The main audience is Australians and New Zealanders, however, the audience can also include those who were in attendance at the event in Gallipoli in 2015. The topic is a solemn and commemorative event has an effect on the PM in that he must make use of respectful linguistic choices such as euphemisms. Further, due to the need to inform, the use of certain stylistic features help to promote clearer imagery to the audience, thereby highlighting the adversity and atrocities of war. However, the informal language features such as personal pronouns and Australian colloquialisms help to bring a sense of social inclusivity to the speech.

As can be seen above, I am very clear with my language and I pinpoint the 4 MAIN FEATURES NEEDED IN AN INTRODUCTION: register, social purpose/function, audience, and contextual factors. Also, notice my language is formal - I focus on creating coherent and cohesive expressions coupled with metalinguistic knowledge. Assessors want to see that you know your stuff (to say it in an informal sense). However, I do not give explicit examples - keep this for the body of your commentary 🙂

I hope this helped! Disclaimer: this may vary by school, but for the exam, try to replicate my method above as it is what worked for me 🙂

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