Active listening strategies
Verbal and non-verbal behaviour used to promote accurate listening.
A word class that may modify a verb (for example, ‘beautifully’ in ‘She sings beautifully’), an adjective (for example ‘really’ in ‘He is really interesting’) or another adverb (for example ‘very’ in ‘She walks very slowly’). In English many adverbs have an –ly ending.
Anaphoric and cataphoric reference
Anaphoric reference: when a word in a text refers back to other ideas in the text for its meaning, for example ‘I saw Jim. He is well.’
Cataphoric reference: When a word refers to ideas later in the text, for example ‘It is amazing! This car is the best new deal around!’
How attitudes are expressed in texts; that is, interpersonal meanings which convey an author's evaluation of something or someone and which help to position the audience.
The act of discerning quality and value of literary texts.
A way of thinking about a situation/idea/character. For example, an author or audience may be subjective, supportive or antagonistic towards something or someone.
Also, from the perspective of pragmatics, it is a system of appraisal comprising: affect (positive or negative feelings), appreciation (evaluations of worth), and judgement (attitudes towards behaviour).
The group of readers, listeners or viewers that the writer, designer, filmmaker or speaker is addressing. Audience includes learners in the classroom, an individual, the wider community, review writers, critics and the implied audience.
The composer or originator of a work (for example, a novel, film, website, speech, essay, autobiography).
A grammatical unit that refers to a happening or state (for example, ‘The netball team won’ [happening], ‘The cartoon is an animation’ [state]).
A clause usually contains a subject and a verb group/phrase (for example, ‘The team [subject] has played [verb group/phrase] a fantastic game’), which may be accompanied by an object or other complements (elements that are closely related to the verb – for example, ‘the match’ in ‘The team lost the match’) and/or adverbials (for example, ‘on a rainy night’ in ‘The team won on a rainy night’).
A clause can be either a ‘main’ or ‘subordinate clause’ depending on its function:
- main clause does not depend on or function within the structure of another clause.
- subordinate clause depends on or functions within the structure of another clause – it may function directly within the structure of the larger clause, or indirectly by being contained within a group/phrase.
In these examples square brackets have been used to indicate the subordinate clause:
- ‘I took my umbrella [because it was raining].’
- ‘[Because I am reading Shakespeare], my time is limited.’
- ‘The man [who came to dinner] is my brother.’
Clause type is also referred to as mood. It refers to the classification of clauses in terms of their primary function. There are four main clause types in English: declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamative.
Grammatical or lexical relationships that bind different parts of a text together and give it unity. Cohesion is achieved through various devices such as connectives, ellipses and word associations (sometimes called lexical cohesion). These associations include synonyms, antonyms (for example, ‘study/laze about’, ‘ugly/beautiful’), repetition (for example, ‘work, work, work – that’s all we do!’) and collocation (for example, ‘friend’ and ‘pal’ in, ‘My friend did me a big favour last week. She’s been a real pal.’).
Words that commonly occur in close association with one another (for example, ‘blonde’ goes with ‘hair’, ‘butter’ is ‘rancid’ not ‘rotten’, ‘salt and pepper’ not ‘pepper and salt’.
A complex sentence has one or more subordinate clauses. In the following examples, the subordinate clauses are indicated by square brackets: ‘I took my umbrella [because it was raining].’; ‘[Because I am reading Shakespeare], my time is limited.’; ‘The man [who came to dinner] is my brother.’
A sentence with two or more main clauses of equal grammatical status, usually marked by a coordinating conjunction such as ‘and’, ‘but’ or ‘or’. In the following examples, the main clauses are indicated by square brackets: ‘[Jill came home this morning] [but she didn't stay long].’; ‘[Kim is an actor], [Pat is a teacher], [and Sam is an architect].’
Strategies and processes used by readers to make meaning from texts. Key comprehension strategies include:
- activating and using prior knowledge
- identifying literal information explicitly stated in the text
- making inferences based on information in the text and their own prior knowledge
- predicting likely future events in a text
- visualising by creating mental images of elements in a text
- summarising and organising information from a text
- integrating ideas and information in texts
- critically reflecting on content, structure, language and images used to construct meaning in a text.
