AS: AQA English Language B

English Language B revision cards

  • Created by: Chloe
  • Created on: 08-04-12 14:47

Groupings: What to look for initially

  • Planned or Unplanned?
  • Formal or Informal?
  • Lexis and Content?
  • Ideolect, Sociolect, Dialect
  • Graphology
  • GAP (Genre, Audience, Purpose)
  • Pragmatics
  • Grammar
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Speech and Writing

Does the text belong to the Spoken or Written mode?

Writing is:................................................Speech:

  • Objective (Intended) .......................Interpersonal (relations between people)
  • A monologue (single speaker).........A dialogue (between 2+ people)
  • Durable...........................................Ephemeral (lasting a short time)
  • Planned..........................................Spontaneous
  • Highly Structured............................Loosely Structured
  • Grammatically Complex..................Grammatically Simple
  • Concerned with past and future.....Concerned with the Present
  • Formal............................................Informal
  • Decontextualised............................Contextualised

-  Speech-Writing Continuum


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Key Terms

Mode: the medium of communication e.g. speech or writing

Sub-mode: a subdivision of mode e.g. poetry, drama & conversation

Prototype: a 'best fit' example of a particular catagory e.g. text C is a prototypical piece of writing.

Genre: the catagory or type of a text e.g. comedy, tragedy and horror. Sonnet, short story, play, email, text message.

Actual Reader: Any reader who engages in the text.

Implied Reader: the kind of reader a text producer has in mind when writing.

Context: temporal and spatial situations in which a text is produced or recieved.

Context of Reception: situations in which a text might be read and how this might affect interpretation.

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GAP and Individuals & Groups


  • Genre (what)
  • Audience (who)
  • Purpose (why) - multi-purpose (more than one), dual purpose (two), primary (main reason for text) and secondary purpose (more subtle reason).

Individuals and Groups

  • Idiolect - an individuals style of speaking or 'linguistic fingerprint'.
  • Sociolect - a defined use of language as a result of membership of a social group.
  • Discourse Community - a group with shared values and approaches to reading. The language is used in distinctive ways.
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Formality & Register and Dialect

Formality and Register

  • Register - a variety of language appropriate to a particular purpose and context. Informal/formal register connected to context and purpose. - a link to authority & power?
  • Dependent on the field, the tenor, and the medium.
  • Field - the general purpose of an act of communication
  • Tenor - the relationship between the producer and reciever
  • Medium - e.g. written or spoken. Same as mode.


  • Dialect - the language variety of a geographical region or social background, revealed by a variation in lexical & grammatical terms.
  • Accent - the way words are pronounced according to geographical region.
  • Standard English - Dialect of English that carries a degree of prestige. Formal and universal. Stereotyping people who don't use SE.
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Specialist Registers and Colloquial Language & Sla

Specialist Registers

  • A set of lexical terms and grammatical constructions particular to an institution or occupational group. Could exclude those who are not members of the same discourse community.

Colloquial Language and Slang

  • Colloquialism - an established set of informal terms used in everyday language.
  • Slang - colloquial language this is inventive and particular to individuals or groups.
  • Jargon - Specialist terminology that may exclude others.
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Language Methods: Lexis/Semantics, Nouns & Verbs


  • What types of words does it use?
  • What are the relationships between them?
  • Lexis - the method that deals with the vocabulary system of a language.
  • Semantics - the method that deals with meaning and how that is generated within texts.
  • Textual Cohesion - the term used to describe how a text is logically structured to create a coherent sense of meaning.
  • Abstract nouns - States, feelings and concepts that have no physical existance e.g. pain, happiness.
  • Adjective - Add detail to nouns.
  • Verb - Shows actions, evens or states of being, feeling or thinking.
  • Adverb - Adds detail to verbs or other adverbs
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Lexical Cohesion and words that create cohesion

Lexical cohesion

  • Lexical choices can help create cohesion within a text. They could provide structure within the body of the text or across small stretches such as phrases and sentences.

