Wyong High School Standard English hsc course

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This glossary includes words and expressions that are used with particular reference in the syllabus. Key terms are also discussed in Section 5.
aesthetic Having an appreciation of beauty.
affective Relating to a thoughtful consideration and evaluation of emotions and values associated with an idea or set of ideas.
appropriated text A text which has been taken from one context and translated into another. The process of translation allows new insights into the original text and emphasises contextual differences between the two.
assess To establish the value of a particular idea or text.
collaborative An interactive approach to teamwork that enables students to

learning combine their individual skills and resources to generate creative solutions to mutually defined problems.
composing The activity that occurs when students produce written, spoken, or visual texts. Composing typically:

  • involves the shaping and arrangement of textual elements to explore and express ideas and values

  • involves the processes of imagining, drafting, appraising, reflecting and refining

  • depends on knowledge and understanding and use of texts, their language forms, features and structures.

concept A concept is an abstract idea derived or inferred from specific instances or occurrences. In the context of an Area of Study, ‘concept’ typically operates in and through language and text which enables ideas and experiences to be organised and at the same time shapes meaning and inferences.

context The range of personal, social, historical, cultural and workplace conditions in which a text is responded to and composed.
conventions Accepted practices or features which help define textual forms and meaning.
creative thinking The ability to think laterally and imaginatively looking at all sides of an issue and devising interesting and imaginative solutions.

critical thinking The ability to think using hypothesis and deduction as a way to question, interpret and draw conclusions.
culture The social practices of a particular people or group, including shared beliefs, values, knowledge, customs and lifestyle.
elective A unit of work, a text or group of texts, designed to deliver aspects of course content chosen by teachers and students from a list prescribed by the Board of Studies in accordance with syllabus requirements.
electronic media Media technology, such as television, the internet, radio, teletext and email, that communicates with large numbers of people.
evaluate To estimate the worth of a text in a range of contexts and to justify that estimation and its process.
explore To examine closely and experiment with texts.
flexible thinking The ability to change or adapt information and ideas to present a different perspective or create something new.

genre A category of text that can be recognised by specific aspects of its subject matter, form and language.

imaginative The ability to think divergently, to generate original ideas by

thinking drawing on emotional and cognitive experiences.

interpretation Explanation of meaning within the context of one’s own understanding.

language forms The symbolic patterns and conventions that shape meaning in

and features texts. These vary according to the particular mode or medium of production of each text.

language modes Listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing and representing. These modes are often integrated and interdependent activities used in responding to and composing texts. It is important to realise that:

any combination of the modes may be involved in responding to or composing print, sound, visual or multimedia texts; and

the refinement of the skills of any one of the modes develops skills in the others. Students need to build on their skills in all language modes.

literacy A synthesis of language, thinking and contextual practices through which meaning is shaped. ‘Effective literacy is intrinsically purposeful, flexible and dynamic’ (Dawkins, J, Australia’s Language: The Australian Literacy and Language Policy, AGPS, 1991) and involves interactions in a range of modes and through a variety of media.

meaning The dynamic relationship between text and responder involving information (explicit and implicit), the affective and the contextual.
meaning in and This expression implies that meaning variously

through texts • resides in texts

• is a dynamic process through which responders engage with

texts, and

• involves the incorporation of understanding gained through texts

into a wider context.
medium The physical form in which the text exists or through which the text is conveyed.
module A component of a course in the syllabus. The modules in the HSC courses contain prescribed electives and texts.
paradigm Organising principles and underlying beliefs that form the basis of a set of shared concepts.
perspective A way of regarding situations, facts and texts and evaluating their relative significance.
popular culture Cultural experiences widely enjoyed by members of various groups within the community.
recreating texts Transforming texts to explore how changes in particular elements of a text affect meaning.
reflection The thought process by which students develop an understanding and appreciation of their own learning. This process draws on both cognitive and affective experience.
register The use of language in a text appropriate for its purpose, audience and context. A register suited to one kind of text may be inappropriate in another.
representation The ways ideas are portrayed through texts.
representing The language mode that involves composing images by means of visual or other texts. These images and their meaning are composed using codes and conventions. The term can include such activities as graphically presenting the structure of a novel, making a film, composing a web page, or enacting a dramatic text.
responding The activity that occurs when students read, listen to or view texts. It encompasses the personal and intellectual connections a student makes with texts. It also recognises that students and the texts to which they respond exist in social and cultural contexts. ‘Responding’ typically involves:
• reading, listening and viewing that depend on, but go beyond, the
decoding of texts

