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The Usual Student

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VCE English Language Question Thread
« on: August 02, 2016, 07:37:31 pm »
+2
VCE ENGLISH LANGUAGE Q&A THREAD

To go straight to posts from 2020, click here.

What is this thread for?
If you have general questions about the VCE English Language course or how to improve in certain areas, this is the place to ask!

If you're looking for essay marking and feedback, go to the English Language Marking board.


Who can/will answer questions?
Everyone is welcome to contribute; even if you're unsure of yourself, providing different perspectives is incredibly valuable.

Please don't be dissuaded by the fact that you haven't finished Year 12, or didn't score as highly as others, or your advice contradicts something else you've seen on this thread, or whatever; none of this disqualifies you from helping others. And if you're worried you do have some sort of misconception, put it out there and someone else can clarify and modify your understanding! 

There'll be a whole bunch of other high-scoring students with their own wealths of wisdom to share with you, including TuteSmart tutors! So you may even get multiple answers from different people offering their insights - very cool.


To ask a question or make a post, you will first need an ATAR Notes account. You probably already have one, but if you don't, it takes about four seconds to sign up - and completely free!


OTHER ENGLISH LANGUAGE RESOURCES


Original post.
Hey guys,
In an effort to get people talking more I decided to make a question thread. I don't even know why we don't have one yet considering the difficulty of this subject.

Feel free to post questions regarding metalanguage, grammar and general EL stuff here but if you want us to look at an essay we already have a thread for that English Language essay submission and marking

Have fun! If this thread takes off I will sticky it for future reference

---

NOTE: To post in this thread, you'll first need to register an ATAR Notes account. It's free, and should take like four seconds! Then, just scroll down to the bottom of this thread, and ask your questions in the "Quick Reply" box, as shown below. :)

« Last Edit: February 26, 2020, 03:19:14 pm by PhoenixxFire »

The Usual Student

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Re: English Language Question Thread
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2016, 07:38:38 pm »
0
Just to start off,
Can anyone explain the difference between a dialect and a variety of language? Or are they one in the same?

literally lauren

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Re: English Language Question Thread
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2016, 03:35:43 pm »
+5
Just to start off,
Can anyone explain the difference between a dialect and a variety of language? Or are they one in the same?
I'll give you the definitions I'm familiar with at a tertiary level, though keep in mind that I didn't do Englang and there are some things that this subject modifies for the sake of clarity.

Broadly speaking, varieties of language are mutually intelligible. For example, the variety of language that you use to address your friends in informal settings is something that your grandparents could understand, even if they don't really speak that variety. Likewise, you could listen to AAVE and you'd get the general gist of it.

Dialects on the other hand, are more distinct varieties that (cross-linguistically) may or may not be mutually intelligible.

Unfortunately, English doesn't really have as clear a distinction between dialects and variants, which is why you will probably see the terms used interchangeably in textbooks or analyses. The best way to think about it is like this:



Let's say there are five different language clusters, represented as A-E. Now, each of these communities are fairly shy, and they don't like fraternising outside of their immediate area. As such:
 • A tribe only converses with B tribe
 • B tribe converses with A and C tribes
 • C tribe converses with B and D tribes
 • D tribe converses with C and E tribes
 • E tribe only converses with D tribe

However, once in a blue moon, all the tribes meet up for an inter-valley market or something, and all the tribes get a chance to mingle. BUT
 • A tribe can't understand C, D, or E tribes
 • B tribe can't understand D or E tribes
 • C tribe can't understand A or E tribes
 • D tribe can't understand A or B tribes
 • E tribe can't understand A, B, or C tribes

Suppose you're a linguist tasked with classifying this/these language(s) - what do you do? Are they all speaking different languages? If so, why can C tribe understand D tribe? Or are they dialects of the same language? In that case, why can't A tribe understand E tribe?

This is a problem English doesn't really have to face, as you could gather up a Australian, New Zealander, Scottish, British, and American speaker, and outside of the really outrageous accents, they'd probably be able to understand one another. But in other languages, the differences are such that if you take one speaker (from 'tribe A') and another (from 'tribe E') they'd have no idea what the other person was saying. For example, if you took someone from Sicily in the south of Italy and made them listen to a speaker from Vincenza in the north (and the Vincenzan speaker was talking as they would with their Vincenzan pals rather than in 'Standard Italian') then the Sicilian would have a fairly tough time working out what was going on.

