NCEA Language Features (Level 1)

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created 7 years ago by kiwispouse
poetic langauge features for senior students sitting NCEA Unfamiliar Text exam (Year 11)
updated 5 years ago by kiwispouse
Grade levels:
9th grade, 10th grade, 11th grade, 12th grade
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Compares two things using "like" or "as"

The milk was as curdled AS cottage cheese.

Creates imagery of lumpy, stinky milk.



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Says that one thing IS something else

"There's a fire in my heart and you fan it, Janet." (Rocky Horror Picture Show)

Emphasises the passion Rocky feels for Janet. (His heart aches like it is on fire. Her beauty makes it hurt/burn more.)



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When the first sound of two or more words is the same.

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.

The repetitive plosive /p/ sound makes Peter sound quite busy Picking those Peppers! (like fast breathing/exhaling.)



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When the text refers to another person, place, text.

When John said "I have a dream..." in his student rep speech, he was alluding to Martin Luther King, Jr's speech. He used this to try and give his speech gravity/seriousness.



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The repetition of internal vowel sounds.

The thUnder rUmbled all night long.

The deep "UH" sound reinforces the long, deep rumbling of the thunder.



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An expression that has been overused, but now everyone knows what it means.

I'm so hungry I could eat a horse!

This one lets you know that I am VERY hungry!



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The feeling that goes with the word (not what the word actually means).

Your room is a PIGSTY!

You understand that your room is very dirty, not that you have been moved to the barn.



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The use of three full stops (...) to show something has been omitted (left out) or that time has passed.

"Four years later..."


Emotive Language

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Words that give us a "gut feeling" like love, hate, or terrorist.



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Exaggeration, often used as humour, for effect.

I will DIE if she don't ask me to dance.



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To put things side by side (sometimes they don't look like they "go" together).

The BABY DADDY on "16 and Pregnant" tends to run off in the end because he can't take the responsibility.

Putting together Baby and Daddy creates a third concept.


(neo = new)

To create a new word.

He's so SKUX!

The new word becomes accepted and eventually is no longer a neologism. Email was once one of these.



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Words that sound like what they mean.

Sizzle, buzz, moo, purr.



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Two words that don't "go" together (contradictory words), put together to give a new meaning.

The living dead; seriously funny.


First Person Point of View (POV)

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Characterised by the use of "I," "me," "my."

The girl turned and looked directly into my eyes.

Limits the story to just what that character sees, hears, knows. Potential to be unreliable.


2nd Person POV

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Characterised by "you."

"You are at a nightclub talking to a girl with a shaved head." (Bright Lights, Big City)

Intended to create intimacy between narrator and reader, but can also make the reader feel powerless.


3rd Person POV

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Characterised by "he" or "she." Can be omnipotent or limited.

She glanced, sideways, at the old couple. Perhaps they would go soon. Last Sunday, too, hadn't been as interesting as usual. An Englishman and his wife, he wearing a dreadful Panama hat and she button boots. And she'd gone on the whole time about how she ought to wear spectacles; she knew she needed them; but that it was no good getting any; they'd be sure to break and they'd never keep on. And he'd been so patient. He'd suggested everything--gold rims, the kind that curve round your ears, little pads inside the bridge. No, nothing would please her. "They'll always be sliding down my nose!" Miss Brill had wanted to shake her. ("Miss Brill," by Katherine Mansfield)



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Playful device where words with different meanings are used (or one word with several meanings).

I'm so good at sleeping, that I could do it with my eyes closed! (hahaha)



Words that have SIMILAR (but not always the same - remember "connotation?") meanings.

Wonderful, Terrific, Fantastic.



Words that have opposite meanings.

Terrific, Awful. Good, Bad. Nice, Mean.



The main idea. Be very careful when considering this; it is not one of the examples IN the text, but the overall view of the text itself.



The overall "feeling" of the piece, based on the word choice. Is he serious? Comic? Ironic?



Slang that is particular to a location.

Hey - will you SHOUT me lunch?

New Zealanders use "shout," but you would not hear this expression in the United States. These can help establish setting.



Casual, informal language. Often linked to young people, or a particular sub-culture.

Yeah, bro, I get you.

A writer uses informal language to try and reach his audience on their level, so it doesn't seem like he's talking down to them.



A command, often seen in advertising.

Don't delay - buy now!

These encourage you to take action. Can also be seen in persuasive writing, when the author makes a "call to action" near the end of the piece.



The use of words/phrases more than once (on purpose, not because they can't think of a synonym).

I have told you, over and over and over, how important it is to do your homework.

Adds conviction to what is being said. Particularly effective in oral texts.



Similar to slang, except this language is used within a specialist field.

For example, computer technicians don't say "turn it on," they say "boot it up." They don't say "turn it off," they say "shut it down."

Used to set a group apart, or identify with a certain group.



Used to make less-nice concepts acceptable to certain audiences.

For example, you wouldn't say, "Hey, I hear your old man kicked it." You would, because it is more polite, say: "I'm sorry to hear your father PASSED AWAY."

But euphemisms can also be funny: kicked the bucket, sucked a kumara, took a dirt nap, turned toes up, etc. Humour can help take the sting out of a painful situation.



Using several items in a row, often in the same form (like -ing words in this sample).

The car kept travelling, rolling, trundling down the road, even without a driver!

The use of this technique adds detail that reinforces a concept - the car kept going, although slower and slower, even though there was no one piloting it.


Minor sentences

A short, purposeful sentence without a subject, or without a verb. Often the missing bit is unspoken, but understood.

"Three." (meaning: It's three o'clock."

Often used to create the effect of a real conversation.



Easily identifiable.

Kiwi Male: wears gumboots, shorts, and doesn't say much.

Nurse: wears white; is caring, helpful, nice.

Often used in advertising. Sets scene very quickly. Very simple message.



Deliberate use of understatement. Very common in NZ culture.

Q: How was dinner?
A: It was ok. (Means: It was good, I'd eat it again.)

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