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IB English Language and Literature. Language and Power. Objective. Analyse how audience and purpose affect the structure and content of texts. Language and Power. One of the many uses of language is to exert power over others through the use of language.

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IB English Language and Literature

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Analyse how audience and purpose affect the structure and content of texts

language and power
Language and Power

One of the many uses of language is to exert power over others through the use of language.

Power may be wielded for various reasons, such as creating allegiance to a political stance or decision, defining identities, or naming categories to include or exclude.

The use of one style of language over another in various situations demonstrates where allegiances lie and who holds power.


How does someone exert their power through language?

Can language ever be used to gain power?

How do titles, groupings or terminology to identify groups help to promote or hinder a particular group's interests?

find define and apply
Find, define and apply

Use a dictionary to find and define the following words. Once you have done this, apply your understanding of the word into a sentence.





In pairs, look at the following pictures and for each one, make notes on the power and control which comes from the poster.

Think about the image and the use of language

Be prepared to feedback your ideas to the class.


Comment on the use of image and text in this poster.

*One people, one empire and one leader

language of war
Language of war

Just as every industry has its jargon, every region has its accent and every social group has its slang, so too does war have its unique use of language. We are talking about the kind of language that is used to manipulate people and make them believe in a cause that may not even affect them. We are talking about the kind of language that political leaders use in private telephone conversations. We are talking about the use of euphemisms, bias and epithet used in newspaper reports on tragedy and violence.

challenge the language of war
Challenge:The Language of War
  • Your task is to consider the five different texts and think about deconstructing their use of language and image. They are all based on the Iraq War. Watch and read carefully, being conscious of the linguistic devices being used. Use the following prompts to help with your analysis:
  • Who is the target audience?
  • Which specific vocabulary has been used to affect the content of the text?
  • What is the purpose of the text?
  • Are there any specific stylistic features on display?
  • What technical devices have been used and what is the effect of them? i.e. use of modal verbs (commanding words), repetition, metaphor, hyperbole etc
home challenge
Home challenge

Work in pairs to create your own War propaganda poster.

This could be done via Photoshop, Google images etc

Think about who your target audience is and the choice of language you wish to convey

Due Weds 11th Sept

linguistic imperialism
Linguistic imperialism

Discussion task:

Do you think learning English is a benefit or a hindrance to the education of a child?

source pakistan ruined by language myth
Source: Pakistan ruined by language myth

Read the following opinion column on how the learning of English is having an impact on the students of Pakistan.

Once you have read the extract, make a list of points that you found insightful or worthy for discussion.

Be prepared to share your ideas with the class.

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/education/2012/jan/10/pakistan-language-crisis?guni=Article:in%20body%20link

a blog
A blog

A blog is a web log that is published onto the Internet that consists of posts usually by an individual or occasionally a small group. A blog is very similar to a diary entry; the only difference between them is that a blog is published, usually available for the public to read.

Example - http://onsportz.blogspot.hk/


Using the source material as your inspiration, create a blog which gives your comments and opinion on the impact of linguistic imperialism.

You can think of any example you choose; for example, the impact of English teaching in China and the effects of this on its people and culture. This should be 300-500 words.

Example - http://languagerichblog.eu/2013/04/22/english-and-linguistic-imperialism-time-to-move-on-2/