Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

3.2 Interpret & Use Information From Texts – US119457

ryanrori June 19, 2020

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1 Use A Range Of Reading And / Or Viewing Strategies To Understand The Literal Meaning Of Specific Texts

1.1 Unfamiliar Words / Signs Are Identified. Their Meanings Are Correctly Determined By Using Knowledge Of Syntax, Word-attack Skills / Sign Parameter / Analysis Skills, & Contextual Clues.


We learn to speak before we can even write. All over the world there are lots of people who cannot read or write. People express themselves through the spoken word. We learn a lot about other people, our history and different topics through the written word. Writing has overcome the problem of memory that is short lived.


“The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.”

– Albert Camus


Writing permits a society to permanently record its literature, its history, its science and its technology. Writing can be seen as one of the greatest human achievements.


“ But words are things, and a small drop of ink

falling , like dew, upon a thought, produces

that which makes thousands,

perhaps millions think.”

– Lord Byron


The words you use often come from your frame of reference. What people say is not always what they mean. There can be a hidden message behind the words. You can use words to express your deepest feelings. The spoken or written word can be sharper than the sword. People often encode their messages with their prejudices, their culture, the way they were brought up and their experiences. You decode your messages with your biases, your frame of reference and your level of education.

The following information was obtained from a unit standard written for the FOODBEV SETA.


In the following activity, you are going to explore :

  • use of words (unfamiliar words, complex terms, borrowed words, acronyms and neologisms)
  • and syntax (the way the words are arranged in sentences.
  • You are also going to practise extracting (or taking out) implicit messages (or messages that are hinted at or implied by, not clearly stated) in texts.


Activity 1: Read the following article which appeared in the Cape Times of 11th December 2003.
The Grinch who stole Christmas

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned the Post Office from inviting children to write to Father Christmas, on the grounds that it is misleading the youngsters. The ruling this week followed a complaint by Cape Town journalist, Andrew October, about a Post Office television commercial. The commercial provides children with an address at which they can write to Santa Claus with their Christmas present requests.

October said that unless the Post Office intended to give the children the gifts they were asking for, the commercial should be canned. He said it encouraged “a falsehood that could break the fragile spirits of the already disillusioned youth of South Africa”. Advertising agency Lobedu Leo Burnett responded on behalf of the Post Office that the commercial was harmless and that living in a “fantasy world” was part of growing up. It said that writing to Father Christmas was a tradition for Christian children, and that this was frequently supported by parents.

It also said that in households where parents did not believe in this practice, children were brought up in the knowledge that Santa was not a reality and were therefore unlikely to respond to the commercial. The ASA’s directorate – its primary decision-making body – ruled that the advert was in breach of a clause in the Code of Advertising Practice which said advertisements should not exploit the “natural credulity” of children. “The directorate was of the opinion that the commercial in question exploits in children the belief, or inclination to believe, in Santa Claus.

“It creates the impression, in the mind of the credulous child, that by writing to the given address s/he will be writing to Santa Claus, who will then bring him/her the requested presents. “Lastly, the directorate noted that, as the letters to Santa Claus have to be stamped, the respondent is profiting from the natural credulity of children in this regard.”

PLEASE NOTE: You need to understand what the words “credulity” and “credulous” mean to be able to understand the context of the article.  Look up the meaning of the words in the dictionary.  You will notice that both words have the same stem or root:  “cred” (the Latin credo) which means “to believe”.  How does the meaning of the word credulous differ from the word credible?  Both “credulous” and “credible” are words that are used to describe someone or something.  They are adjectives.  You speak about a “credulous child” but a “credible explanation”.  When you need to establish the meaning of a word, it is useful to look at its function in the sentence first.  Is it:

  • the name of a person, place or thing (noun),
  • or an action (verb),
  • or does it perform the action (noun which is the subject of the sentence),
  • or is the action directed at it directly or indirectly (noun which is the object of the sentence).

Rules of syntax govern the order of words in a sentence and the part of speech that is dictated by the word’s function in the sentence, will determine the form of the word – whether it is a noun (credulity or credulousness), an adjective (credible or credulous) or an adverb (credibly or credulously).

You are not expected to name the parts of speech, but you do need to understand what syntax means and that the word changes its form, depending on what function it has in the sentence.  Different languages have different rules of syntax (order of words in the sentence).  In Afrikaans, Dutch and German, the rules of syntax put the verb or action at the end of the sentence.  In English and Xhosa, it is usually in the middle of the sentence, but if you are giving an instruction, it is usually the first word of the sentence.


