Glossary (Version 8.4)

Spoken, print, graphic or electronic communications with a public audience. They often involve numerous people in their construction and are usually shaped by a technology used in their production. Media texts studied in English can be found in newspapers, magazines and on television, film, radio, computer software and the internet.

A resource used in the production of texts, including tools and materials used (for example, digital text and a computer, writing and a pen or a typewriter).

Vocabulary used to discuss language conventions and use (for example, language used to talk about grammatical terms such as ‘sentence’, 'clause’, 'conjunction').

A use of the name of one thing or attribute of something to represent something larger or related (for example, using a word ‘Crown’ to represent a monarch of a country; referring to a place for an event, as in ‘Chernobyl’ when referring to changed attitudes to nuclear power, or a time for an event, as in ‘9/11’ when referring to changed global relations).

A verb that expresses a degree of probability attached by a speaker or writer to a statement (for example, ‘I might come home’); or a degree of obligation (for example, ‘You must give it to me’).

An area of meaning having to do with possibility, probability, obligation and permission. In the following examples, the modal meanings are expressed by the auxiliary verbs ‘must’ and ‘may’:

  • Sue may have written the note. (possibility)
  • Sue must have written the note. (probability)
  • You must postpone the meeting. (obligation)
  • You may postpone the meeting. (permission)

Modality can also be expressed by several different kinds of words:

  • adverbs (for example, ‘possibly’, ‘necessarily’, ‘certainly’, ‘perhaps’)
  • adjectives (for example, ‘possible’, ‘probable’, ‘likely’, ‘necessary’)
  • nouns (for example, ‘possibility’, ‘necessity’, ‘obligation’)
  • modal verbs (for example, ‘permit’, ‘oblige’).

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.

A long speech or discourse given by a single character in a story, movie, play or by a performer.

The smallest meaningful or grammatical unit in a language. Morphemes are not necessarily the same as words. The word ‘cat’ has one morpheme, while the word ‘cats’ has two morphemes: ‘cat’ for the animal and ‘s’ to indicate that there is more than one. Similarly, ‘like’ has one morpheme, while ‘dislike’ has two: ‘like’ to describe appreciation and ‘dis’ to indicate the opposite. Morphemes are very useful in helping students work out how to read and spell words.

A knowledge of morphemes, morphemic processes and different forms and combinations of morphemes (for example, the word ‘unfriendly’ is formed from the stem ‘friend’, the adjective-forming suffix ‘-ly’ and the negative prefix ‘un-’).

A combination of two or more communication modes (for example, print, image and spoken text, as in film or computer presentations).