Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

June 14, 2024, 10:40:06 am

Author Topic: VCE English Language Quote Bank  (Read 15766 times)  Share 

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


  • Trendsetter
  • **
  • Posts: 117
  • I'm going back to the start
  • Respect: +108
VCE English Language Quote Bank
« on: September 11, 2021, 02:33:49 pm »
VCE English Language Quote Bank 2021

Hey fellow English Language students! I guess it's that time of year again so I thought I'd share all the linguist quotes I've seen over the last year, as I suspect everybody is looking to expand their collection for the exam. These are sorted by unit and AOS (I know there's so much potential for crossover though, so the categorisation is loose) and the bits of red text following each quote are just summaries I made for convenience. If anybody has come across some spicy quote material, please add to this thread so we can make this (and yourself) a lean mean essay-churning machine :D

Note: most of these quotes aren't contemporary (2021) so they may not work as examples.

Unit 3

AOS1: Informal language
Kate Burridge
  • ‘Slang works much like Masonic mortar to stick members of a group together- and, of course at the same time, to erect barriers between them and the outside.’ Use for social unity/division essays (also in U4 group identities)
  • ‘A non-standard dialect is as valid a communication system as the standard.’ Use to support descriptivism discussions
  • ‘Even how to write it varies — should that be Standard English or standard English? It depends on your point of view.’ Use in descriptivism paragraph/discussion of codification
  • ‘ ‘Bad language’ can have a prestige all of its own, a covert or hidden prestige.’ Overt/covert prestige (register paragraphs), also useful for group identities
  • ‘The obscenity is in the actual words themselves, and not what they refer to.’ Argues taboo relates to language more than semantics

David Crystal
  • ‘Texting has added a new dimension to language use, but its long-term impact is negligible. It’s not a disaster.’ Technology -> speeds up language change
  • ‘Although many texters enjoy breaking linguistic rules, they also know they need to be understood.’ Use for coherence discussion (balance between expression/innovation and information exchange)
  • ‘Language changes and moves in a different direction evolving all the time. Where a lot of people see deterioration, I see expressive development.’ Prescriptivism/descriptivism
  • ‘Language itself changes slowly but the internet has speeded up the roves of those changes so you notice the change more quickly.’ Impact of technology on language change
  • ‘Spellings are made by people. Dictionaries eventually reflect popular choices.’ Descriptivist perspective on codification

Michael Pearce (writer)
  • ‘Social and linguistic prestige are interrelated; the language of powerful social groups usually carries linguistic prestige; and social prestige is often granted to speakers of prestige languages and varieties.’ Validity/social function of different language varieties

George Brandis (Australian Attorney General)
  • ‘People do have a right to be bigots. In a free country people do have rights to say things that other people find offensive or insulting or bigoted.’ Freedom of speech- use for solidarity, social harmony/division

Don Watson
  • ‘Language is butchered by the media’ Prescriptivist perspective on linguistic innovation or anti-manipulation (formal)
AOS2: Formal language
Kate Burridge
  • ‘Jargon enables successful communication on one hand, but erects quite successful communication barriers on the other.’ Use for jargon paragraph
  • 'Taboo and euphemism are closely entwined with the concepts of politeness and face.' Use for face needs, negotiation of taboo (social harmony discussions)
  • 'Correctness, precision, purity, elegance are the qualities of the perceived standard.' Prescriptivism discussions/use for attitudes towards English varieties
  • 'Prescriptive practices have left Standard English regularised and homogenised — a kind of linguistic monolith with a fixed set of strict rules and conventions that now defines ‘best practice’.' Use for prescriptivism > descriptivism/accessibility and communication
  • ‘All euphemisms are dishonest, but many are designed to make life easier.’ Navigating social taboo/avoiding disrupting social harmony
  • ‘Underhand euphemism are used, not so much to conceal offence as to deliberately disguise a topic and deceive.’ Use for arguing potential of formal language to manipulate/obfuscate
  • ‘Euphemisms shield against what's embarrassing, what's feared and what's unwelcome. They are also used to talk up and inflate.’ Range of purposes (euphemism)
  • ‘Even well-intentioned euphemisms involve a kind of double-think.’ Good intentions -> still form of manipulation
  • ‘All taboos serve different human interests by avoiding those things that threaten to cause offence or distress.’ Defines social taboo
  • ‘Most of us know what Standard English is; yet it is one of those linguistic terms that is notoriously difficult to define.’ Linguistic variation is inevitable/standard is impossible to adhere to/define completely
  • ‘Standard languages represent a kind of linguistic ‘best practice’- a set of behaviours that claims to excel all others.’ Overt prestige of standard language (most social settings)
  • ‘English-speaking communities are full of self-appointed guardians of the language, arbiters of linguistic goodness ever on the lookout for language crimes.’ Prescriptivism in society/association of prescriptivism with prestige (overt)
  • ‘As some taboo topics relax, others come to replace them’ Use for discussing changes in social attitudes over time
  • ‘Discriminatory language expresses cultural norms and belief systems which are often so entrenched in language as to appear normal.’ Discrimination -> language used as justification
  • ‘Offensiveness is never an intrinsic quality of the word, but of the way it’s used and its context.’ Maintaining social harmony

