Formal Language: An Analysis of An Article Published By the Australian Foreign Minister

October 2, 2020joelleva

Hey guys, I figure you guys have all been looking at the budget enough recently, so I won’t write about that again and instead I’ll take a look at a joint media release from Julie Bishop (the Australian foreign minister), Malcolm Turnbull (the Australian Prime Minister) and Christian Potter (the Australian Attorney-General) in relation to the shooting down of flight MH-17. Flight MH-17 was shot down on the 17th of July 2014 and all of the 298 people on board were killed, including 38 Australians. An investigation has recently found that the missile used was supplied by Russia.

A link to the media release can be found here:

Features that I have not really discussed much in these articles are cohesion and coherence. However, they are very important discourse features of formal language (as you would all hopefully know by now). The first three paragraphs all use the word, “findings,” and the repetition of this particular content word enables the first three paragraphs to remain relevant to the recent investigation in relation to the accident and the findings that came from them. In terms of coherence, the article is ordered logically. The article first discusses the fact that the Joint Investigation Team, before discussing the conclusion drawn from them and finally outlines the course of action that Australia and other states such as the Netherlands will be taking. As the paragraphs all build off each other and the information is easy to follow, the order would be considered logical.

Another feature I would like to discuss is the use of modals. The modal, “can,” is used in paragraph 3 and is used to state that only one conclusion is able to be drawn from the findings. Moreover, the modal, “must,” is used in paragraph 5 and this is used to show that the international community is obliged to try and hold Russia to account for the downing of the plane.

Given that this document has a function of informing the Australian people about the findings and what the Australian government intends to do with them, it uses exclusively declarative sentences.

Additionally, the use of jargon helps to keep this release specific. The use of terms such as, “BUK missile system,” help to convey very specific information to the reader, which in turn helps to promote the ministers’ knowledge of the issue and seeks to try and establish their expertise in relation to the issue. However, this is a minor point as the Australian politics students among you will know (or maybe not as you will not have done foreign policy yet), politicians very rarely use foreign policy for political purposes.

Anyway guys, that’s it from me and I hope you have found this article useful.

If you loved this article, you will LOVE all of our other articles, such as: Language Learning: Interview With A Trilingual Person and When You’re Your Own Worst Enemy in Year.

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