• identifying, comprehending, selecting, articulating, imagining,

critically analysing and evaluating.
structures of The relationships of the different parts of a text to each other

texts and to the text as a complex whole.
synthesis The collecting and connecting of many specific elements or ideas from various sources to form something new.
systems of Principles and processes which combine to allow people to

valuation ascribe value to texts.
technology The knowledge, tools and processes used to create the medium in which the text exists or through which the text is conveyed.
texts Communications of meaning produced in any medium that incorporates language, including sound, print, film, electronic and multimedia representations. Texts include written, spoken, nonverbal or visual communication of meaning. They may be extended unified works or series of related pieces.
textual integrity The unity of a text; its coherent use of form and language to produce an integrated whole in terms of meaning and value.
value (verb) To estimate or assign worth to a text; to consider something to have worth.
value (noun) A quality desirable as a means or an end in itself.
Key Terms

Account: Account for: state reasons for, report on. Give an account of: narrate a series of events or transactions

Analyse: Identify components and the relationship between them; draw out and relate implications

Apply: Use, utilise, employ in a particular situation

Appreciate: Make a judgement about the value of

Assess: Make a judgement of value, quality, outcomes, results or size

Calculate: Ascertain/determine from given facts, figures or information

Clarify: Make clear or plain

Classify: Arrange or include in classes/categories

Compare: Show how things are similar or different

Construct: Make; build; put together items or arguments

Contrast: Show how things are different or opposite

Critically (analyse/evaluate): Add a degree or level of accuracy depth, knowledge and understanding, logic, questioning, reflection and quality to (analyse/evaluate)

Deduce: Draw conclusions

Define: State meaning and identify essential qualities

Demonstrate: Show by example

Describe: Provide characteristics and features

Discuss: Identify issues and provide points for and/or against

Distinguish: Recognise or note/indicate as being distinct or different from; to note differences between

Evaluate: Make a judgement based on criteria; determine the value of

Examine: Inquire into

Explain: Relate cause and effect; make the relationships between things evident; provide why and/or how

Extract: Choose relevant and/or appropriate details

Extrapolate: Infer from what is known

Identify: Recognise and name

Interpret: Draw meaning from

Investigate: Plan, inquire into and draw conclusions about

Justify: Support an argument or conclusion

Outline: Sketch in general terms; indicate the main features of

Predict: Suggest what may happen based on available information

Propose: Put forward (for example a point of view, idea, argument, suggestion) for consideration or action

Recall: Present remembered ideas, facts or experiences

Recommend: Provide reasons in favour

Recount: Retell a series of events

Summarise: Express, concisely, the relevant details

Synthesise: Putting together various elements to make a whole

These are used by composers of texts; playwrights, poets, authors, advertisers, script writers and YOU in your everyday speech and in your writing… basically language techniques are used by anyone who writes or creates a text.

But first of all…

What is a text?

A text is a piece of writing and/or visual material. It can be a:

  • Novel

  • short story

  • poem

  • play

  • advertisement script (for television, radio etc)

  • visual advertisement (on a bus, in a magazine, a poster, a leaflet)

  • play script

  • comic strip

  • cartoon

  • magazine

  • newspaper

  • film

  • television series

  • photograph

  • painting

  • artwork

And there’s more…

Language techniques are used for several reasons. You will often be asked in essays and exams, to discuss the effect of techniques. Listed below are some of those reasons or effects- these are the meanings that are created through the use of techniques.

  • To engage the responder of a text

  • So the responder can better understand what is trying to be communicated by the composer of the text- to gain insight, heighten understanding etc

  • To evoke emotions such as humour, suspense, fear, sadness, happiness etc

  • To better communicate the themes of a text

  • To create tone and atmosphere

  • To persuade or convince a reader of a certain point of view or message

  • So the responder can more personally relate to the text

  • So we remember the text

You need to be able to identify in any given text:

  • WHEN a technique has been used

  • WHAT the name of the technique is

  • WHERE the technique has been used (quote it)

  • WHY it has been used (what meaning has been created because this technique has been used)

This last dot point is where a lot of students become confused. If you get stuck on this point, have a look back up at the dot points that list some of the reasons why we use techniques and you will find some answers…

  1. Alliteration

The repetition of a consonant (letter other than a vowel) sound in words that are closely placed together.

Example: She sells sea sells by the sea shore.

Here, the consonant “S” has been repeated several times.

Alliteration will not always be so obvious. If you’re unsure, read the sentence aloud and see if a consonant sound is being repeated.

  1. Anthropomorphism

When animals are given human characteristics. Similar to personification only instead of non-living objects being given human characteristics, ANIMALS or GODS are given human characteristics.

Example: The dog grinned when he was given a bone.

Example: In Euripides’ Medea, Medea has both Goddess and human qualities

  1. Assonance

Very similar to Alliteration only it is the repetition of a vowel sound (a, e, I, o, u) in words that are closely placed together.