David Crystal
  • ‘Language has no independent existence apart from the people who use it. It is not an end in itself; it is a means to an end of understanding who you are and what society is like.' Use for identity discussions
  • 'At any one time language is a kaleidoscope of styles, genres and dialects.' Diversity of language beyond codified standard
  • 'Anyone interested in language ends up writing about the sociological issues around it.' Use for political correctness/social change paragraph

Don Watson
  • ‘Jargon is making it increasingly hard to understand what a public figure is trying to say.’ Potential for manipulation/obfuscation; establishing expertise -> worse communication
  • ‘The language of management is language that cannot describe or convey any human emotion.’ Context/function of texts- must be totally objective (and mostly unambiguous) to effectively inform and manage
  • ‘The managerial class has forced on us a public language that makes no sense.’ Overt prestige/pursuit of standard and elevated language hinders accessibility/ease of communication
  • ‘Words are bullets.’ Ability of language to divide or offend
  • ‘Like a rock, [language] is not a weapon... until someone picks it up and uses it as one.’ The same language can achieve different purposes based on use

Ruby Hamond (journalist)
  • ‘When we use language that transforms people into objects, we begin to believe that they are object, and rationalise the cruelties we inflict.’ Use for Afghan war manipulation paragraph relate to theory of linguistic relativism

Julian Burnside (barrister)
  • ‘Human language has a vocabulary suited to our daily needs and functions. The shape of any human language maps approximately to the needs and activities of our mundane human lives.’ (language serves a plethora of functions and social purposes) Can use for social purpose questions and context questions

Janet Holmes (journalist)
  • ‘Linguistic politeness, then, is one expression of cultural values ... Any particular example of linguistic behaviour might be perceived quite differently by different cultural groups, and even by individual members of a particular group. One person’s enthusiastic supportive feedback may be perceived by another as a confrontational disruption.’ Use for appropriateness/face needs discussion (can also discuss context)
  • ‘Standard English has an enormous legacy of overt prestige. It has been regarded as a symbol of British nationhood.’ Can use to discuss history of Australian language change

Felicity Cox (linguist)
  • 'Language change runs parallel to social change' Use for PC/social harmony paragraph
Unit 4

AOS1: Language variation in Australian society
Kate Burridge
  • ‘ ‘Bloody’ has now become an important indicator of Australianness and of cultural values such as friendliness, informality, laid-backness, mateship - and perhaps even the Australian dislike and distrust of verbal and intellectual graces.’ Use to establish Australian cultural values
  • ‘Slang language has always played a pivotal role in the Australian sense of self.’ Australian informality culture (overt prestige of informality)
  • ‘[In Australia,] the more affectionate the feeling, the more abusive the language.’ Use of informality/insult to reduce social distance and build rapport