Activity 2: Work through the following questions based on the adapted newspaper article that you have just read with your facilitator and your group of fellow-learners.
  1. ASA is an acronym.  The letters used represent the initial letters of the Advertising Standards Authority.  HACCP (pronounced Hassop) is also an acronym.  The letters stand for Hazzard Analysis Critical Control Point.  The acronym is commonly used where procedures of health and safety are discussed.  Are there any other acronyms which are used at the place where you work?  Discuss this in your group.
  2. We normally refer to the plump little man in the red and white outfit who supposedly brings toys to little children at Christmas time as Father Christmas.  In Holland, he is referred to as Saint Nicholas (pronounced Sint Niklaus).  What name, which has been borrowed from the American, refers to the same person?  This name could possibly once have been a neologism (or new word created for this purpose), based on the Dutch St Nicholas.  Do you think that this is a possible explanation for the origin of the American name?  Discuss this in your group.
  3. Another word that has been borrowed from the American is the word “canned” in the third paragraph:  “… the commercial should be canned”.  What does it mean and what word does it come from?
  4. If you had seen the advertisement supplying children with an address to write to Father Christmas, would you automatically have thought there was anything wrong with it?  Discuss this in your group.
  5. And now that you have read the passage, taken note of other people’s viewpoint and thought about it, do you still feel the same way or are there other implications?  Do you think that Andrew October’s complaint was justified and that the Post Office was misleading children?
  6. Do you think that the ASA was justified in banning the advertisement on the basis that the advertisement was exploiting the “natural credulity” of children?
  7. In what way could the Post Office profit from children?
  8. Why does October say that the promise in the advertisement is “a falsehood that could break the fragile spirits of the already disillusioned youth of South Africa”?  Is this a fact or an opinion?  Do you agree or disagree with this statement?  Justify your reply.
  9. In the second last paragraph, the writer has been “gender sensitive” by writing s/he and him/her.  Why has this been necessary?
  10. Summarise the article in point form by extracting the main ideas from the passage.
  11. A Grinch is not a regular English word, but has been borrowed.  Read the headline.  By looking at what it does, you may be able to explain what you think it is.  What do you think it looks like?  Describe it.

While on the subject of gender, the following sign was put up in an office:

Would you like to speak to the Boss or would you like to see the woman who knows everything?

This is an example of a generalisation (making a statement that includes everyone that is in that group), stereotyping (behaviour that is ascribed to everyone in that group) or of sexism (where all men are regarded as being superior and all women play a subordinate role).  Do you think the author is a male or a female? Why? What is being implied by this notice?

Another example of stereotyping or generalisation is that of a traffic officer.

Activity 3: Read the following article that has been adapted from the Sunday Times of 28th December 2003.
A growl a day keeps the tourists away

Grumpy traffic officers are a thing of the past – at least in Mpumalanga, where cops are being taught to smile.

Traffic officers from all major municipalities in the province had to go on a course training them to be friendly and polite – especially to tourists.


Mohammed Bhabha, MEC for Local Government and Transport, said Mpumalanga was fast becoming a hot spot for tourists and traffic officers had to become more “tourist friendly”.

“Traffic officials are not just there to do policing.  They can do their duties and be friendly at it.  Almost like the bobbies in London who welcome tourists and give them directions,” he said.

Bhabha said a business delegation from Mozambique had complained to him this year about the unfriendly cops they had encountered in Mpumalanga.




“I approached Cheryl Carolus at the South African Tourism Board and asked her to help us out.  We cannot afford to project a bad image to businessmen and tourists because it will eventually be detrimental to our economy,” he said.

Bhabha said traffic officers often felt that their jobs were menial and their lack of “self-esteem” led to “aggressive behaviour”.


The course tried to change their mind-set.  “We tried to teach them just how important they really are in attracting tourists to the country.”

About 200 officers in managerial posts participated in the week-long programme.  “They will teach the officers at their stations what they were taught.  Already the project has been a great success.  And yes, one can say they have been taught to smile,”  said Bhabha.



How are traffic officers stereotyped?

Can you think of any other examples of  bias or stereotyping?  Think of race, culture, religion or even age and discuss these questions in the space provided in your workbooks.


Activity 4: State whether the following generalisations or stereotyping are examples of:
  • ageism; or
  • sexism
  1. All men are rude.
  2. Women are emotional and always know best.
  3. Only people under 40 may apply.
  4. Americans are loud and fat.
  5. Men cook better than women.

Complete the table in your workbooks mark the correct answer.

Activity 5: In the Sunday Times of 28th December 2003, the ANC Youth League’s Khulekani Ntshangase was quoted as saying:
“When a black person says he does not like white people, that is not racism, it is prejudice … Because whites created racism, blacks have no capacity to be racists … they can only respond to it.”

Do you agree with him?  Discuss this statement in your groups.

