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A quick guide to language and argument analysis
« on: January 12, 2021, 10:46:00 am »
A quick guide to language and argument analysis:
(keep in mind I’m not the best English student, just saying what works for me)
Many of you won't do language analysis until later in Unit 3 but I hope this guide comes helpful once you get up to language analysis!
Preparing for language analysis:
Firstly, it is important to understand that the task is ‘argument and persuasive language analysis’ this is important since in your essay you will have to also refer to the argument (which I will go into later). Throughout language analysis, you must ask yourself
1. How is the language used persuasive?
2. Why was this language choice chosen, what is the intended effect?
3. What is the overall purpose with this choice of language

A big misconception about language analysis is that ‘you can’t study for it’ but there are actually a few things you can do. Although you don’t have to remember quotes like you do for a text response, it is good to memorise (or be familiar with) some sentence starters (which can be found in the link at the end).
Memorising these phrases and employing them in your essay, will help improve your fluency and more importantly help you to adequately analyse the intended effect of the language used.
The first type of phrase is ‘discussing the progression of argument’ these phrases need to be used when moving from talking about one technique to the next. The point of these phrases is to illustrate the effect of the progression of argument (and honestly it is really easy to do it). Once you move on to a next technique instead of saying ‘Next, the author uses rhetorical question’ replace it with ‘The author advances their argument that…” these changes are characteristic of high-quality responses.
Now, to really step up your game instead of general phrases like ‘extends their argument’ if the first technique you discussed was an appeal to logos (e.g. statistics) and the next one is emotional appeals you can say ‘[Author] shifts from a logical argument to an emotional plea… (and then introduce the emotional appeal)’ these phrases are what is needed to score good marks.
The second type of phrase is ‘discussing the effect on audience’ again there is a list in the link below, you just need to pick out a few to memorise, the reason why these phrases are good is they properly set you up to a statement on the intended effect which in the end is what will get you marks.
My personal favourite is if they said some negative stuff you can be like ‘such language casts the burden of… in an intensely negative light’ I usually get ticks when I write like that since it forces me to write why the author used negative language. Whenever you talk about an image a phrase you could use is ‘Indeed, this notion is corroborated by…’.
So now that we got that out the way here is how you would formulate a response
The author opens with a [technique]… quote… explanation of what the quote means ->
How is the technique persuasive ->
Why is the technique persuasive ->
What does the author intend to make the audience feel ->
Connection the language used to and its intended effect (1st persuasive technique done)
Progression of argument phrase -> technique -> quote (repeat process)
Again this formula may not work for you, but its what I do. But you might ask how am I supposed to remember these phrases. WELL YOU GOTTA PRACTISE.
2. Writing practise essays (reading/annotating)
General rule of thumb: 3 techniques per paragraph, 9 altogether
When you are reading the article instead of trying to find techniques actually try to find what you find persuasive (remember you don’t have to always identify a technique you could just be like ‘this language choice’ or ‘such words’) this is what I do and I guess I find it easier to analyse this way.
So you should highlight 9 techniques keep in mind (1 may be the image, and sometime 1 might be the title) so you only have to find 7 techniques, and if there is a comment that means you only need to find 4 techniques in the main essay (NOT A LOT- it is about choosing the right ones to talk about).
Personally, I usually write an analysis in order of the techniques found, since its easier to talk about the argument. So first find the two/ three arguments (they need to be different arguments so they can be in different paragraphs) and then find the techniques. Once you highlighted and annotated you can start writing the essay.
3.  Writing practise essays (writing time)
Your intro should be very familiar to you, use the same format you usually use.
In your body paragraphs try to figure out a formula you can use to analyse, like the one I showed above. Always be clear and WRITE WITH CONFIDENCE. All of my top essays have been commented by my teacher as “a confident analysis” so if you are unsure about something, either fake it till you make it, or try a different technique, if you’re not confident with your response, the examiner won’t be either.
To improve expression I would recommend reading this:
https://atarnotes.com/forum/index.php?topic=162777.0 (credit heids- an AN wonder!)
Finally, don’t stress write a few practise essays open book so you can experiment with the phrases, and then write a few closed book, don’t stress about writing the phrases word for word, but try to employ them and always end your discussion of a technique with
‘positions the audience to’
‘manipulates the audience to believe’
‘manoeuvres the audience to believe’
‘as such, the audience is more inclined to support the author since…’
And yeh that’s all I guess.
All the best,
VCE '17-'18
2017: Biology, Psychology
2018: English, HHD, Chemistry, Methods
2019-22: Bachelor of Biomedicine (Honours) @ UoM
My guides:
A quick guide to language and argument analysis
HHD sample questions
HHD 2019 Comprehensive examiner report analysis