Example: The sound of the hound in the pound upset me.

Here the vowel sound “ound” has been repeated. Remember with both assonance and alliteration the words do not have to be one after the other

  1. Black comedy

Black comedy is used in a humorous text, with a cynical view of the world. The use of black comedy will often highlight the injustices faced by society because of attitudes, behaviours and institutional or social structures. We often laugh even though we know we shouldn’t and we feel slightly guilty or naughty for it.

For example in the television series Breaking Bad, light hearted, happy music will play while Jessie is completing an extremely immoral task (like murdering someone) and we laugh, even though we know it’s not funny at all. We are laughing at the morbid situation and the fact that society is not functioning the way it is supposed to.

  1. Cliché

A phrase, expression or concept that was once vivid and exciting, but which has been used so often that it lacks real meaning. They are boring and predictable try not to use these in your writing! Just know how to identify it in other peoples writing.

Examples: “It was love at first sight”

“Believe it or not…”

“At the end of the day…”

  1. Contrast

This is used to draw attention to how things are different or opposite. When 2 images or concepts are placed in close proximity to each other we realise how different they really are.

Example: The yin yang symbol. The black looks even darker because it’s placed beside the white which looks even brighter next to the black.

Remember though that contrast does not just refer to colours. Ideas, characters and situations can also be contrasted.

Example: In the new Alice in Wonderland (with Johnny Depp) the Queen of Hearts is contrasted with the White Queen. We compare them because they are sisters yet so different in nature and appearance. This contrast makes The Queen of Hearts look even more evil and The White Queen even more good and pure.

John Foulcher uses visual imagery to contrast the images of love and celebration against that of war and violent death in his poem “Pictures from the War”. This contrast of the positive and negative effects of war makes us realise what the world has lost in an attempt to achieve peace.

  1. Direct speech

This is used to indicate when a particular person is speaking. It should be surrounded by quotation marks.

Example: In the Death Cab for Cutie lyrics from the song “Follow you into the Dark”

In Catholic school as vicious as Roman rule
I got my knuckles bruised by a lady in black
And I held my tongue as she told me
"Son fear is the heart of love"
So I never went back

Here, we realise the persona is quoting the Nun from his Catholic School because of the use of direct speech. This allows us to feel as though we are there being spoken to directly. It is more clear than someone’s interpretation of what was said.

  1. Descriptive/Emotive language

Language specifically used to evoke an emotional response. It can be used to gain positive reactions

Example: ethereal, gorgeous, dainty

Or it can be used to gain negative reactions

Example: charred, vain, foul

  1. Humour

Funny or amusing aspects, making us laugh or smile. The use of humour enables a composer of a text to attract and keep our attention.

Example: In the 2004 film Mean Girls when a student says to Janice “Nice wig Janice, what’s it made of?” she replies “YOUR MOTHERS CHEST HAIR!”

  1. Hyperbole

Verbal or written exaggeration. Your parents use hyperbole all the time…

Example: “I’ve asked you a million times today to clean your bedroom! It looks like a pigsty!”

  1. Imagery

The picture or image created in our minds by a writer’s choice of words. It appeals to our intelligence by being witty, clever or original or to our emotions through the five senses: taste, smell, sound, sight and touch.

  1. Intertextuality

When a text refers to (mentions) or quotes another text.

Example: In Morton Rhue’s novel The Wave Laurie is referred to as Anne Frank. This is an intertextual reference to the life of Anne Frank which was documented in her diary The Diary of Anne Frank which has been published. Laurie is hiding out for fear of reprisal from her peers, who are pressuring her to join The Wave. We draw similarities between Laurie and Anne, as Anne was also forced to hide out during WWII to escape the Nazis.

Example: There are many intertextual references in the film Shrek. For instance when Shrek says to Donkey “That’ll do Donkey, that’ll do.” This is quoting the film Babe. There are also many characters in Shrek who are from other texts such as Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Rapunzel. These are all intertextual references.

  1. Metaphor

A comparison between two unlike things that goes further than a simile does. A metaphor states that one thing IS another thing. It is a strong and powerful comparison. A metaphor can be carried throughout a text, in this case it is called an extended metaphor.

Example: Chris is a dog.

Here, we are expected to look more closely at the boy to determine why he is being called a dog. Perhaps he betrayed his mates or perhaps he is acting like a wimp or he may be eating messily, like a dog. It would depend on the context of the statement.

  1. Onomatopoeia

When the sound of a word is the same as its meaning.

Example: TICK TOCK not only means the sound a clock makes but it also sounds like the sound a clock makes. Bang, crash, moo, quack, plop are all examples of onomatopoeia.