The three dots (…), called ellipsis, indicate that something has been omitted or left out.  By leaving out parts of what someone says, you can sometimes lose the context of what is being said.  By choosing what to omit or leave out, gives the person who is choosing quite a lot of power because you can easily misrepresent what that person is saying.  Discuss the dangers of the use of omission in your groups.

“Fill your paper with the breathing of your heart……….”

– William Wordsworth

Sometimes, by remaining silent, you can also be seen as supporting or not supporting an argument.  President Mbeki’s policy of “silent diplomacy” with Zimbabwe is interpreted as being supportive of President Robert Mugabe.  Can you think of another situation where silence is interpreted as support or lack of support?  Think about a situation at home or at work where this can happen. Write your thoughts down and include it in your portfolio of evidence.

The following instructions appear in a standard operating manual for the chemical cleaning process.


  1. Always use safety goggles to protect the eyes.
  2. Use full-length gloves to protect your hands and arms.
  3. Use the apron to protect your body, legs and feet.
  4. Handle these in the authorised area only, away from unprotected staff.
  5. Never mix chemicals with each other.
  6. Do not ever touch unmarked containers.
  7. Only use the right measurements.

Read the following instructions.  Examine the syntax (word order or the way in which the words are arranged in the sentence), tone, choice of words etc.  In your groups, draw up a set of rules for the writing or giving of instructions.


  1. Set the pasteuriser panel controls as in Figure 1 but switch the circulation pump off.
  2. Put 8 litres of caustic soda in a full tank and allow the mixture to flow through the pasteuriser and pipes at the maximum flow speed.  You must turn the flow regulator behind the Control Panel anti-clockwise to its maximum.
  3. Take a sample of the chemical solution to the Laboratory to ensure that the caustic soda solution’s strength is between 2 and 2,5%.  If not, correct this.  Make a note of the strength and the temperature on the quality form as well as on the laboratory CIP form.
  4. Allow the cleaning process to circulate in the Fwd (forward) position for 20 minutes.
  5. Switch the Flow Director switch on the pasteuriser panel to Rev and circulate for another 20 minutes.
  6. Switch the Flow Director control back to Fwd and prepare to begin the cleaning process.

Use the following checklist to help you draw up your set of rules.

Answer Yes or No.
Yes No
1.    The instructions are set out in point form.
2.    Each instruction starts with the verb telling the person what or what not to do.
3.    None of the words or instructions are ambiguous (can mean either one thing or something else).
4.    The words are simple, the sentences short.
5.    Even a child would be able to understand the instructions.
6.    The health and safety issues are always addressed.
7.    All technical terms or jargon are clearly explained or defined.
8.    Quantities and measurements are clearly stipulated.

1.2  Different Options For The meanings Of Ambiguous Words Are Tested, & Selected Meanings Are Correct In Relation To The Context.

Cartoons usually contain some form of humour.  This cartoon is about pronunciation, stress and enunciation (pronouncing clearly).  Explain the humour in the cartoon.

If you were to issue these instructions orally, it is important that you use the correct tone of voice.  You thus need to ensure that the person you are instructing knows exactly what is expected of him or her.  You are expecting people to act upon instructions and carry out requests, especially when it comes to taking health and safety precautions into account.  You can therefore not afford to waffle or to be imprecise or inaccurate.  The register (formal or informal) or written format selected must also be at the correct level of formality.

There is no room for ambiguity (has more than one meaning) in instructions.  If the message can mean any one of two things, it can only lead to misinterpretation and confusion.  It is important for the person who has to carry out the instructions to do exactly what is asked of him or her.


Activity 7: Study the following cartoon and explain the ambiguity in the word “fine” in “FINE FOR PARKING HERE” as it stands on the signpost.

Activity 8: Explain the ambiguity in the words “light housekeeping” in the following cartoon.  The word “typo” is an example of slang as it is the shortened from of the full word.  It is also an example of jargon as people in the printing trade commonly use it.  What is it short for and what does it mean? Give the explanation in the space provided in your workbook.

  • Read the following information contained in your company’s Incident Management and Crisis Resolution Procedure.  You have been asked to make a poster containing instructions that relate to the staff, excluding supervisors, managers, person taking roll call and Fire Team Co-ordinator.  Sift through the information and make a note of the instructions that are meant for only the staff that you can put up on the notice board.

Activity 9Make a poster of the information that you will put up on the notice board. Include this in your portfolio of evidence.

1.3 Main Ideas Are Separated From Supporting Evidence & Paraphrased Or Summarised.


Activity 10: Read the following article that appeared in Shelf Life” by Michele Magwood in the Sunday Times of 30 November 2003 and answer the questions that follow in your workbook. The paragraphs have been numbered for convenience.

Blurbs decoded

1.     Where would we be without the “blurbs” on a book’s cover?  How would we know what we are buying if it weren’t for another reader telling us what is contained within?  When you read a lot, you begin to decode the jacket copy.