Words that create cohesion:

  • Addition - and, also, too, in addition, furthermore
  • Consequence - so, therefore, thus, as a result, consequently
  • Comparative - similarly, likewise, just as, as well, also, but, however, whereas, on the other hand, and yet, on the contrary
  • Temporal - Later, next, now, soon, afterwards
  • Enumeration - firstly, then, finally
  • Summative - In conclusion, on the whole, with all things considered
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Cohesion through 4 types of referencing. Euphemism

Cohesion can be made also through referencing:

  • Anaphoric Referencing - referencing back to an already stated lexical item
  • Cataphoric Referencing - referencing forward to an as yet undisclosed lexical item.
  • Substitution - the replacing of one set of lexical items for another
  • Ellipsis - the mission out of a word or words in a sentence.
  • Euphemism - a socially acceptable word or phrase used to avoid talking about something distasteful. e.g. "spend a penny" or "powder my nose" - going to the loo.
  • Dysphemism - a harsh 'to-the-point' term sometimes used for a dark humorous effect.
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  • Antonyms - true opposites e.g man & woman, alive & dead, narrow & wide.
  • Conceptual Metaphor - the way in which abstract terms are mapped on to physical entities through an underlying conceptual structure.


  • Morphology - formation of words from smaller units called morphemes.
  • Syntax - how lexical items are sequenced into larger units of language.
  • Main verb - The verb that details the main process in a verb phrase.
  • Auxiliary verb - a verb that supports or helps another; shows tense or modality.
  • Clause Patterns - patterns produced by writers using certain types of cause for impact and effect
  • Simple Sentence - a sentence consisting of a single main clause.
  • Compound Sentence - 2 or more main clases connected by coorinating conjunctions. e.g. and, but and or
  • Complex Sentences - a main clause with 1 or more subordinate clauses
  • Compound-Complex Sentences - 2 main clauses & at least 1 subordinate
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Verbs and Sentence types.

  • Intransitive Verb - A verb process such as 'yawn' or 'slept' that has no object.
  • Transitive Verb - Monotransitive (verb that only requires one object), ditransitive (requires 2 objects to form a double-object construction)
  • Declarative -Telling feature - subject + verb.
  • Interrogative - Asking feature - Verb + Subject
  • Imperative - Inviting, demanding - Verb + Compliment (gives information about a subject)
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Phonetics and Phonology - Onomatopoeia, Alliterati

  • Lexical Onomatopoeia - Actual lexical items that rely on a similarity between sound and meaning. e.g. crash & bang.
  • Non-lexical Onomatopoeia - non-words that work in the same way as lexical onomatopoeia. e.g. vroom & grrr
  • Alliteration - A sequence of words beginning with the same sound.
  • Assonance - Repetition of a vowel sounds for effect
  • Consonance - Repetition of consonant sounds for effect
  • Phonological Manipulation - the ways in which text producers play with sounds and their effects. Could be used for humour e.g. What did the grape say when the elephant stepped on it? - Nothing, it just gave out a little wine.
  • Homophones - word that sounds like the same as another word or words. e.g. whine and wine. Could be used in humour.
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Pragmatics - Cooperative Principle & Deixis

  • The implications of the text
  • Cooperative Principle - work of Paul Grice - suggests that all communication is essentially a cooperative act. Maxims:

1. Quantity: use an appropriate amount of detail

2. Quality: speak the truth and do not knowingly mislead.

3. Relevance: keep what is being discussed relevant to the topic.

4. Manner: avoid vagueness and ambiguity.

  • Deixis - lexical items that point towards a person, place or time in immediate context. personal deixis (I, me, you), spatial deixis (here, there, left, right), temporal deixis (now, then, today, tomorrow).
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  • Typography: font type, size, colour, emboldening, italicising,underlining and any other modifications to font types. 
  • Cultural Model: An organisational structure based on shared and agreed criteria by groups of people within a society.
  • Shape of the text - reader uses knowledge to help identify the purpose and meaning of a text.
  • Images - Iconic or symbolic. Add a meaning?
  • Iconic Signs - Direct picture of the thing it represents. Provides a basic reference for the reader. Tend to be simple and straightforward.
  • Symbolic Signs - Draw on association or connotation. Usually defined by cultural convention, based on existing cultural models. Provide meaning because society has placed certain values or qualities on them.
  • Photographs and artwork - Provide associative meaning and work in the same way as logos to produce meanings for a reader.
  • Space - amount of detailing. Cluttered?
  • Empty Spaces - as meaningful as filled ones. An attention-seeking device.
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Discourse (written texts)

