VCE English Language Units 3/4 – Interactive Course
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Sample SA & AC for English Language Students – 2016 Exam
WATCH THE ASSOCIATED VIDEO HERE:
As we approach the end of year exams for VCE, it’s important that you continue to practice, practice, practice (did I say practice?). If you don’t you will not succeed. Also, keep in mind that practice doesn’t just mean taking your jolly time. You must restrict yourself to the timed conditions allocated.
To help get you started and make your life easier, I have pointed out some of the key features/observations (that stand out to me), that you should aim to include in your commentary response. Understand that this is not complete: you still need to think about the complete elaboration and think for yourself.
I would recommend structuring your analytical commentary response by subsystem as I have found this to be the easiest format for students, although some teachers advise otherwise. I can actually understand when another structure might be more suitable such as by identity or by a register, social purpose, context – however, I find students may run out of time in the exam formulating the body paragraph structure when the content and elaboration is more important. We need to ensure students focus less time on structure and more on actual quality content.
- Register: Formal with informal features
- Function(s): Commemorative and Celebratory
- Social Purpose: To strengthen social bonds with Australians
- Audience: Australians & Parliamentarians
- Contextual Factors (affecting language usage):
- Situational: Due to being in a political setting, he respects the leaders of Australia through the use of honorifics such as “Leader”, “Prime Minister” etc.
- Cultural: Due to being in Australia and with an Australian audience, Obama makes use of many Australianisms such as ‘Strine’ (phonological elision on line 12) and refers to cultural values (lines 14-15)
- Topic: Due to the part commemorative function, he must be respectful of ‘fallen’ soldiers (line 34), so makes use of euphemism to appeal to positive face needs. This, therefore, links to the social purpose of strengthening bonds as he appears respectful.
- Use of ellipsis on line 39 ‘Every single one’. Why might this be? Think back to emphasis – emphasis of WHAT? Look at the previous sentences before the ellipsis to give a hint.
- Use of parallelism on line 23 – 24. Remember that parallelism is the repetition of a similar grammatical structure in succession. Remember that parallelism also has an emphatic effect.
- Colloquialisms such as ‘Strine’ on line 12 (also known as phonological elision) – to help include himself with the Australian audience. This inclusion is affirmed immediately after with the laughter (line 12) to confirm acceptance.
- Euphemisms: Due to the part commemorative function, he must be respectful of ‘fallen’ soldiers (line 34), so makes use of euphemism to appeal to positive face needs. This, therefore, links to the social purpose of strengthening bonds as he appears respectful.
- Honorific Titles: Due to being in a political setting, he respects the leaders of Australia through the use of honorifics such as “Leader”, “Prime Minister” etc.
- Personal Pronouns: Personal pronouns are so very important in achieving the function & social purpose.
- Commemorative function: Look at the word ‘commemoration’: ‘co’ (together) + (memorisation) = remember together. To achieve a commemorative effect, we must include ‘we’ and ‘our’ otherwise the text becomes very exclusive.
- Social purpose: if Obama is to strengthen social ties with Australia, these personal pronouns also must be used to show collectivity.
- This is one of the harder paragraphs for students to write because it can be so easy to be general. Avoid generalisations such as ‘paragraphing is used to ensure the author’s ideas are interpreted appropriately’.
- Understand that just because this is spoken doesn’t mean it’s characteristically spoken – in fact, it’s most probably planned and features many characteristics of the written mode.
- Look at logical ordering – HOW are the text’s body paragraphs ordered sequentially? The context has a profound effect on how he organises the structure/topic in each paragraph:
- Obama first starts off by showing respects to fellow Parliamentarians such as Abbott and Gillard as well as other members of the House & Senate. Think about why! Also look at his role in society.
- Then Obama further pays respect (appealing to positive face needs) to the indigenous people of Australia.
- Finally, once respect has been laid and positive face needs have been met, only then can he give an anecdotal reference to try and create immediate social distance with his audience. In fact, saying that he lived in Australia ‘for four years” (line 10) can help to quickly decrease the social distance due to Australians perceived view of him as being a local. Perhaps this fosters patriotism.
- You could look at anaphoric references, information flow etc.
Write an analytical commentary on the transcript above using the structure provided as a template.
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