2.     For example, when the cover features a raving quote from the Times Literary Supplement, you think, “Ah, it’s impenetrable”.  If it’s blurbed by Woman’s Own you know it’s an Aga-saga;  for a gush from Cosmo read “chick-lit”.  And then there are the authors who are asked to lend the weight of their name to a recommendation.  Usually it’s for a book in the same genre in which they write.  Jeffrey Deaver wouldn’t be asked to blurb a Noam Chomsky diatribe, but when he stamps his approval on a new thriller writer you take note.


3.     Here’s another example.  Patricia Schonstein’s latest book A Time of Angels is blurbed by both Joanne Harris and Lily Prior, author of La Cucina.  They are the high priestesses of so-called snack-lit, so you know before you read the first paragraph that there’s going to be lots of sensual food in this book.  More Parmesan than politics.


4.     Of course, there are those cynics who say the blurbs mean something else entirely.  The Bookseller magazine ran a competition inviting readers to decode the clichés.  It threw up some treasures:

·         “Long-awaited” – we’d forgotten he was writing it.

·         “Imaginative” – beyond the bounds of credibility.

·         “Evocative” – makes you wish you were doing something other than reading this.

·         “Heart-rending” – sick-making.

·         Gut-wrenching” – disgustingly violent.

·         “Daring” – disgustingly obscene.

·         “Dazzling” – tricksy typography or no punctuation, or both.

  1. Is the writer being serious?  Give a reason for your answer.
  2. She uses a number of contractions (“it’s” instead of “it is”, “wouldn’t” instead of “would not”, “here’s” instead of “here is”, “there’s” instead of “there is”).  What register has she chosen to use?
  3. Is her choice of register appropriate for this passage?  Give a reason for your answer.
  4. Find three examples of slang in the passage.
  5. Find three examples of jargon in the passage.
  6. “Jacket copy” (paragraph 1) refers to the text that is written on the jacket or cover of a book.  Find a word in the passage that is the slang word for “jacket copy”.
  7. Typography (the last bulleted adjectives in paragraph 4) refers to the type of letters or font that has been used.  Is “typography” an example of slang or jargon?  Give a reason for your choice.
  8. What does the writer mean when she says that you have to “decode” the jacket copy (paragraph 1)?
  9. Do the words “raving quote”, “Aga-saga” (an Aga is an old coal stove and a saga is a long story) and “gush” in paragraph 2 tell you that the content of the reviews will be based on fact (objective) or opinion (subjective)?
  10. What is the writer’s attitude towards magazines like Woman’s Own or Cosmo?  How do you know?  Is she biased towards The Times Literary Supplement?  How do you know?
  11. Is the statement “to lend the weight of their name to a recommendation” an example of a literal or figurative expression?
  12. What does it mean?
  13. Noam Chomsky is a scientist who writes books about linguistic theory or the science of language. A diatribe is a critical piece of writing, usually arguing bitterly against something.  What does Jeffrey Deaver write about?  The clue is in paragraph 2.  Explain why he would not be asked to write the blurb of one of Noam Chomsky’s books.
  14. What do Joanne Harris and Lily Prior write about?
  15. Explain the meaning of “More Parmesan than politics”.
  16. Suggest what you think the book will be about if you read the following descriptions in the blurb about the book:
    • Controversial
    • Ground-breaking
    • Enchanting
    • Thought-provoking
    • Prize-winning
    • From the pen of a master
    • In the tradition of.

17. In one sentence, paraphrase or summarise what you think the article is warning you about.

1.4 The Purpose Of Visual And / Or Graphic Representations In Texts Are Recognised & Explained.


As has already been mentioned, we can also communicate by means of pictures and graphics.

In the health and safety module, you will recall that there are pictorial signs that communicate something to you about environmental health and safety.  For example,

There are also symbols that are commonly recognised in public areas such as the male and female pictorial signs to indicate toilets as well as the disabled sign.

Very often, pictures, graphs or diagrams can help illustrate what you are trying to say.  We have already explored the usefulness of diagrams or mind maps in organising and ordering research material and written communication in a previous module.

1.5 Features Of Visual Texts Are Explained In Relation To The Way They Impact On Meaning.


In the following example, the process of integrated flour and water metering in the baking process is easier to follow if the written word is supported by a diagram.

Graphs are very useful for illustrating written material, especially information that compares statistics, shows proportions, explains sequences or displays a proportion of a total.  There are a number of different kinds of chart.


Charts are easier to read than chunks of words in a text.  For example, distances between places are more easily understood in the form of a chart.


A bar chart (also known as a block graph) is also very useful when comparing statistics.  They are also useful for showing proportions.  For example, if you need to report about how many boxes of three types of fruit juice your company exports, a bar chart will easily show you the one type in relation to the others.