Both 'dialect' and 'variety' are kind of umbrella terms used to capture some highly diverse kinds of language contrasts, though, so the use of those terms is sometimes a bit idiosyncratic... I've had two lecturers within the one subject take completely different stances on what constitutes a 'dialect' as opposed to a 'variety,' so there's not a lot of consensus here, in my experience :P

tldr: varieties are more socially determined language clusters that are used amongst speaking communities; dialects tend to be more historically/geographically/politically determined distinctions. Tbh my impression is that whilst one is often more appropriate (and you'll probably look at varieties more often than dialects, so I'm guessing it's the former), an Englang assessor wouldn't be confused if you were using the other :)

The Usual Student

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Re: English Language Question Thread
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2016, 08:03:28 pm »
+1
I'll give you the definitions I'm familiar with at a tertiary level, though keep in mind that I didn't do Englang and there are some things that this subject modifies for the sake of clarity.

Broadly speaking, varieties of language are mutually intelligible. For example, the variety of language that you use to address your friends in informal settings is something that your grandparents could understand, even if they don't really speak that variety. Likewise, you could listen to AAVE and you'd get the general gist of it.

Dialects on the other hand, are more distinct varieties that (cross-linguistically) may or may not be mutually intelligible.

Unfortunately, English doesn't really have as clear a distinction between dialects and variants, which is why you will probably see the terms used interchangeably in textbooks or analyses. The best way to think about it is like this:

(Image removed from quote.)

Let's say there are five different language clusters, represented as A-E. Now, each of these communities are fairly shy, and they don't like fraternising outside of their immediate area. As such:
 • A tribe only converses with B tribe
 • B tribe converses with A and C tribes
 • C tribe converses with B and D tribes
 • D tribe converses with C and E tribes
 • E tribe only converses with D tribe

However, once in a blue moon, all the tribes meet up for an inter-valley market or something, and all the tribes get a chance to mingle. BUT
 • A tribe can't understand C, D, or E tribes
 • B tribe can't understand D or E tribes
 • C tribe can't understand A or E tribes
 • D tribe can't understand A or B tribes
 • E tribe can't understand A, B, or C tribes

Suppose you're a linguist tasked with classifying this/these language(s) - what do you do? Are they all speaking different languages? If so, why can C tribe understand D tribe? Or are they dialects of the same language? In that case, why can't A tribe understand E tribe?

This is a problem English doesn't really have to face, as you could gather up a Australian, New Zealander, Scottish, British, and American speaker, and outside of the really outrageous accents, they'd probably be able to understand one another. But in other languages, the differences are such that if you take one speaker (from 'tribe A') and another (from 'tribe E') they'd have no idea what the other person was saying. For example, if you took someone from Sicily in the south of Italy and made them listen to a speaker from Vincenza in the north (and the Vincenzan speaker was talking as they would with their Vincenzan pals rather than in 'Standard Italian') then the Sicilian would have a fairly tough time working out what was going on.

Both 'dialect' and 'variety' are kind of umbrella terms used to capture some highly diverse kinds of language contrasts, though, so the use of those terms is sometimes a bit idiosyncratic... I've had two lecturers within the one subject take completely different stances on what constitutes a 'dialect' as opposed to a 'variety,' so there's not a lot of consensus here, in my experience :P

tldr: varieties are more socially determined language clusters that are used amongst speaking communities; dialects tend to be more historically/geographically/politically determined distinctions. Tbh my impression is that whilst one is often more appropriate (and you'll probably look at varieties more often than dialects, so I'm guessing it's the former), an Englang assessor wouldn't be confused if you were using the other :)

WOW, stellar answer Lauren!
Thanks so much!

EDIT: Decided to stick this thread anyway, just so its more convenient for people to use.
COME ON GUYS! I am not the only EL kid out there :P
« Last Edit: August 08, 2016, 04:15:37 pm by The Usual Student »

MB_

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Re: English Language Question Thread
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2016, 09:08:31 pm »
0
Does anyone have any tips for getting better at analysing texts? I've got back into doing ACs but didn't realise how difficult it was to find the best and most relevant key features of a text under time pressure. Also would someone be able to help in identifying key features of this text. This text is from the travel blog 'Happiness and Things' which is authored and maintained by Silke Elzner. Silke is a German born, Sydney resident who is a travel enthusiast and the mother of two. Her travel blogs are about quick getaways for families and couples,

Any help is much appreciated!

Text
Spoiler
Australia’s Gold Digging Past at Sovereign Hill

I love history! There, I said it. I am officially a history nerd. So when my Melburnian friend asked me whether I would like to see Sovereign Hill I naturally jumped at the opportunity. Little did I know how fantastic a place this would be.

