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


Rugby Example

The scrum is one of the most important, yet complex facets of the game of rugby. The half-back feeds the ball into the scrum where the hooker’s job is to get it back to the number 8. It’s important that he feeds it on the loosehead side, or else there might be a tighthead, which is not good. If the team gets a good hit at engagement time they’ll probably be able to push the other team off the ball, which frees the halfback to be able to clear the ball to the first-five. When the first-five has it, he can spread it wide to the wingers, or maybe run a cut with the centres. Sometimes a mid-field bomb or a chip over the top would be good options, too.


After listening to and reading the above passage, you have to write your own explanation of something to do with a particular topic that you are familiar with. Your passage should make sense, but would be not understood by everyone in the class.

Examples of topics…

  • Sports
  • Music
  • Computers or technology
  • Specific games or hobbies


You will read your summary to a partner after you’re finished. You have 20 minutes.

Stylistic Devices

What you need to know…

Every text type has their own set of stylistic devices. These devices could be related to structure, style, tone, images, formatting, etc.

It is important that you can identify these stylistic devices and use them in your own writing.

Sometimes they might be really obvious that you don’t even think of them. Like in opinion columns, for instance, the author’s name and the date is written at the top.

Your tasks…

The goal is that you could print your text and a “real” one and someone wouldn’t be able to tell the difference!!!!!

Step one: Find at least 5 examples of your particular text-type*. They can be from the same or different publications.

Step two: Identify at least ten stylistic devices that are common in every one.


Common Stylistic Devices in Brochures:

  1. Clear title on the front that stands out
  2. Bolded headings and sub-headings for each section of text
  3. More than one image
  4. Large attractive image on front page
  5. Images are bright and colourful
  6. Images are related to the information they’re placed next to
  7. Text separated by key points
  8. Information ordered by importance (most to least)
  9. Where to find more information is included (e.g. contact details/phone number)
  10. Different fonts are used


Example Brochure
Notice the stylistic devices on this example brochure. What stylistic devices are common in your text type?

*Please ask if you’re not sure what category of text-type your writing falls under.

Writing for Publication

12 English Language and Literature

Your Task

You are going to try to write something that can be published in a publication (online or in print) of your choice. You need to decide the text type and the place where you want to be published. It can be only about 500 words, or the first 500 words of something larger (e.g. an article that would take longer than 500 words to write…you can end once you get to 500!)

You can literally write anything about anything, as long as it’s intended to be published somewhere.

Remember that “published” these days can also include online sources.

Some examples include:

  • Last Word Metropolis: Life in Japan
  • Sports magazine
  • Cooking blog
  • Infographic for a website (e.g. gaming)
  • Instructional book on music

Suggested steps to complete this task:

First: Select who you want to write for (e.g. what magazine, blog, website, journal, etc.)

Second: Select your topic to write about

Third: Begin writing!

Example: I want to write a “Last Word” for Metropolis magazine about the social norm in Japan whereby new mothers take their baby home to their hometown and the father stays in the city and works. This usually happens for the first month or even longer and I just can’t understand it! I am actually working on writing this article at the moment.

Analysing Language: Lesson #1

Welcome to Grade 12 English!

Before we begin our language and culture unit, I want to make sure that you actually learned something last year.

Check out the diagram below and complete the following exercise. analysis-in-eng_15442620_9251f74c7d35010fe9a8838e5fcaaa943e997618You really need to understand what this diagram is all about. When you do, your life in IB English will be so much easier!

Task #1:

Write an explanation of one example of a relationship between language, meaning and context from any text that you studied last year.

Show me when you’ve finished.

Task #2:

Now you can show you understand the diagram from a text you’ve already studied it’s time to apply this to a new text. Ask me for the range for you to choose from and you are to explain one example of how language, meaning and context are interrelated.