Pie charts

In the following example of a pie chart, in which quarter (three month period) of the year did your export product make the most profit?Pie charts are valuable when you need to display a proportion of a total.  Just think of a chicken pie or a milk tart that you cut into slices or segments.   That is what a pie chart looks like.  Each slice or segment is a proportion or percentage of the whole.  The pie is circular and represents 100%.  If you wanted to show how much profit you made from exports in one year, the circle would represent the year and each quarter would be a percentage of the year.

Line graphs

The following article has been adapted from the Sunday Times of 1st  December 2003.Line graphs are similar to bar charts.  If you take the same information about the three different types of fruit juices in the bar chart example, a line graph format would be as follows.

Head-in-the-sand attitude is certain to result in blinding losses

Many companies fall down on long-term planning for HIV/Aids policies.Veni Naidu, consulting health economist for the Perinatal HIV Research Unit at the University of Cape Town’s School of Economics, says understanding how Aids will affect the supply and demand chain from employees to customers is central to strategic market planning. “The impact of Aids on strategic market planning is something most companies avoid,” she says.“If Aids is excluded from strategic market planning, there may be drastic consequences for organisations. ”But there is scant demographic information about Aids, and almost no data available about the needs of customers living with HIV/Aids or the effect of the virus on households. In 2001, Naidu did a survey among marketers and managers working in the top 100 companies in South Africa.  Naidu found that most organisations had not calculated the direct and indirect cost of Aids and its effect on profitability.  About 21% of organisations indicated they had a one to two-year planning horizon, 42% had a one to three-year planning horizon and 31% a four to five-year planning horizon. “When considering the time-horizon of strategic plans, Aids has a medium to long-term impact on organisations and plans therefore need to be made in the medium to long term,” Naidu says.“From the date of infection, it can take from eight to 10 years to develop full-blown Aids in the absence of treatment.  Deaths from Aids will therefore continue to rise long after HIV has been curbed.”


Activity 11: Illustrate the statistics in the form of a pie chart or a bar chart after you have read the article.
Photographs, pictures, videos and films

There is a saying that a ‘picture is worth a thousand words’.  Do you agree with this statement?  Why?

Compare a picture of a bad accident with a story about a bad accident and decide which has the most impact.  Someone can explain how to clean a machine, but someone showing you a picture of one and pointing out, with the help of an illustration, how to do it, will be easier to understand.  It will also be easier to remember so that when you see the real machine, a picture of it is already in your mind.

It is not true to say a photograph does not tell lies.  Depending on the angle from which the photograph has been taken, and, of course, with a bit of computer manipulation, you can never be sure that what you are seeing is what is actually happening.  You thus have to look at pictures and photographs as carefully as you read people’s words.  They can also be manipulated to suit the purpose of the photographer.

The same applies to films and videos.  The film maker will make use of various techniques to get the effect he wants.  He can zoom into the picture, or he can make use of special sound or lighting effects.  The choice of the type of visuals he decides to use can also be manipulative.


Activity 12The following photograph appeared in the London Telegraph of 5th March 1997.  Have a look at the angle that the photograph was taken from.  First read the caption that describes what is happening in the photograph.  Discuss in your groups whether what you see or think you see is really what happened.  Comment especially on the wordplay (or puns) in the caption.  Do you think the Telegraph is serious?  Why?  Why do you think the photograph was published?




Look in magazines or newspapers for examples of other photographs that attract, amuse or horrify you.

Include the pictures in your portfolio of evidence and discuss the reason for the effect the picture has on you.

2 Use Strategies For Extracting Implicit Messages In Texts

2.1 Source Of Text Is Identified & Discussed In Terms Of Reliability & Possible Bias.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, admirers or circuses everywhere…” Roll up, roll up, roll up to the Circus Extraordinaire, the grandest, most splendid circus in the universe. Death-defying chills on the trapeze, ferocious man-eating animals just arrived from the deepest jungles of South America, big top thrills beyond description, amazing acrobats, dazzling dancers and comical clowns! All of this and much more, all brought to you especially for your enjoyment by the greatest of circuses, the most unique of circuses. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I give you… the Circus Extraordinaire! So come on folks, get your tickets before they’re all sold out. Just step this way for the circus ride of the century.”

This advert for a circus is difficult to resist, and who would want to? A fairy tale world of excitement has been painted. Look at how the words have been used. They are not factual, but exaggerated, persuasive and emotive. Clearly, language is a powerful tool.

Concept: Emotive language persuades us to adopt the point of view of the writer or speaker. It influences, manipulates and creates emotions in people.

