Thursday, May 08, 2008

ENA6 Question 2a - editorials and letters

Here are two texts that might help you revise for the 2a) part of this paper. The first text is an editorial from The Guardian which should give you some idea about how to put together a piece of writing like this. Note the lack of first person pronouns (no I or we) and the emphasis on strong opinion expressed through modal auxiliaries, in the last paragraph particularly. If you’re asked to write an editorial, remember that you’re expressing the newspaper’s own view on the issue and that while you should look at both sides of the debate (arguments about male female talk, political correctness going too far, language change being a bad thing etc.) you should always come down one side of the debate more than the other (e.g. “texting can be a useful tool, but if it is allowed to spread into the written language of this country’s young people, standards will fall…” or something like that).

The second text is the nearest equivalent to a letter to the editor that I could find. On the exam spec a letter is mentioned as a possible form for this question, but most letters in broadsheet newspapers are pretty brief. This personal response is structured a little like a letter. It responds to a previous article (so you might be responding to one of the texts in the exam paper); it refers back to the original article by paraphrasing a few points and quoting briefly from it; it then constructs an argument against the original article, using personal observations and statistics. This is exactly the sort of structure you could use if you were set a question like this.

4 comments:

Dessy said...

Firstly, in writing a letter, would they tell us the date and paper we are responding to, (in this response, the woman refers back to what she's responding to) or would we be expected to make it up?

secondly, are all "Responses" in the guradian like letters to the editor?

Thirdly, would we be expected to refer to the man/woman directly, i.e Sir/Madam, in other words, should our format be in the style of a letter???

Dan said...

Hmm, good questions...
1. I reckon you'd be asked to respond to one of the other texts on the question paper e.g. "Write a letter responding to text A's views about language change".
2. Sort of...
3. Just include a brief salutation (Dear sir/madam) and a sign-off (Yours, Mrs Adesola Pinker); the rest isn't really important, I don't think.

sabrina said...

sir how many marks is it for the style on question 2a) unit 6. Also sir if accents and dialects does come up how many examples should i use to demonstrate my points alongside this how many theories should i use to support my points and also sir i dont really understand how to apply mrs ranas work if i had to apply it in the exam to the changing nature of accents and dialects.

Dan said...

It's 20 marks for content and 15 for style and accuracy.

In terms of theories/ case studies etc. it depends very much on what the actual question is and what you've been given in the question paper itself. If the question is about attitudes to accents/dialects then it would probably make sense to refer to Howard Giles and Trudgill & Cheshire at some point, as their research is the "classic" kind of thing that lays down the groundwork for others.

I don't quite understand the last question. If you mean how is Mrs R's work relevant to changing accents and dialects, then most of it is, but especially the material on MEYD, Estuary & dialect levelling that you will have done recently in one of the mock exam papers and her lessons recently.