  1. Oxymoron

An intentional contradiction between two words that are placed closely together.

Example: In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet “Parting is such sweet sorrow”.

How can sorrow be sweet? Perhaps because the love is so sweet it makes it even more sorrowful when they must part.

  1. Personification

When a non-living object or thing, is given human characteristics.

Example: In Shel Silverstein’s picture book The Giving Tree, the tree is called a “she”, she talks to the boy and has feelings and in the drawings she moves like a human, crossing her branches so they look like arms.

  1. Pun

Play on words. A pun is dependent upon two words sounding similar, or there being two meanings for the same word.

Example: The Life Savers lollie commercial urges us to “get a hole lot more out of life”. This is a pun on the words whole/hole and it reminds us that life saver lollies have a hole in the middle of them. We visualise it and that makes us want to eat one. Often puns are used in newspaper headlines and advertisements because they attract attention.

  1. Repetition

Repeating words phrases or verses in a text. Advertisers will repeat the name of their product several times to ensure we remember it or to reinforce an important point.

Example: Martin Luther King used repetition very successfully in his speech “I Had a Dream”.

Some repetition is used carelessly though, and is a sign of poorly constructed sentences.

Example: Monica loved English so much because Miss Ball was her favourite English teacher and she liked to study English.

Obviously the word English has been used too many times here, and the sentence should be reconstructed to sound better.

  1. Rhetorical Question

A question that does not require or expect an answer. Often these are used to convince responders of a particular point of view.

Example: When a teacher says “Do I have to wait all day for you to settle down?” The teacher does not want or expect an answer from you and he or she is assuming that you will get the message and settle down. This is a rhetorical question

  1. Rhyme

The repetition of the sound at the end of words.

Example: Directed and expected.

Fast and last

  1. Rhythm

The natural flow of a text. The combination of stressed and unstressed syllables in the way words are presented or spoken. Rhythm is the pulse or the heartbeat of a text. It is the energy, language without rhythm would be boring and monotonous.

  1. Sarcasm

Bitter or cutting speech, designed to hurt the person to whom it is directed. It is often confused with satire which is not as personal an attack and is used to change behaviour or attitudes. Sarcasm is just mean

Example: When one of your friends is excited and tells you something they thought you hadn’t heard before and you reply “Ohhh Nar, really?” This makes the friend feel stupid and it puts them down.

  1. Satire

A text that ridicules human beings (the weaknesses, hypocrisies and failings of both individuals and society as a whole) with the intention of bringing about change. Satire is not just mocking; its use is to stop the responder (you) from ,making the same mistakes as another, or to inspire the responder to do something about the situation. Sometimes it’s just used to increase awareness about the way things are.

Example: The Chasers Television series on the ABC. The Chaser team were always satirising the media and politicians.

Also, street artist Banksy uses satire in a lot of his work.

  1. Simile

A comparative figure of speech that uses “like” or “as” to compare two things. Not as powerful as a metaphor.

Example: As happy as a pig in mud.

She acted like a pig in mud.

  1. Slang

Informal language that is distinctive to a particular social group. It enhances social belonging to a group. Teenagers often use slang that will change depending on trends.

Example: “Oh that’s filth”


A group of lines in a poem, similar to a paragraph in a novel. Stanzas are usually linked by a rhyming scheme or a rhythm/beat.

  1. Symbolism

Something that represents a theme or idea.

Example: A red rose on Valentines Day is a symbol of love and passion.

The Yin Yang is a symbol of peace.

Dark clouds arriving in a film may be symbolic of trouble ahead for the characters.


Directors of films will sometimes use the above techniques in the dialogue of the script, however there is a whole range of other techniques used to create meaning in films. The director will manipulate the following components.

  • Costumes

  • Set designs (The background/environment)

  • Music

  • Lighting

  • Cinematography (camera angles, editing etc)

  • Make up

  • Special effects

  • Sound effects

Assessment Tracking Sheet:




Area of Study: Discovery

* 12S1 – Robert Gray

* 12S2&3 - Away

Creative Writing




Module A: Comparative Study

* 12S1 – Summer of the 17th Doll

* 12S2 – Douglas Stewart

Panel Discussion


½ Yearly: Area of Study

Paper 1 Section 1

Paper 1 Section 2

Paper 1 Section 3




Module C: Representation and Text

* The Story of Tom Brennan





Module B: Critical Study

* A Beautiful Mind

Listening Task


Trial HSC:

* Paper 1: Area of Study

* Paper 2: Modules A, B & C

Paper 1 Section 1

Paper 1 Section 2

Paper 1 Section 3

Paper 2 Section 1

Paper 2 Section 2

Paper 2 Section 3







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