Sponsored Post Learn from the experts: Create a successful blog with our brand new courseThe WordPress.com Blog

WordPress.com is excited to announce our newest offering: a course just for beginning bloggers where you’ll learn everything you need to know about blogging from the most trusted experts in the industry. We have helped millions of blogs get up and running, we know what works, and we want you to to know everything we know. This course provides all the fundamental skills and inspiration you need to get your blog started, an interactive community forum, and content updated annually.

FOA Language and Culture Possible Topics

Possible Topics for your FOA

  • Gender (inequality, constructions of masculinity and femininity)

    • How what it means to be a “man” is shown through the language of characters on TV shows (or films, comic books, manga, etc.)
    • Stereotypes of gender roles as shown through the language of: film, TV, music, art, novels, etc.
    • The language of feminism
    • Sexism in comic books


  • Sexuality (its construction through language)
    • The language of magazines for teenage girls/boys
      • A comparison between the two?
    • An analysis of the language of texts for women (e.g. vogue magazine) over the past few decades
    • The role of language in labels and sexual identity
      • Watch this video of an apology by an aussie TV presenter who used the word “tranny” jokingly.


  • Language and communities (nation/region, subcultures)
    • E.g. the language of surfers and skateboarders
    • Gang language, including symbols
    • Analysis of language differences between different genres (art, film, poetry, music, novels, etc.)


  • Language and the individual (multilingualism/bilingualism, language profile/identity)
    • How language shapes who you are


  • Language and power (linguistic imperialism, propaganda)
    • The use of propaganda to spread ideas
      • War propaganda
    • An analysis of the difference/s between advertising and propaganda
    • Minority groups reclaiming derogatory terms (e.g. “queer”)


  • History and evolution of the language (disappearing and revival languages, Creoles)
    • How language has changed due to contextual factors (e.g. immigration)
      • See examples of Creoles below
    • Pidgin English (read more here)
    • Tok Pisin (read more here)
    • Chinglish (read more here)
      • Creoles = language that has come about due to a combination of languages


  • Translation (what is added and what is lost)
    • Comparing two texts, one being translated to/from English
      • E.g. comic book/manga
      • “The Housekeeper and the Professor” (English or Japanese novel, also film w/ subtitles and made into a manga).


  • Language and knowledge (science and technology, argot and jargon)
    • The creation of new language to adapt to new technology
    • A comparison of language used in scientific texts compared with spiritual texts


  • Language and social relations (social and professional status, race)
    • The way our language changes depending on whom we’re talking to
    • How language of the media propagates racial stereotypes


  • Language and belief (religious discourse, mythology)
    • The language of prayer or hymns.
    • A comparison of the language of the Old Testament and New Testament.
    • A comparison of language used in different religions (e.g. Buddhism vs. Islam – in English texts).
    • A comparison of the language of different editions of the bible


  • Language and taboo (swearing, political correctness)
    • PC language in the media
    • The censorship of classic texts in different contexts
      • How interpretations of texts can be different (and offensive) based on contextual factors. E.g. Harry Potter in religious communities

Analysis Practice: The Homework Argument

To continue our exploration into the ways language (e.g. style and structure) are used depending on context (e.g. purpose, audience, text-type, etc.) and to convey meaning, we are going to compare two texts that explore the homework debate!

Text One: From ASCD.org

Text 1: Special Topic / The Case For and Against Homework

About ASCD (quote from their homepage): “ASCD is a global community of educators dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading. Our innovative solutions empower educators to promote the success of each child.”

Text Two: From wonderopolis.org

Text 2: Why do we have homework?

Here’s what wonderopolis say they’re about on their about page: “Welcome to Wonderopolis®, a place where natural curiosity and imagination lead to exploration and discovery in learners of all ages. Each day, we pose an intriguing question—the Wonder of the Day®—and explore it in a variety of ways.”

Your Task:

  1. Read both of these articles.
  2. Choose one and begin the analysis process by making notes on the meaning, context and stylistic devices
    1. e.g. iPACT
      1. ideas/meaning, purpose, audience, other context, text-type
  3. Share your notes with other students who analysed the same text.
  4. Form a group or partnership with a student (or students) who analysed the other text. Work together to compare and contrast the texts. Discuss why these devices might be similar or different (consider context and meaning).

Possible Poetry Choices (Gr9 English)

For your next poetry assignment you can choose your own poem to analyse and write a commentary on.

