Glossary (Version 8.4)

Adapt or change.

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’).

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’)

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.

The atmosphere or feeling in a particular text. For example, a text might create a sombre, reflective, exhilarating or menacing mood or atmosphere depending on the imagery or other language used.

The smallest meaningful or grammatical unit in 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.

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