Monday, May 28, 2012

Quick tip: answering a question on language

Types of language to identify and explore in the language question of Unit 1.

The exam board identified ‘vivid language’ and ‘language devices’ as the best types of quote to choose to show success in the language question of your Unit 1 exam. Of course, you also need to explore the effects and connotations of these language choices too.

Vivid language should be anything that is descriptive and paints a picture for you: this means you should identify adjectives, adverbs as well as interesting verbs and nouns. Exploring extended noun phrases will be key to success here (e.g., ‘decrepit old ferry boat’ as opposed to just the noun ‘boat’; the noun is extended by one or more adjectives to create a more vivid and developed image).

Language devices that you might look for could include: alliteration, similes, metaphors, antithesis, short sentences, lengthy sentences, varied sentence lengths, statistics and numbers, direct speech/quotation, exclamations, emotive language, choice of person or tense, direct address or personal pronouns, lists of three, imperative verbs, modal verbs, declarative statements or proper nouns. And there are many more devices that you could identify beyond these too!

Of course, identifying language is only half the job. You also need to make sure that you explore the effect of these language choices with sufficient detail too.