Here are some poems that I really love, if you are struggling to find some of your own:

“Those Winter Sundays” Robert Hayden

“She dwelt among the untrodden ways” William Wordsworth

“The Highwayman” Alfred Noyes

“When you are old” WB Yeats

“My Dreams Are of a Field Afar” A.E. Housman

“Meeting at Night” Robert Browning

“Charge of the Light Brigade” Alfred Lord Tennyson

“Mid-Term Break” Seamus Heaney

“Farmhand” James K. Baxter

“Anthem for Doomed Youth” Wilfred Owen

Analysing Sound Devices

What you need to know…

Sound devices are used for a particular effect and for deliberate reasons by poets when writing poetry. You can read more about sound devices here. Just like how we practiced explaining and analysing the effects of figurative language, you are now going to do the same with sound devices.

This is a very challenging task because it’s not always obvious why a poet has used particular sound devices.

The best analyses will be those that connect the sounds to the meaning (e.g. central idea) of the poem in some way.


In Scott’s poem “Ode: I hate that Drum’s Discordant Sound” the poet is describing how he hates the sounds of the drums that the army used in Britain in WWI when going from town to town to collect volunteers for the army. The army used a drum to attract attention so people knew the army was in town so they could sign up. 

Example Analysis:

The”d” sound is repeated in the opening lines in “I hate that drums dischordant sound, / Parading round, and round, and round:” (1-2). The d sound is similar to the sound of a drum  being banged and so the poet uses this in the opening to mimic the sound of the drum that he is describing. The sounds help the reader imagine the scene of the army banging their drum to gather volunteers. The repetition of the “round and round and round” also creates a constant rhythm like that of a drum being beating. In short, the alliteration helps the audience imagine the very thing that Scott is saying how much he hates. (you can read the poem here)

What you need to do…

  • Identify a sound device used in one of the three poems we’ve been studying in class (Caged Bird, Introduction to Poetry or Funeral Blues).
    • i.e. you analyse one poem.
  • Explain the relationship between the sound device used and the meaning in the poem.
    • The sound might also connect to the tone and/or the mood of the poem.
    • Remember to incorporate your quotes into your sentences properly (check here if you’ve forgotten how to do this).
  • Please show the teacher once you’ve finished. I will also be checking your work upon my return.

If you finish the above task…

You can spend the remainder of the time working on your assessment task.

Sound Devices in Poetry

What you need to know…

One of the major aspects of poetry is it’s focus on sounds, including individual sounds and the rhythm created by them.

Here are the key sound devices:

Alliteration: Repeated consonant sounds at the beginning of words placed near each other, usually on the same or adjacent lines. Example: Peter and Andrew patted the pony at Ascot

Onomatopoeia: Words that sound like their meanings. Example: boom, buzz, crackle, gurgle, hiss, pop, sizzle, snap, swoosh, whir, zip

Rhyme: Words that have different beginning sounds but whose endings sound alike. Example: time, slime, mime

Assonance: Repeated vowel sounds in words placed near each other, usually on the same or adjacent lines. Example: He’s a bruisin’ loser

Rhythm: The pattern of accented and unaccented syllables in words.

Example: i THOUGHT i SAW a PUSsyCAT.

Meter: Meter is the organization of voice patterns (rhythm), in terms of both the arrangement of stresses and their frequency of repetition per line of verse.

What you need to do…

Identify at least two examples of each of these sound devices:

  • Rhyme
  • Assonance
  • Alliteration
  • Onomatopoeia (there might be one or even no examples of this one)

in the following lyrics to Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” song. You can listen to the song here if it helps


if you had one shot
or one opportunity
to seize everything you ever wanted
in one moment
Would you capture it
or just let it slip? Yo…His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti
He’s nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready
To drop bombs, but he keeps on forgettin’
What he wrote down, the whole crowd goes so loud
He opens his mouth, but the words won’t come out
He’s chokin’ how, everybody’s jokin’ now
The clocks runs out, time’s up, over. Blow!
Snap back to reality, oh, there goes gravity
Oh, there goes Rabbit, he choked, he’s so mad
But he won’t give it up that easy, no, he won’t have it
He knows his whole back’s to these ropes, it don’t matter, he’s dope
He knows that, but he’s broke, he’s so stagnant, he knows
When he goes back to his mobile home, that’s when it’s
Back to the lab again, yo, this whole rhapsodyHe better go capture this moment and hope it don’t pass him

You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go

You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime

You better lose yourself in the music, the moment

You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime

The soul’s escaping through this hole that is gaping
This world is mine for the taking, make me king
As we move toward a new world order
A normal life is boring, but superstardom’s
Close to postmortem, it only grows harder
Only grows hotter, he blows us all over
These hoes is all on him, coast to coast shows
He’s known as the globetrotter, lonely roads, god only
Knows he’s grown farther from home he’s no father
He goes home and barely knows his own daughter
But hold your nose, ‘cuz here goes the cold water
These hoes don’t want him no mo’, he’s cold product

