Quick Tips to Ace Language Analysis

Isabelle Gao

July 1, 2015

English & EAL

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Whether Language Analysis is your favourite section of the English course or you just wish you could read an article without analysing the effect of a generalisation, here are some quick and simply tips to ensure you can maximise your marks in Section C!

Improve your METALANGUAGE

What is Metalanguage? – Words that describe language!

For example:

  • The words infer
  • The words insinuate
  • The words suggest

Create a word bank full of different words you can interchange throughout your analysis to eliminate any repetition!

Do not reiterate what the writer is saying

Remember you are analysing the language the writer uses, not arguing the contention of the writer!

Therefore avoid words such as: states, highlights, uses, utilises, shows etc.

What not to do: The writer states that creating a community garden will make people “healthier and happier”

What to do: The words “healthier and happier” suggest that creating a community garden will improve the lifestyles of citizens.

Analyse the language not the technique

By now we are probably aware that puns are “often humorous” and “gain the reader’s attention”. However instead of using these generalised textbook effects, analyse the words WITHIN the pun and see how these words may affect readers.

What not to do: The pun “A new cycle” in the headline is humorous and therefore captures the attention of the reader.

What to do: The pun “A new cycle” draws a direct link between cycling and advancement in society urging readers to view cycling in a positive light.

Always ask yourself: why?

Why is the writer using particular language? Why may the reader react with concern?

Make sure the answers to these questions are in your analysis!

What not to do: Consequently readers may feel concerned.

What to do: Readers may feel concerned due to the increase in fast food consumption.

Don’t forget the visual

As silly as it may sound, it is quite easy to forget to analyse the visual when you’re under pressure. The visual can either complement the article or oppose the views of the writer.

Mention what the visual:

  1. Symbolises
  2. Suggests
  3. And how readers may react to the visual

Keep your introduction and conclusions as brief as possible

Most of your marks will come from your analysis so there is no need to spend copious amounts of time perfecting your introductions and conclusions. Keep them short and concise!

Pick and choose what to analyse

It is simply impossible to analyse every single technique the writer uses in their article. Therefore pick the words/phrases that you find most persuasive. You will not be marked down for what you do not analyse!

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