The Media

Fact and Opinion

Learning to distinguish between fact and opinion puts us in a good position to judge whether we are being manipulated or not. A fact is something that is known to be true; an opinion is a judgement or estimation. It expresses a point of view. Language is a mixture of fact and opinion. Usually a writer will make more use of one than the other, depending upon their intention. Can you say whether the following are facts or opinions?

  • Thabo Mbeki is the second president of a democratic South Africa
  • Soweto is an acronym for South-Western Townships
  • The Vaal river is one of South Africa’s main arteries
  • The most famous South African is Desmond Tutu
  • South Africa became a republic in 1961
  • Bloemfontein is the legislative capital of South Africa
  • Es’kia Mphahlele is South Africa’s best writer of fiction

Numbers 1,2,3 and 5 are facts, they can be proven; numbers 4 and 7 are opinions. But what do you make of number 6? It looks like a fact, but the information is incorrect. Bloemfontein is actually the judicial capital of South Africa. You should not believe everything you read. When you are uncertain, you need to do some research.

 Advertising aims at providing information about a particular product or service. It describes and promotes products or services in order to persuade people to buy or use them. Advertisers compete with one another. Therefore, they have to promote their products in exciting, innovative and attention-grabbing ways. We need to be aware of the ways in which this is done. Then we will not be manipulated into buying products or services we don’t need. The discussion of advertising has been divided into four sections, Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. Advertising aims at:

  • Attracting the Attention of a specific audience
  • Arousing and maintaining Interest
  • Creating a Desire for the product
  • Manipulating the consumer into taking Action

Attention is vital for the advertiser to obtain from their consumers. It can be attracted by :

  • Eye catching images or pictures
  • Clever use of language
  • Posing a question
  • Catchy headlines
  • An attractive layout


Activity 13Select an advertisement from a newspaper or magazine and paste it in the area below. Underline or highlight the area which you feel is meant to capture the attention of the reader.


Once the prospective customer’s attention has been attracted the advertisement must sustain their Interest. The consumer must feel compelled to read on. Let’s look at two ways of doing this:

Visual techniques

  • Cartoons
  • Statistics
  • Colourful, attractive photographs
  • Unusual layouts
  • Graphs
  • Outline diagrams

 Linguistic techniques

  • Punchy headlines and captions
  • Repetition
  • Opinion stated as fact
  • Distorted language
  • Rhetorical questions
  • Puns
  • Clichés
  • Alliteration
  • Jingles and catchy songs
  • Slogans
  • Unusual trade names
  • Emotive language
  • Exaggeration
  • Incomplete sentences
  • Jargon
  • Technical language

Let’s look at some examples.

Tippex – for life’s little mistakes A play upon words. Mistake has two meanings. Firstly, a mistake in life; secondly, a mistake in writing something down.
Go Grabba burger now There are two techniques here. Distorted language; “grab a” has been changed to “grabba” which is catchy. Alliteration, with the repetition of the letter “g”.


Activity 14Get an advertisement from a newspaper or magazine and paste it in the block below. Underline or highlight the area which you feel is used to maintain the interest of the reader.


You must be familiar with these three terms in order to understand the effects of emotive language.

Concept: Subjectivity is an approach that is based on a person’s emotions and beliefs. It is not neutral because it conveys personal experiences and feelings.

Objectivity is a state that is neutral and impartial. It reveals a point of view that is not distorted by personal bias. Bias is a deliberate, irrational conviction not based on evidence. Another word for bias is prejudice. If you are prejudiced, you have formed an opinion that is not based on fact. Let’s look at some newspaper headlines from 1989. Both headlines describe an action by the members of the Mass Democratic Movement (a political party of the 80’s and 90’s) who swam on Durban’s Addington and South beaches. Under apartheid policy these beaches were reserved for Whites.


Police and MDM lauded for handling of massive protest  

Minor incidents as peaceful mass gathering shows its defiance



The headline from “The Citizen” shows the newspapers’ viewpoint. The emotive word “invade” has a military connotation, and suggests that the action of the crowd is illegal. The newspaper clearly disapproves of the protest, and its approach is subjective. Later on in the article, the smaller heading “10 Held for showing ANC flag” reinforces the idea of illegality. However, an objective approach is shown by “The Daily News”. It reports both sides of the story and the choice of words is not emotive. The intention of the headline is to convey information in an unbiased way.

TIP: subjective language generally makes more use of adjectives than objective language.

Activity 15Let’s read the following newspaper headlines and identify whether they are subjective or objective, give a reason for your answer.





Now let’s see how well it went.