Seeing one thing in terms of another, for example, argument is war; prices are rising.
A word class that joins other words, phrases or clauses together in logical relationships such as addition, time, cause or comparison. There are two types of conjunctions: coordinating conjunctions and subordinating conjunctions.
Coordinating conjunctions are words that link words, groups/phrases and clauses in such a way that the elements have equal grammatical status. They include conjunctions such as ‘and’, ‘or’, ‘but’:
- ‘Mum and Dad are here’ (joining words)
- ‘We visited some of our friends, but not all of them’ (joining noun groups/phrases)
- ‘Did he miss the train or is it just late?’ (joining clauses).
Subordinating conjunctions introduce certain kinds of subordinate clauses. They include conjunctions such as ‘after’, ‘when’, ‘because’, ‘if’ and ‘that’:
- ‘When the meeting ended we went home’ (time)
- ‘That was because it was raining’ (reason)
- ‘I'll do it if you pay me’ (condition)
- ‘I know that he is ill’ (declarative)
- ‘I wonder whether/if she’s right?’ (interrogative).
The environment in which a text is responded to or created. Context can include the general social, historical and cultural conditions in which a text is responded to and created (the context of culture) or the specific features of its immediate environment (context of situation). The term is also used to refer to the wording surrounding an unfamiliar word that a reader or listener uses to understand its meaning.
An accepted practice that has developed over time and is generally used and understood, for example, the use of specific structural aspects of texts such as in report writing with sections for introduction, background, discussion and recommendations.
Refers to English as an Additional Language or Dialect. EAL/D is the educational acronym referring to those learners whose home language is a language or dialect other than Standard Australian English (SAE) and who require additional support to develop proficiency in SAE, which is the variety of spoken and written English used formally in Australian schools. The acronym EAL/D foregrounds the English language learning needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learners who speak an Aboriginal or Torres Strait creole, or a variety of Aboriginal English, as their home language, as well as those who speak a traditional or heritage Indigenous language, and migrant and refugee learners who speak an English-based creole, pidgin or dialect as their home language, as well as those who are learning English as a second or additional language (ESL/EAL).
Audio, visual or multimodal texts produced through digital or electronic technology, which may be interactive and include animations and/or hyperlinks. Examples of digital texts include DVDs, websites, e-literature.
Words and phrases used in speaking and writing to ‘signpost’ discourse by showing turns, joining ideas together, showing attitude, and generally controlling communication. Some people regard discourse markers as a feature of spoken language only (for example, ‘actually’, ‘so’, ‘OK’, ‘right?’, ‘anyway’).
When the words and actions of the characters have a different meaning for the reader than they do for the characters.
The perspective of the author (for example, ‘It is obvious that...’).
Texts that are encountered in people’s daily lives; for example, transport schedules, maps, emails, invitations, casual conversations, making an appointment with a doctor/dentist/health centre, an interaction with a retail person, a waiter taking orders, storytelling.
Word groups/phrases used in a way that differs from the expected or everyday usage. They are used in a non-literal way for particular effect (for example, simile – ‘white as a sheet’; metaphor – ‘all the world’s a stage’; personification – ‘the wind grabbed at my clothes’).
The categories into which texts are grouped. The term has a complex history within literary theory and is often used to distinguish texts on the basis of their subject matter (for example, detective fiction, romance, science fiction, fantasy fiction), form and structure (for example, poetry, novels, biography, short stories).
The language we use and the description of language as a system. In describing language, attention is paid to both structure (form) and meaning (function) at the level of the word, the sentence and the text.
The terms ‘group’ and ‘phrase’ are used by different schools of linguistics to refer to units intermediate between the clause and the word. In the English curriculum, ‘group/phrase’ is used to recognise these different usages. For example, the units enclosed in brackets in the following sentence are examples of a group/phrase: ‘(The carnival) (had made) (the two little girls with the red shirts) (very tired)’.
In the example, ‘the carnival’ and ‘the two little girls with the red shirts’ are called noun groups/phrases because they have a noun (‘carnival’ and ‘girls’) as their major element; similarly, ‘had made’ is a verb group/phrase and ‘very tired’ an adjective group/phrase.