They moved on to the next schmoe, who flows he nose
Dove and sold nada, so the soap opera
Is told and unfolds, I suppose it’s old partner
But the beat goes on, da da dum da dum da da

You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow

This opportunity comes once in a lifetime

You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime

No more games, I’m a change what you call rage
Tear this motherfuckin’ roof off like 2 dogs caged
I was playin’ in the beginnin’, the mood all changed
I been chewed up and spit out and booed off stage
But I kept rhymin’ and stepped right in the next cypher
Best believe somebody’s payin’ the pied piper
All the pain inside amplified by the
Fact that I can’t get by with my nine to
Five and I can’t provide the right type of
Life for my family ‘cuz, man, these goddamn
Food stamps don’t buy diapers and there’s no movie
There’s no Mekhi Phifer, this is my life
And these times are so hard and it’s getting even harder
Tryin’ to feed and water my seed, plus teeter-totter
Caught up between bein’ a father and a prima donna
Baby mama drama screamin’ on and too much for me to wanna
Stay in one spot, another day of monotony

Has gotten me to the point I’m like a snail I’ve got
To formulate a plot or end up in jail or shot
Success is my only motherfuckin’ option, failure’s not
Mom, I love you, but this trailer’s got to go

I cannot grow old in Salem’s Lot
So here I go, it’s my shot, feet fail me not
This may be the only opportunity that I got

You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime
You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime
You better
You can do anything you set your mind to, man

Writing good poetry analysis

What you need to know…

It’s important when you write about poetry analysis that you are expressing your ideas clearly.

When explaining figurative language, sound devices or the use of any poetic technique, it is important that in your writing you are making the connection clear between the language/technique used and the reason why it has been used (the effect of the language).

You also need to make sure that you are incorporating (including) quotes properly in your sentences.

What you need to do…

Read the following five examples of explanations of figurative language use in some of the poems we have been studying.

Working with a partner, rank them in order from the most clearly written explanations to the least. Make sure you can justify (i.e. explain) your reasons.

#A. “Stop all the clocks.” Auden uses this line to show that the persona wants the clocks to stop. The persona’s lover has just died and so they want everyone to know and to be sad as well. This is an example of hyperbole because it’s a big exaggeration and it’s impossible to stop all the clocks from working. This helps to show how sad he is. 

#B. The persona wants to “pour away and sweep up the wood/because nothing now can ever come to any good.” This is an example of a metaphor because you can’t actually sweet up the wood and you can’t pour away the ocean. These things are impossible to do, which is why this is a metaphor. 

#C. “I want them to water ski across the surface of the poem”. The persona who is probably a teacher wants his students to water ski across the poem. This metaphor helps us to understand that the teacher wants the students to get the main idea of the poem and to have fun with it. 

#D. The persona wants the students to “press an ear against (the poem’s) hive”. A hive is filled with bees that make an interesting sound and so perhaps the persona wants the students to listen carefully to the sounds of the poem, just like listening to the sounds of the bees in a hive. 

#E. When Angelous says that the bird’s “wings are clipped / and its feet are tied” she is referring to the way that African Americans have a lot of obstacles that stop them from being successful and happy in life. A bird with clipped wings and tied feet can’t fly, just like African Americans in poor schools and who are treated badly can’t be successful in life.

What does good analysis of language look like? (Gr12)

What you need to do…

Read the following analytical comments on the advertisement below. Work with a partner to rank them in order of the best pieces of analysis to the least effective. Make sure you can justify your choices.

Image result for singapore airlines premium economy class ad

A) The windows hovering in the air make the audience know that the advertisement is for aeroplane seats.

B) The woman is sitting in a chair, reclining and drinking a glass of champagne. She is being waited on by an air hostess who looks like she might be getting ready to offer the woman sitting a pillow. The businesswoman is dressed very elegantly and has a fancy travel bag.

C) The dominant colour in the image is gold, which helps to support this idea of the newness of the product they are offering (premium economy seats) as well as evoking a sense of luxury as gold is often associated with expensive jewelry. 

D) The Singapore airlines logo in the corner of the advertisement makes the reader understand that they are the company who this advertisement is for.

E) The woman is sitting in a relaxed manner which highlights the comfort of the seats. The fact she is drinking champagne also reinforces the idea that the airplane seats are luxurious.