Essential English




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.


The group of readers, listeners or viewers that the writer, designer, filmmaker or speaker is addressing. Audience includes students in the classroom, an individual, the wider community, review writers, critics and the implied audience.

Comprehension strategies

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.

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.

Digital texts

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.


The shape and structure of texts (for example, poetry, novels, short stories, film).


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 rise and fall of one’s voice when speaking; sometimes used for emphasis.

Language features

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.

Language patterns

The arrangement of identifiable repeated or corresponding elements in a text. These include patterns of repetition or similarity (for example, the repeated use of verbs at the beginning of each step in a recipe, or the repetition of a chorus after each verse in a song). The patterns may alternate (for example, the call and response pattern of some games, or the to and fro of a dialogue). Other patterns may contrast (for example, opposing viewpoints in a discussion, or contrasting patterns of imagery in a poem). The language patterns of a text contribute to the distinctive nature of its overall organisation and shape its meaning.

Media texts

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’).


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.

Multimodal text

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.


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.

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.


The degree of formality or informality of language used for a particular purpose or in a particular social setting

Rhetorical devices

Language techniques used in argument to persuade audiences (for example, rhetorical questions, repetition, propositions, figurative language).


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.

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.


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 and lexical choice.

Text structures

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.


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.

Analytical texts

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.

Imaginative texts

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.

Interpretive texts

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.

Persuasive texts

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.

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