Sovereign Hill is an outdoor museum about Australia’s days during the famous gold rush. It’s a replica frontier town complete with main street, shops, an industrial complex, civic buildings, a theatre, a slum, and of course a mine. It’s huge. It’s like a Disneyland for history lovers – the size really surprised me.

But not just the size is exceptional for an outdoor museum like this – it’s the many, many details that are truly astounding. Just take a self-guided tour through the many shops along the main street – all of them open for business – where you can look at the pharmacy’s inventory, or check out what the sweets shop has on offer… the interiors are just lovely up to the very detail, polished wooden surfaces, lots and lots of drawers, handwritten labels, old-fashioned packaging. Shop assistants are, of course, in costume and sometimes in character. And all of them extremely knowledgable about their specific trade and the history of nearby Ballarat.

There’s the sweets shop and the soap shop, the jeweller, the photographer and lots lots more! Expect to spend some money here to purchase some traditional candy or other beautifully packed souvenirs. What I really loved was that the bakery for example would only sell “old-fashioned” soft drinks like ginger beer and not coca-cola.

Then there is the whole industrial complex awaiting you. Again, I was totally surprised by the size of the whole area – you can watch the artisans and craftspeople at work, working metal, making candles, boiling sweets. The most impressive bit is probably the wheelwright, with the hole shed used up by a massive original-looking machine that would noisily do its work of making wheels. Or the lovely girls at the candle works who would show you the painstakingly slow art of candle making.

Residential areas encompass a whole village with workers’ huts (where you can see a meat safe, something I never knew existed), and the picket-fenced white houses of the richer residents, plus a whole Chinese community complete with makeshift tents and a Buddhist temple (where you can light an incense stick, if you like). This is also where the kids can try their luck panning for gold in the little river that flows alongside the camp.

Speaking of gold – this is of course the main reason this part of Australia was populated in the first place. The little town of Ballarat next door is a prime example of the endeavours of the first settlers and pioneers. Sovereign Hill has its very own mine where you can learn everything about the business of gold mining. However, this is an attraction that will set you back some extra dollars, so in the end we decided to take the smaller mining tour which is included in the regular ticket price. It is a bit corny… with voices coming from a tape and the group being guided through a network of underground tunnels that take turns in telling you a story about the dangers and rewards of gold digging, but at the end of the day I am sure the kids in particular will love it.

Museum staff (and I am sure many of them volunteers) are all wearing traditional dresses, and there are many smaller, random acts that you can witness. There’s the hobo lady and the policeman, the theatre director and so many other characters who ensure that these buildings are not just a scene but also a place with lots and lots of stories to tell. Their interactions and conversations happen in the main street rather spontaneously, something that delights not just the children but also the grown-ups.

It is probably not the cheapest attraction in Australia but the scale of the operations and the love for detail justifies the price you will pay. In my view a great experience not just for the kids (besides, very educational, too!) but also for the adults. I certainly had a blast exploring the different areas of Sovereign Hill and chatting to the people who work the stores and the workshops. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring the kids but Sovereign Hill is definitely a museum that I will make sure they will visit before they have grown up. Highly recommended!

Sovereign Hill, Bradshaw Street, Ballarat VIC. http://www.sovereignhill.com.au/
« Last Edit: October 05, 2016, 01:29:13 pm by MB_ »
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The Usual Student

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Re: English Language Question Thread
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2016, 05:10:56 pm »
0
Anyone know if "soccer in soccer oval" is a noun modifier or a adjective? So is it a noun or an adjective

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Re: English Language Question Thread
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2017, 07:49:37 pm »
0
This was a question that came up on my informal language SAC and was worth 1 mark, it asked for what type of phrase is this, (the phrase is highlighted in the attached image), I said it was a prepositional phrase, the teacher was looking for 'adverbial', why am I incorrect? Please help  :)
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cookiedream

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Re: English Language Question Thread
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2017, 09:35:13 pm »
+3
Does anyone have any tips for getting better at analysing texts? I've got back into doing ACs but didn't realise how difficult it was to find the best and most relevant key features of a text under time pressure. Also would someone be able to help in identifying key features of this text. This text is from the travel blog 'Happiness and Things' which is authored and maintained by Silke Elzner. Silke is a German born, Sydney resident who is a travel enthusiast and the mother of two. Her travel blogs are about quick getaways for families and couples,

Any help is much appreciated!