Lauren McLeod (linguist)
  • ‘The continual use of 'fuck’ and ‘cunt' in conversations [amongst tradesmen] work as a marker is in-group membership’ Prestige (overt) given to profanity by Australians -> swearing acceptable in work environments
  • ‘[Swear words have a] role of positive politeness strategy in the Australian context’ Use to support role and perception of profanity in Australia

John Howard (former PM)
  • ‘Nothing unites a country more than its common language because from a language comes a history and a culture.’ Social importance of language/contribution to national identity

Kate Holden (author)
  • ‘Swearing together can be a way of asserting a cultural cohesion; and Australians are famous for this.’ Use to introduce Australian swearing and informality culture

Peter Goldsworthy (writer)
  • ‘Perhaps the only qualities we could truly regard as un-Australian might be those regarded as inhumane, and the values that we hold in common are universal human truths.’ Australian values -> fair-go, egalitarianism, compassion

Stan Grant (TV journalist)
  • ‘The ABC should look and sound like us’ Supports egalitarianism, dislike of hierarchy and social power imbalances

Andrew Herrick (writer)
  • ‘With American lingo, we’ve imported toxic US culture’ Borrowing from American English as a threat to Australian identity
  • ‘ ‘Buddy’ doesn’t mean the same thing as ‘mate’, mate.’ Distinction between American/Australian identity

Sidney Baker (philologist)
  • ‘An Australian’s greatest talent is for idiomatic invention’ Linguistic innovation as an important part of Australian identity

Janet Holmes (journalist)
  • 'Men's talk tends to be more referential or informative, while women's talk is more supportive and facilitative' Traditional gender differences in language
AOS2: Individual and group identities
Kate Burridge
  • ‘We wear aspects of accent, vocabulary, grammar like we do emblems on a T-shirt — they define the gang.’ Language -> marker of group identity
  • ‘It is risky for speakers to alter aspects of their linguistic behaviour. For one, it means giving up their allegiances to their social group- turning their back on the values, aspirations and accomplishments of those people they most closely identify with.’ Relationship between language/identity (impacts values, associations, cultural history)
  • ‘Speech communities are extremely complex and language has to cover a huge range of social behaviour.’ Different language according to context
  • ‘Words become shibboleths, or social passwords- the more impractical, the more difficult, the better.’ In-groups define themselves and out-groups
  • ‘To create a standard language or to build a garden is to enter into a partnership with natural processes. Neither languages nor gardens are ever finished products.’ Use to argue language change is inevitable

David Crystal
  • ‘Language has no independent existence apart from the people who use it. It is not an end in itself’; it is a means to an end of understanding who you are and what society is like.’ Language as a tool for expressing identity/culture
  • ‘Teenagers use language as a kind of identity badge.’ Use in teenspeak discussions
  • ‘The chief use of slang is to show you’re one of the gang.’ Use to justify connection between language/identity

David Thorpe (former AFL player)
  • ‘The gay voice is a symbol- of homosexuality, of femininity- and symbols are very powerful.’ Social influence of language (also useful for PC and acceptance in Australia)

David Blair and Peter Collins (co-authors of English in Australia)
  • ‘An ethnolect, like a community language, offers a means of expressing linguistic identity, of demonstrating solidarity with one's ethnic group.’ Establishing cultural identity/social purpose of ethnolects

Hugh Lunn (journalist)
  • ‘If you lose your language, you lose your personality, your character and who you are.’ Language as an important reflection and factor of self

Emily Trekell (linguist)
  • ‘Language can exacerbate unwanted stereotypes.’ Use for social division discussions

Michael Coyne (linguist)
  • ‘Pluricentric languages are both unifiers and dividers of people.’ Can be interpreted as building solidarity using a common identity OR cultural homogenisation

Don Watson
  • ‘I like having my own style; love my work or hate my work, it's my own.’ Stylistic choices establish individual identity (can form idiolect)

Wishing everyone the best of luck with exam prep! Only 47 days left, so remember that freedom is near. You got this!
ATAR: 99.75
UCAT: 95th

2022-2025: B. Radiography and Medical Imaging (Honours) @ Monash