  • A sensational work of fiction – the adjective “sensational” arouses emotions of disapproval, therefore this is subjective
  • Cigarette manufacturer admits smoking kills this admission is factual and the gist of the article is reported, therefore it is objective.
  • Tsafenda’s sad life pity is evoked by the use of the word “sad”, therefore it is subjective
  • Jacky Selebi appointed Commissioner of Police – a simple fact is reported without an emotion, therefore it is objective.
  • Key Unita bases captured – two facts are reported. The use of the metaphor “key” shows the importance of the bases, therefore it is objective.
  • Sensitive coastal area in danger from devastating fire – the adjective “devastating” shows how much danger the coastal area is in. It also shows the writer’s concern and distress. “Sensitive” indicates the area’s importance.


2.2 Attitudes, Beliefs & Intentions Are Explored In Order To Determine The Point Of View Expressed Either Directly Or Indirectly.


Advertising aims at providing information about a particular product or service. It describes and promotes products or services in order to persuade people to buy or use them. Advertisers compete with one another. Therefore, they have to promote their products in exciting, innovative and attention-grabbing ways. We need to be aware of the ways in which this is done. Then we will not be manipulated into buying products or services we don’t need. The discussion of advertising has been divided into four sections, Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. Advertising aims at:

  • Attracting the Attention of a specific audience
  • Arousing and maintaining Interest
  • Creating a Desire for the product
  • Manipulating the consumer into taking Action

Attention is vital for the advertiser to obtain from their consumers. It can be attracted by :

  • Eye catching images or pictures
  • Clever use of language
  • Posing a question
  • Catchy headlines
  • An attractive layout
Activity 16Select an advertisement from a newspaper or magazine and paste it in the area below. Underline or highlight the area which you feel is meant to capture the attention of the reader.

2.3 Techniques Are Explored & Explained In Terms Of Purpose & Audience.


Once the prospective customer’s attention has been attracted the advertisement must sustain their Interest. The consumer must feel compelled to read on. Let’s look at two ways of doing this:

Visual techniques

  • Cartoons
  • Statistics
  • Colourful, attractive photographs
  • Unusual layouts
  • Graphs
  • Outline diagrams

  Linguistic techniques

  • Punchy headlines and captions
  • Repetition
  • Opinion stated as fact
  • Distorted language
  • Rhetorical questions
  • Puns
  • Clichés
  • Alliteration
  • Jingles and catchy songs
  • Slogans
  • Unusual trade names
  • Emotive language
  • Exaggeration
  • Incomplete sentences
  • Jargon
  • Technical language

Let’s look at some examples.

Tippex – for life’s little mistakes A play upon words. Mistake has two meanings. Firstly, a mistake in life; secondly, a mistake in writing something down.
Go Grabba burger now There are two techniques here. Distorted language; “grab a” has been changed to “grabba” which is catchy. Alliteration, with the repetition of the letter “g”.
Simply the best – by far A slogan is used to make the line more memorable for the readers to remember
Your safety is our security A slogan makes the line more attention grabbing. The alliteration of the letter “s” also brings the slogan to our attention. Emotive language – “safety and security” – also serves to catch our attention.
Looking for an easy way to get your money across the boundary? Standard Bank Cricket. Limited overs. Unlimited action. Here a number of techniques are used. Investing money off-shore is cleverly advertised by the use of the cricketing term “boundary”. We think immediately of the word “border” in this context. A play upon words is employed. Incomplete sentences make the advertisement easy to read. Opposite states, limited and unlimited, makes us concentrate on the advertisement.


Advertisers also appeal to the basic human desires or needs, and try to satisfy them. Take a look at this table, which lists some basic human needs.

Conformity To be like many others
Exclusivity To be different
Greed To get things cheaply
Gluttony To eat well
Sex appeal To be attractive to the opposite sex
Security To be safe
Envy To want what others have
Success To obtain material wealth, status and fame
Mother love To care for members of the family unit
Health To have a fit and sound body
Modernity To have the latest and newest objects
Hero worship To be like a famous person
Easy living To have comfort in everyday living
Beauty To be good looking and youthful

2.4  Promotion Of, Or Support For, A Particular Line Of Thought / Cause Is Identified & Explained With Reference To Selection Or Omission Of Materials.



Satire ridicules and mocks humanity’s vices, follies, stupidities and abuses. To ridicule, is to make fun of, or to deride. By doing this, satirists hope to change people’s actions, attitudes or beliefs. The satirist wants to make the reader laugh or feel scornful, admit the accuracy of the accusation and then bring about change. The satirist makes use of irony. They confront the reader with the discrepancy between what characters say and do, and what we understand by their actions. The follies of modern society are the targets of satire: war, racism, pollution, politics, the family, greed and selfishness. Mostly, cartoon and comics are the vehicles used in satire, today. Read through the following section and answer the questions below, based on it.