A group of (more or less) fixed words having a meaning not deducible from the individual words. Idioms are typically informal expressions used by particular social groups and need to be explained as one unit (for example, ‘I am over the moon’, ‘on thin ice’, ‘a fish out of water’, ‘fed up to the back teeth’).
The rise and fall of one’s voice when speaking; sometimes used for emphasis.
The features of language that support meaning (for example, sentence structure, noun group/phrase, vocabulary, punctuation, figurative language, framing, camera angles). Choices in language features and text structures together define a type of text and shape its meaning. These choices vary according to the purpose of a text, its subject matter, audience, and mode or medium of production.
The spatial arrangement of print and graphics on a page or screen, including size of font, positioning of illustrations, inclusion of captions, labels, headings, bullet points, borders and text boxes.
A sequence of related words in writing.
Vocabulary of a language.
Spoken, print, graphic or electronic communications with a public audience. They often involve numerous people in their construction and are usually shaped by the technology used in their production. The media texts studied in English can be found in newspapers and magazines and on television, film, radio, computer software and the internet.
The resources used in the production of texts, including the tools and materials used (for example, digital text and the computer, writing and the pen or typewriter).
Language used to discuss language (for example, language used to discuss film or literary study such as mise-en-scène, symbolism, characterisation or language used to talk about grammatical terms such as ‘sentence’, clause’, ‘conjunction’).
An area of meaning having to do with possibility, probability, obligation and permission. In the following examples, the modal meanings are expressed by the auxiliary verbs ‘must’ and ‘may’:
- 'Sue may have written the note’ (possibility)
- ‘Sue must have written the note’ (probability)
- ‘You must postpone the meeting’ (obligation)
- ‘You may postpone the meeting’ (permission).
Modality can also be expressed by several different kinds of words:
- adverbs (for example, ‘possibly’, ‘necessarily’, ‘certainly’, ‘perhaps’)
- adjectives (for example, ‘possible’, ‘probable’, ‘likely’, ‘necessary’)
- nouns (for example, ‘possibility’, ‘necessity’, ‘obligation’)
- modal verbs (for example, ‘permit’, ‘oblige’).
The various processes of communication: listening, speaking, reading/viewing and writing/creating. Modes are also used to refer to the semiotic (meaning making) resources associated with these communicative processes, such as sound, print, image and gesture.
The smallest meaningful or grammatical unit in language. Morphemes are not necessarily the same as words. The word ‘cat’ has one morpheme, while the word ‘cats’ has two morphemes: ‘cat’ for the animal and ‘s’ to indicate that there is more than one. Similarly, ‘like’ has one morpheme, while ‘dislike’ has two: ‘like’ to describe appreciation and ‘dis’ to indicate the opposite. Morphemes are very useful in helping learners work out how to read and spell words.
Combination of two or more communication modes (for example, print, image and spoken text, as in film or computer presentations).
A story of events or experiences, real or imagined. In literary theory, narrative includes the story (what is narrated) and the discourse (how it is narrated).
Narrative point of view
The ways in which a narrator may be related to the story. For example, the narrator might take the role of first or third person, omniscient or restricted in knowledge of events, reliable or unreliable in interpreting what happens.
- A process for forming nouns from verbs (for example, ‘reaction’ from ‘react’ or ‘departure’ from ‘depart’) or adjectives (for example, ‘length’ from ‘long’, ‘eagerness’ from ‘eager’).
- Also, a process for forming noun groups/phrases from clauses (for example, ‘their destruction of the city’ from ‘they destroyed the city’).
- Nominalisation is a way of making a text more compact and is often a feature of texts that contain abstract ideas and concepts.
The description of an inanimate object as though it were a person or living thing.
The way a reader/viewer is positioned by the author through the text, or how a particular ideology is embedded in a text, for example, a feminist perspective.
A unit intermediate between clause and word, consisting of a head word alone or accompanied by one or more dependents. The class of a phrase is determined by the head: a phrase with a noun as head is a noun group/phrase (for example, ‘men’ or ‘the men who died’); one with a verb as head is a verb group/phrase (for example, ‘went’ or ‘had gone’).
Point of view
The opinion or viewpoint expressed by an individual in a text, for example an author, a narrator, a character or an implied reader.
