English Language Change Answer

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  • Created by: georgia
  • Created on: 01-06-13 17:34

From the AQA 2004 January paper, question was:

Data sets G, H and I contain excerpts from educational books about science and mathematics from the early nineteeth century. 

(The original exam paper is here http://www.freeexampapers.com/index.php/?location=A+Level%2FEnglish%2FAQA%2FENGLISH+LANGUAGE+B#A Level/English/AQA/ENGLISH LANGUAGE B/2004 Jan)

Texts G/H and I are extracts from educational textbooks from the early nineteenth century which as well as reflecting how science was learnt during this historical period, gives a modern day reader an insight into how the textbook has developed over time. Rather than being simply paragraphs of factual and objective content, the texts are structurally unusual in that they consist of a dialogue between two sources. In text G, this is between a tutor and presumably a student called James discussing electricity.  However, the title page references the phrase 'scientific dialogues intended for instruction and entertainment' as opposed to straightforward scientific truths, likely to be the case of a modern day text books, which are unlikely to be required to 'entertain' an audience. Again referenced on the title page is the intended reader, 'young people' suggesting the nature of the conversational structure is to allow for the stereotypically complex subject matter of 'electricity and galvanism' to be slightly more light-hearted as well as feeling included as they learn along with the student in the text. The discourse is structured in a way in which the title of the speaker signposts when it is them that is speaking, being italicised or separated from the text. The title pages highlight the key terms of what the books will presumably consist of such as their subject matter e.g. 'Chemistry' and intended audience possibly a substitute for images in giving the reader clarity. Both are footed with the fact that they were printed in London, being the capital of the country indicating their possible credibility. Both texts remain relatively formal in register, despite being between two individuals. This is evidenced in the lack of colloquial tone; phrases such as 'inform us' in text H indicate…


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