Text
Spoiler
Australia’s Gold Digging Past at Sovereign Hill

I love history! There, I said it. I am officially a history nerd. So when my Melburnian friend asked me whether I would like to see Sovereign Hill I naturally jumped at the opportunity. Little did I know how fantastic a place this would be.

Sovereign Hill is an outdoor museum about Australia’s days during the famous gold rush. It’s a replica frontier town complete with main street, shops, an industrial complex, civic buildings, a theatre, a slum, and of course a mine. It’s huge. It’s like a Disneyland for history lovers – the size really surprised me.

But not just the size is exceptional for an outdoor museum like this – it’s the many, many details that are truly astounding. Just take a self-guided tour through the many shops along the main street – all of them open for business – where you can look at the pharmacy’s inventory, or check out what the sweets shop has on offer… the interiors are just lovely up to the very detail, polished wooden surfaces, lots and lots of drawers, handwritten labels, old-fashioned packaging. Shop assistants are, of course, in costume and sometimes in character. And all of them extremely knowledgable about their specific trade and the history of nearby Ballarat.

There’s the sweets shop and the soap shop, the jeweller, the photographer and lots lots more! Expect to spend some money here to purchase some traditional candy or other beautifully packed souvenirs. What I really loved was that the bakery for example would only sell “old-fashioned” soft drinks like ginger beer and not coca-cola.

Then there is the whole industrial complex awaiting you. Again, I was totally surprised by the size of the whole area – you can watch the artisans and craftspeople at work, working metal, making candles, boiling sweets. The most impressive bit is probably the wheelwright, with the hole shed used up by a massive original-looking machine that would noisily do its work of making wheels. Or the lovely girls at the candle works who would show you the painstakingly slow art of candle making.

Residential areas encompass a whole village with workers’ huts (where you can see a meat safe, something I never knew existed), and the picket-fenced white houses of the richer residents, plus a whole Chinese community complete with makeshift tents and a Buddhist temple (where you can light an incense stick, if you like). This is also where the kids can try their luck panning for gold in the little river that flows alongside the camp.

Speaking of gold – this is of course the main reason this part of Australia was populated in the first place. The little town of Ballarat next door is a prime example of the endeavours of the first settlers and pioneers. Sovereign Hill has its very own mine where you can learn everything about the business of gold mining. However, this is an attraction that will set you back some extra dollars, so in the end we decided to take the smaller mining tour which is included in the regular ticket price. It is a bit corny… with voices coming from a tape and the group being guided through a network of underground tunnels that take turns in telling you a story about the dangers and rewards of gold digging, but at the end of the day I am sure the kids in particular will love it.

Museum staff (and I am sure many of them volunteers) are all wearing traditional dresses, and there are many smaller, random acts that you can witness. There’s the hobo lady and the policeman, the theatre director and so many other characters who ensure that these buildings are not just a scene but also a place with lots and lots of stories to tell. Their interactions and conversations happen in the main street rather spontaneously, something that delights not just the children but also the grown-ups.

It is probably not the cheapest attraction in Australia but the scale of the operations and the love for detail justifies the price you will pay. In my view a great experience not just for the kids (besides, very educational, too!) but also for the adults. I certainly had a blast exploring the different areas of Sovereign Hill and chatting to the people who work the stores and the workshops. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring the kids but Sovereign Hill is definitely a museum that I will make sure they will visit before they have grown up. Highly recommended!

Sovereign Hill, Bradshaw Street, Ballarat VIC. http://www.sovereignhill.com.au/
(EDIT: Just realised that this post and the post after is quite old. But I'll put up my answers anyway for everyone else ^^)
Well, what I do when I'm analysing texts is that I look for any language choices which may support the sociolinguistic variables relevant to the text. I ask myself: "Why does the writer/speaker use this? Why does this exist??" So for this one, I'll list some:
- "it" in "There, I said it" is an example of anaphoric referencing, which supports the cohesion of the text
- Abundance of declaratives is indicative of its informative function to the blog readers
- "But" (para 3) : Starting a sentence with a co-ordinating conjunction contributes to informality
- Contractions like "it's" support informality
- Listing, such as in "working metal, making candles, boiling sweets" allows Silke to expand on the characteristics of the artisans and craftspeople, further supporting the informative function
etc etc

Anyone know if "soccer in soccer oval" is a noun modifier or a adjective? So is it a noun or an adjective

"In soccer oval" is a prepositional phrase specifically, as it describes where soccer is occurring. So technically you could say it's modifying the noun "soccer". An adjective would be something like "amazing" soccer or "grueling" soccer. So "in soccer oval" is not an adjective, it's a phrase.

