How to analyse non-fictional texts with regard to language (style, tone and register) Usually the task only refers to certain aspects (2-3). → Read and annotate the tasks carefully Ⓒ Always include all of the following three building blocks: ● ● structural, stylistic or rhetorical DEVICE ● The introductory sentence includes: The information from the task and an interpretation hypothesis (e.g. the use of language and stylistic devices have this particular effect ... and help the text to be this way...). Analysis of formal elements of language (FICTIONAL / NON-FICTIONAL) Identify the formal elements of the text and show what function and effect they have. How does the author use the formal elements below so effectively that they can carry meaning and contribute to the overall message/effect? What relationship is there between language, content and form? Style Style is the particular way in which a text is written, a writer's characteristic use of language. Style can be described as formal, literary, rhetorical, informal, colloquial, chatty, personal, ... It includes elements such as tone and register. (See below.) How is the text / speech / presentation delivered? Tone is the way in which a writer treats his topic, thereby reflecting his emotional attitude towards that topic and his readers. Tone conveys the emotional meaning of a work. What feelings and attitudes...
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towards the passage does the author want you to have? How does he or she handle the subject matter of the passage? Is the story told in a serious detached, factual, formal → no opinion humorous, ironical, critical, sympathetic, sentimental, emotional, angry, playful... way? Effect? Register is the level of language used in a text. It depends on the nature of the text and the readership it has been written for (target group). E.g. a scientist will express himself differently when writing scientific papers and when speaking to his children. Register is therefore determined by the audience addressed and by the subject matter. It includes elements such as sentence structure, choice of words, word fields and punctuation. (See below.) Is the use of register in any way unusual or striking? What register does the author employ? Is the register formal, informal, neutral, biased? Does it belong to a specific social or cultural context? Does the passage use dialect, idioms or slang? Is it colloquial, everyday speech? If there is dialogue in the passage, do different characters adopt different registers? Effect? How to describe register, tone and style Tone Register register (= Sprachebene) choice of words style tone explanation of device and citation TEXTPROOF ● important function and the specific EFFECT! slang, colloquial, everyday English, written language, (in) formal, poetic, sophisticated, familiar, technical terms, scientific, religious, metaphorical denotations*, connotations*, keywords, figurative*/literal meaning of words, emphatic/negative function of words, euphemisms*, synonyms*, abstractions plain, sober, natural, matter-of-fact, clear, precise, concise, vigorous, fluent, passionate, elegant, artificial, stilted, wordy, colourless, cliché-ridden, snappy, lengthy, clumsy, spontaneous, trite, expressing doubt/certainty Writing about language/style: formal/informal/colloquial/vulgar/ academic/clear/objective/vivid/... humorous, playful, colloquial, conciliatory, depressive, serious, solemn, ironic, satirical, sarcastic, warm-hearted, aggressive, whining, reproachful language complex/simple sentences • a serious/friendly/humorous/ironic/ polite/rude/critical/optimistic/... tone The style of the text is plain/condensed/ vivid/pompous/artificial/... Useful phrases Writing about choice of words: • to use emotive adjectives/adverbs that ... to appeal to the readers' emotions • to express ideas in a more informal or colloquial way in order to ... • to associate... with positive/negative words such as ... in order to ... .the... connotations of words like ... are meant to make the reader ...