A word class that usually describes the relationship between words in a sentence:
- space (for example, ‘below’, ‘in’, ‘on’, ‘to’, ‘under’, and so on: 'She sat on the table.')
- time (for example, ‘after’, ‘before’, ‘since’: 'I will go to the beach after lunch.')
- those that do not relate to space and time (for example, ‘of’, ‘besides’, ‘except’, ‘despite’, and so on: ‘He ate all the beans except the purple ones').
Prepositions usually combine with a noun group/phrase to form a prepositional phrase (for example, ‘in the office’, ‘besides these two articles’).
The way a word or language is spoken. This may vary regionally (for example, American English, British English), socially (by social class of speakers, their age, educational background, sexual orientation) and according to the setting (for example, formal, informal).
The degree of formality or informality of language used for a particular purpose or in a particular social setting.
Language techniques used in argument to persuade audiences (for example, rhetorical questions, repetition, propositions, figurative language).
A question that is asked to provoke thought rather than require an answer.
The ‘beat’ of spoken language. In a stress-timed language such as SAE, speakers put roughly equal time lags between stressed syllables, with the timing of the unstressed syllables between them being adjusted to accommodate the stress timing.
When reading, moving the eyes quickly down the page seeking specific words and phrases. Scanning is also used when readers first find a resource to determine whether it will answer their questions.
In writing, a sentence is marked by punctuation, but in speech, the boundaries between sentences are not always so clear.
There are different types of sentences:
- simple sentence – has the form of a single clause (for example, ‘David walked to the shops’ or ‘Take a seat.’)
- compound sentence – has two or more main clauses of equal grammatical status, usually marked by a coordinating conjunction such as ‘and’, ‘but’ or ‘or’. In the following examples, the main clauses are indicated by square brackets: ‘[Jill came home this morning] [but she didn't stay long].’; ‘[Kim is an actor], [Pat is a teacher], [and Sam is an architect].’
- complex sentence – has one or more subordinate clauses. In the following examples, the subordinate clauses are indicated by square brackets: ‘I took my umbrella [because it was raining].’; ‘[Because I am reading Shakespeare], my time is limited.’; ‘The man [who came to dinner] is my brother.’
The way language is affected by the society and culture within which it is situated.
The way language is affected by society and its social structures and attitudes.
Standard Australian English
The variety of spoken and written English language in Australia used in more formal settings such as for official or public purposes, and recorded in dictionaries, style guides and grammars. While it is always dynamic and evolving, it is recognised as the ‘common language’ of Australians. Standard Australian English.
The relative emphasis that may be given to certain syllables in a word, or to certain words in a phrase or sentence.
The ways in which aspects of texts (such as words, sentences, images) are arranged and how they affect meaning. Style can distinguish the work of individual authors (for example, Jennings’s stories, Lawson’s poems), as well as the work of a particular period (for example, Elizabethan drama, nineteenth-century novels), or of a particular genre or type of text (for example, recipes, scientific articles, play-by-play commentary). Examples of stylistic features are narrative viewpoint, structure of stanzas, juxtaposition, nominalisation, alliteration, metaphor, lexical choice.
Refers to the topic or theme under consideration.
The ways in which sentences are formed from words, group/phrases and clauses. In some education settings, the terms ‘syntax’ and ‘grammar’ are used interchangeably.
A grammatical category marked by a verb in which the situation described in the clause is located in time. For example, present tense ‘has’ in ‘Sarah has a headache’ locates the situation in present time, while past tense ‘had’ in ‘Sarah had a headache’ locates it in past time.
However, the relation between grammatical tense and (semantic) time is not always as simple as this. For example, present tense is typically used to talk about:
- present states, as in ‘He lives in Darwin’
- actions that happen regularly in the present, as in ‘He watches television every night’
- ‘timeless’ happenings, as in information reports such as ‘Bears hibernate in winter’
- references to future events, as in ‘The match starts tomorrow’ where the tense is present but the time future. Likewise in ‘I thought the match started tomorrow’ where the subordinate clause ‘the match started tomorrow’ has past tense but refers to future time.