The Garbage Makers New York – A mother whale and father whale were swimming along the coast with their adolescent son whale when the mother sighted a school of people on the beach. “What’s that?” asked the son whale, who had never seen a school of people before, or even a stray person. “That’s people, son,” said the father whale. “You see them all up and down the coast at this time of the year. They cover themselves with oil, and lie up there on the sand and boil themselves until they sizzle.” “Why did the Great Whale make people anyhow?” asked the son whale. “There are some things” said the mother whale “that even whales can’t understand. We must accept the world as it is, and live in harmony with it.” The father whale called their attention to a small group of people who had detached themselves from the school and who were getting into a metal box mounted on wheels. When they were all inside, the metal box moved along the beach throwing up a great cloud of sand and destroying vegetation and birds’ nests. At that moment six beer cans came flying out the box, followed by a bag containing half a hot dog, a mustard jar, some banana peels and an empty plastic body-oil container. “Maybe that’s the reason the Great Whale made people,” said the young whale “to make garbage.” “The world doesn’t need garbage,” growled the father whale. “Your father has been very sensitive about garbage,” the mother whale explained, “ever since he dived into 800 tons of fresh sludge that had just been dumped off the New Jersey coast. Your father and I were not happy. He smelled like a sewer for weeks.” The whales made for deep, distant water and later that night, as they drifted off the Gulf Stream, admiring the stars, a large ship passed by and spilled oil over them, but they remained in harmony with the world as it was, and afterwards dreamed of those unfortunate people far behind them making garbage through the sweet summer night.


Activity 17: Now, let’s look at the questions below:

Do you feel that this is merely humorous and light hearted or do you think it is satirical?




Explain your answer be referring to the content, intention and tone of the article.___________________________________________________________________________



Refer to one example in the passage that you found to be funny and explain the humour.




3 Respond To Selected Texts In A Manner Appropriate To The Context


3. Instructions & Requests Are Acted Upon.

Reading and responding to texts depends heavily on the type of text that is being dealt with, by the reader. We are most commonly used to the straight forward question-answer scenarios where there are facts that we have to retrieve from the text or messages. Let’s study the following diagram and answer the questions, based on the information derived from them.

Circle A is non-drinkers

Circle B stands for athletes

Circle C stands for people who

speak English

Circle D stands for pilots

Circle E stands for smokers



Activity 18:Which of the following statements, according to the diagram, are True, which are False and which are not given?
Some English speaking athletes drink
The majority of non-drinkers are athletes
Most cigarette smokers are English speaking
A few English speakers are drinkers
Most English speakers are athletes
Some pilots smoke cigarettes
No athlete smokes
Many English speakers are pilots
No athlete drinks
All smokers drink


3.2 Text-type, Format & Register Used Are On The Appropriate Level Of Formality.

In most situations and upon receipt of written communication, you will be expected to react upon the information provided to you. Your reaction may be in the form of a written response back to the sender of the information or as an act to carry out the instructions provided in the text. In any event, you will be required to understand the instructions clearly and act upon the information. The accuracy of the information and the manner in which it is presented will determine whether you will clearly understand the instructions and the required actions which needed to be taken.

BRAINSTORM ACTIVITY:  Brainstorm the impact on the receiver of the communication if the information / instructions provided to them in the form of written text are not accurate or is not presented in an easy to understand format.


4 Explore & Explain How Language Structures & Features May Influence A Reader / Viewer


4.1 The Choice Of Words / Signs, Language Usage, Symbols, Pictures & Tone / Sign Size & Pace Is Described In Terms Of How A Point Of View Is Shaped Or Supported.


Activity 19: Find an article in a newspaper, paste it in the block and highlight areas you think relevant to the above items.
LANGUAGE-Making use of figurative expressions, repetition, hyperbole, typography and grammar, you can manipulate your language use to ensure it attracts and maintains the attention of your listeners or readers, constantly in order for you to successfully deliver your message
AUDIENCE-Taking into consideration what the cultural biasness, religion, sex, age and race is of your audience is, will ensure that you can aim the text directly at them. by knowing who it is that you are communicating with, you will be able to communicate much more effectively.
INTENTION-Your intentions for the text must be met in order for your text to be successful. therefore it is of utmost importance for you to make use of items such as omission and silence, figurative expressions, silences, stereotyping to draw the receivers to your intention so that they understand what you require of them.
STYLE-This is the way that you select and put words together into sentences. style is also indicated by the text being concrete or abstract, concise or wordy, clear or ambiguous, personal or impersonal, active or passive.
TONE-This is the attitude of the sender towards the receiver and the material being communicated. Tone is reflected mostly in the choice of vocabulary.
REGISTER-The level of language used will be aimed at the level according to the intended audience. When you are too formal with the register of your text, an informal audience will not understand and comprehend your communication. When humour, sarcasm and visuals are used, the writer must ensure that they are at the level of his / her audience