This was a question that came up on my informal language SAC and was worth 1 mark, it asked for what type of phrase is this, (the phrase is highlighted in the attached image), I said it was a prepositional phrase, the teacher was looking for 'adverbial', why am I incorrect? Please help  :)

Prepositional phrases describe the position of something; where exactly something is occurring (e.g. in the oval, under the table, beside the bed). So in this instance it's more appropriate to describe it as an adverbial. Adverbials cover things like time, place and manner (e.g. after dinner, over the mountain). So because "this time around" describes that now in this version of 'Beauty and the Beast' Belle is a stronger heroine, it's an adverbial.

I suggest that for future questions, go to this thread: Looking toward 2017: ask your English Language questions here
It's more active than this one, at the moment anyway :)
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Ssuper_19

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Re: English Language Question Thread
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2017, 02:31:24 pm »
+1
Hi guys,
I was just wondering if anyone could give a list of essay topics for Unit 1/2 of English Language. I've looked everywhere but I don't really seem to find essay topics for unit 1/2.
Thanks.

QueenSmarty

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Re: English Language Question Thread
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2017, 04:56:47 pm »
+1
Would the phrase "in the wake of" in the sentence "This decision comes in the wake of two years of frustrating experience with this department" be an idiom or a metaphor?

lilhoo

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Re: English Language Question Thread
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2017, 02:38:28 pm »
+1
Hey guys,
In an effort to get people talking more I decided to make a question thread. I don't even know why we don't have one yet considering the difficulty of this subject.

Feel free to post questions regarding metalanguage, grammar and general EL stuff here but if you want us to look at an essay we already have a thread for that English Language essay submission and marking

Have fun! If this thread takes off I will sticky it for future reference

Hi all,
Does anyone have any advice for remembering the IPA in preparation of an outcome (Unit 1, AOS 1) since I'm finding it pretty difficult to transcribe the words as well as remembering the symbols?

Joseph41

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Re: English Language Question Thread
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2017, 10:16:43 am »
0
Hi guys,
I was just wondering if anyone could give a list of essay topics for Unit 1/2 of English Language. I've looked everywhere but I don't really seem to find essay topics for unit 1/2.
Thanks.

Hey Ssuper_19! ;D

Great question - 1/2 subjects are often under-resourced. Unfortunately, EngLang 1/2 for me was six years ago, and my little ol' noggin' is struggling to remember the key concepts covered haha. But if you list the topics you've covered thus far, I can create you some essay topics. :) I'm not aware of any collection of 1/2 essay topics at this stage.

Would the phrase "in the wake of" in the sentence "This decision comes in the wake of two years of frustrating experience with this department" be an idiom or a metaphor?

I'd be arguing idiom, but I'm honestly not 100% sure on this one.

Hi all,
Does anyone have any advice for remembering the IPA in preparation of an outcome (Unit 1, AOS 1) since I'm finding it pretty difficult to transcribe the words as well as remembering the symbols?

The IPA is hard - I feel you. My best advice is simply to play around with an interactive IPA. :) Click the symbol, and it plays the relevant sound.

Most symbols you'll be familiar with already, and there are realistically not that many more you'll need to know (as English has finite sounds). :)

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Re: English Language Question Thread
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2017, 01:08:46 pm »
0
Hey guys,
In an effort to get people talking more I decided to make a question thread. I don't even know why we don't have one yet considering the difficulty of this subject.
Does anyone have any practice outcomes for Unit 1: AOS 1 (Subsystems and nature and functions of language)? Outcome-style questions would also be appreciated as I have no experience in tackling such questions. Thank you so much,

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Re: English Language Question Thread
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2017, 01:21:14 pm »
+1
Hi guys,
My teacher is focusing alot on cohesion and coherence, and we have to write a 300-450 word commentary on just cohesion. I was wondering if someone is able to show me an example of a paragraph or a couple of sentences which analyse cohesion to give me an idea of how and what I should be writing please?
Thanks in advance!

Joseph41

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Re: English Language Question Thread
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2017, 01:27:08 pm »
0
Hi guys,
My teacher is focusing alot on cohesion and coherence, and we have to write a 300-450 word commentary on just cohesion. I was wondering if someone is able to show me an example of a paragraph or a couple of sentences which analyse cohesion to give me an idea of how and what I should be writing please?
Thanks in advance!

Hey, lillianmaher! Welcome to the forums. ;D

Is this on a particular text? :)

Oxford comma, Garamond, Avett Brothers, Orla Gartland enthusiast.