  • Discourse Structure - the way in which texts are put together

1. List/instructions: Recipes, instructions, guides. Use Imperatives.

2. Problem-solution: Product advertisements. Identifies a problem.

3. Analysis: Academic articles, newspaper editorials. Explores, evaluates.

4. Narrative: Novels, witness, accounts. Series of events. Could be chronological or non-chronological.

  • How does the text present information in order to create an identity for particular individuals or institutions, and the ideologies that are within.
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Discourse (Spoken) - Narrative Categories

  • Narrative Categories: 6 key categories developed by Labov which appear in a narrative - generally in a set order.

1. Abstract (A) - Indication that a narrative is about to start & speaker wants listeners attention.

2. Orientation (O) - the 'who', 'where', 'what' and 'why' of the narrative. Sets the scene and provides & provides further contextual information for the listener.

3. Complicating Action (CA) - main body providing a range of narrative detail.

4. Resolution (R) - the final event, the 'rounding off'.

5. Evaluation (E) - additions to the basic story, highlights attitudes or command the listener's attention at important moments. May occur at any point.

6. Coda (C) - A sign that the narrative is complete.


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Discourse - Evaluations and Definitions

  • External Evaluations - an evaluative comment outside the narrative sequence.
  • Internal Evaluations - an evaluative comment occurring at the same time as events in the narrative sequence.
  • Intensifying Evaluations - adding detail or vividness.
  • Explicative Evaluations - explaining reasons for narrative events.
  • Conversational Analysis - the analysis of the structure and features of conversation. Can look at multi-speaker discourse.
  • Adjacency pair - two utterances by different speakers which have a natural and logical link, and complete an idea together; a simple structure of two turns.
  • Exchange Structure - a series of turns between speakers.
  • Turn-taking - the sharing of speaking roles, usually cooperatively.
  • Initiation-response-feedback (IRF) - triadic structure in speech that allows the first speaker to feed back on the response of a second speaker.
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  • Transition relevance point - a point at which it is natural for another speaker to take turn.
  • Topic Management - the control of the conversation in terms of speaking and topic.
  • Powerful participants - those who hold some degree of status in a conversation and could control direction & potential of speakers to contribute.
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Discourse Features

  • Back-channelling - non-verbal utterences to show attention or agreement. e.g. Mmm, yeah, ok.
  • Discourse Marker - Signal a shift in conversation & topic areas. Can also announce a counter-argument. e.g. Ok, right then, so, but
  • Fillers - Non-verbal sounds that act as pauses in speech. May signal speaker uncertainty. Either natural or to give a speaker thinking time. e.g. Er, um.
  • Hedging - Used to avoid directness or to minimise a potentially face-threatening act. Commonly undertaken using a range of epistemic modal forms. e.g. kind of, sort of, maybe, perhaps, possibly, will, could, might.
  • False Starts/repairs - Speaker begins & stops. Returns to correct a stated phrase or sentence e.g.
  • Skip Connectors - Return to a previous topic of conversation - type of discourse marker. e.g. anyway, coming back to what you were saying.
  • Fixed Expressions - Conventional or routine expression. e.g. as a matter of fact, basically, at the end of the day.
  • Vague Expressions - Similar to hedging, deliberately non-committal. e.g. anything, something, thing.
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Discourse Features Continued.

  • Ellipsis - omission of words (missing out) for economical purposes. E.g. "Tonight, 8pm" (I'll meet
  • Tag Questions - Auxiliary verb. a negating particle and a pronoun. Speaker support, uncertainty or request for clarification. e.g. Didn't you? Wasn't it? Haven't I?
  • Deixis - Pointing words in a perceptual, temporal or spatial dimension. e.g. I, you, me, they. Now, yesterday, today. Here, there, this, that, these, those.
  • Non-fluency features - Non-verbal occurrences. e.g. pauses, hesitations & repetitions that occur in spontaneous speech.
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