The ways in which information is organised in different types of texts (for example, chapter headings, subheadings, tables of contents, indexes and glossaries, overviews, introductory and concluding paragraphs, sequencing, topic sentences, taxonomies, cause and effect). Choices in text structures and language features together define a text type and shape its meaning. Examples of text structures in literary texts include sonnets, monologues and hypertext.
The main idea or message of a text.
Grammatical theme indicates importance both within a clause and across a text. In a clause, the theme comes in first position and indicates what the sentence is about. Theme is important at different levels of text organisation. The topic sentence serves as the theme for the points raised in a paragraph. A pattern of themes contributes to the method of development for the text as a whole.
Tone describes the way the ‘voice’ is delivered. For example, the tone of voice or the tone in a passage of writing could be friendly or angry or persuasive.
Types of texts
Classifications of texts according to the particular purposes they are designed to achieve. In general, in the senior subjects in the Australian Curriculum: English, texts are classified as imaginative, interpretive, analytical or persuasive types of texts, although these distinctions are neither static nor discrete and particular texts can belong to more than one category.
Texts whose primary purpose is to identify, examine and draw conclusions about the elements or components that make up other texts. Analytical texts develop an argument or consider or advance an interpretation. Examples of these texts include commentaries, essays in criticism, reflective or discursive responses and reviews.
Texts whose primary purpose is to entertain or provoke thought through their imaginative use of literary elements. They are recognised for their form, style and artistic or aesthetic value. These texts include novels, traditional tales, poetry, stories, plays, fiction for young adults and children including picture books, and multimodal texts such as film.
Texts whose primary purpose is to explain and interpret personalities, events, ideas, representations or concepts. They include autobiography, biography, media feature articles, documentary film and other non-fiction texts. There is a focus on interpretive rather than informative texts in the senior years of schooling.
Texts whose primary purpose is to put forward a point of view and persuade a reader, viewer or listener. They form a significant part of modern communication in both print and digital environments. They include advertising, debates, arguments, discussions, polemics and essays and articles.
A word class that describes a kind of situation such as a happening (for example, ‘climbed’ in ‘She climbed the ladder’) or a state (for example, ‘is’ in ‘The koala is an Australian mammal’).
Verbs are essential to clause structure: all clauses contain a verb, except in certain types of ellipsis (for example, ‘Sue lives in Sydney, her parents in Melbourne’, where there is ellipsis of ‘live’ in the second clause).
Virtually all verbs have contrasting past and present tense forms. Some are signalled by inflections such as ‘-s’ and ‘-ed’. For example:
- walks (present tense)
- walked (past tense).
Other verbs have irregular forms that signal a change in tense. For example:
- present – ‘am/is/are’ and past – ‘was/were’
- present participle ‘being’ and past participle ‘been’.
Auxiliary verbs and modal verbs are two types of verbs:
- auxiliary verbs are also referred to as ‘helping’ verbs. They precede the main verb; for example, ‘draw’ (main verb) ‘has drawn’ (auxiliary verb assisting)
- modal verbs express a degree of probability (for example, ‘I might come home’) or a degree of obligation (for example, ‘You must give it to me’, ‘You are not permitted to smoke in here’).
Visual components of a text such as placement, salience, framing, representation of action or reaction, shot size, social distance and camera angle.
In the literary sense, voice can be used to refer to the nature of the voice projected in a text by an author (for example, ‘authorial voice’ in a literary text, or ‘expert voice’ in an exposition).
In English grammar, voice is used to describe the contrast between such pairs of clauses as ‘The dog bit me’ (active voice) and ‘I was bitten by the dog’ (passive voice). Active and passive clauses differ in the way participant roles are associated with grammatical functions.
In clauses expressing actions, like the above examples, the subject of the active (‘the dog’) has the role of actor, and the object (‘me’) the role of patient, whereas in the passive the subject (‘I’) has the role of patient and the object of the preposition by (‘the dog’) the role of actor.
In clauses that describe situations other than actions, such as ‘Everyone admired the minister’ and ‘The minister was admired by everyone’, the same grammatical difference is found, so that the object of the active (‘the minister’) corresponds to the subject of the passive, and the subject of the active (‘everyone’) corresponds to the object of the preposition ‘by’.