English & EAL

How To Analyse the Structure of a VCE Language Analysis Article

June 19, 2020

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Often, with Language Analysis (also known as Argument Analysis or Analysing Argument), it can be hard to find unique things to analyse and set yourself apart from your competitors. Techniques like rhetorical questions, inclusive language and the appeal to family values are regurgitated by thousands of students every year come exam season. As you’d imagine, examiners get tired of hearing the same ol’ thing essay after essay. 

So, I challenge you to surprise them! And today’s video will help you do just that. 

The TEE rule is a very popular technique that we describe in our top-rated eBook, How To Write A Killer Language Analysis. And for a good reason, too! It guides your analysis to ensure that you’re talking about techniques, how they affect readers and using evidence to back yourself up. If you’ve never heard of the TEE rule, no worries at all! Check out our HTWAKLA eBook for an in-depth look into how the technique can help you get to that A+ level.

Today’s video is all about analysing the structure of Language Analysis articles so you can WOW examiners and score in that upper level. 

Now, what does this exactly mean and, more importantly, look like?

When it comes to pieces of writing, when we talk about structure, we’re talking about how the information is organised. 

What does the writer talk about first? What do they talk about last? How long are the paragraphs? How many paragraphs are there? While these questions might seem a little pointless to some, they can actually inspire some pretty unique and spot-on analysis in VCE Language Analysis.

OK Lisa, I get it, but how can I do this in my essays? Great question. 

Let’s have a look at some examples of this, courtesy of one of LSG’s amazing tutors, Andrea. She’s written up an incredible blog all about these advanced techniques, and it includes much more than what we have time to talk about today. So, as always, I’ll leave the link to her blog in the description and in the card up above – I highly recommend that after watching this video, you head on over and check it out.

Analysing recurring themes and ideas in VCE Language Analysis

Analysing recurring ideas and themes throughout a piece is a fantastic way to show the examiner that you’ve understood the piece as a whole and that you can step back and notice similarities between smaller sections. 

Let’s take a closer look at Section C of the 2014 VCAA English exam. The author emphasises the theme of Kolumbus-21 and its significance on space travel, which is an example of a recurring idea of theme.

Paragraph 1: ‘Space exploration has been on my mind this week after visiting an exhibition presented by an international group known as Kolombus-21.’ 

Paragraph 9: ‘Kolombus-21 talks a lot about international cooperation. This hasn’t always been a feature of space exploration, but now that we have an international space station supported by 15 nations, the era of collaboration seems to be well established.’

Paragraph 11: ‘Perhaps with big dreamers like Kolumbus-21 behind it, it might even turn out that way.’

We can use an array of vocabulary to describe exactly how ideas and themes recur throughout a piece. For example, if something is mentioned repeatedly throughout a piece, we could call it a cyclical, recurring or circular idea. If an idea is built chronologically, piece by piece, we could call it hierarchical, chronological, sequential or even linear. 

In this example, notice how from the beginning to the end of the piece, the author mentions the connection between Kolombus-21, space exploration and international cooperation several times. Let’s see what we get...

By returning to the original theme of Kolumbus-21 as a key driver of support for space travel, which indicates the cyclical structure of her opinion piece, Yergon links space travel with international cooperation.

It’s also a good idea to reiterate the overall structure of the piece in the conclusion, as it allows you to link the structure with the author’s contention.

Analysing the ordering of the contention, arguments and rebuttals in VCE Language Analysis

Certain elements of the article can have a different effect on the reader depending on where the author places them. When we’re talking about desired effects on readers, we want to assume that the writer has done everything a certain way for a reason, so when the rebuttal is placed first, for example, we can look into this further for possible explanations.

  • When the rebuttal is placed first, it can set up the audience to more readily accept the writer’s following opinions, as opposing viewpoints have already been criticised early on.
  • You can see this in the 2013 VCAA exam, where the author argues against opposing views early on in their article. In it, the author references the opposition directly as they say ‘some people who objected to the proposed garden seem to think that the idea comes from a radical group of environmentalists’, and rebut this point by proposing that ‘there’s nothing extreme about us’.
  • Or, if the rebuttal is placed towards the end of the article, it could serve to cement that the writer’s viewpoint is correct by explaining why opposing viewpoints are wrong. Also, it can give a sense of finality to the piece – assuring the audience that all bases have been covered by the writer.
  •  What if there’s no rebuttal? Well, this could imply that the author’s opinion, and theirs alone, is correct and to be supported.

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