Sample commentary on Kwame Nkrumah Speech AS level-paper-1

Kwame Nkrumah skillfully manifests his rhetorical skills to persuade his country men manipulating varied possibilities and conventions of language. He opens his talk vividly pointing out the ‘means’ to achieve his objective, ‘African unity’ that is compared uni vocally  to ‘political kingdom’. this metaphor and frequent usage of ‘our people’, ‘our own’ and ‘we’ creates a sense of belonging and subsequent unity.

He makes an obvious assault on the ‘western colonial manipulation  of Africa’ when he makes an anaphoric statement, ‘ills of the past’ and the apt metaphor, “the milch cow’ of the western world’. He admonishes his listeners to channelize ‘their resentment’ for the betterment of the nation. By exposing some facts about western economy such as ‘basic economic might of the foreign powers-comes from our continent’ urges Africans to realize their own self worth.

Rhetorical questions with metaphors of the ‘opresser’ ( western colonials) such as ‘what need is there for us to remain hewers of wood and drawers of water for the industrialized world’ aimed at igniting the dormant spirit of Africans. Consecutive direct statements in the second paragraph also serve the purpose.

The speaker shows a clear-cut awareness of the need of the hour and relevant when he says ‘ at the tempo demanded by today’s events and mood of our people’. He also brings out the glaring contradictions in the views and perspectives of the other parts of the world about Africa. He unfolds the per-conceived notions  of non African races and the Western world in particular.Thus the facts and figures in the 3rd and 4th paragraphs would be an eye-opener for Africans to realize their own mammoth potentials.

The repetition ‘we have resources’ boosts listener’s morale. Another idiomatic usage ‘ tackle the by the horn’ persuades his people to rise and act in unison for a common purpose.

He comes up with a realistic and authentic action plan when he says, ‘with capital controlled by our own banks, harnessed to our own true industrial development’ and it advocates the need for self-reliance and self-governess. By using the metaphors of ‘parasite’ and a ‘disease’ which Africans need to ‘get rid of and ‘to cure’. He attacks colonial invasion and subsequent exploitation of western countries.

Moreover, by craft fully using same syntactical patterning at the concluding paragraph to convince, mobilize and unite Africans to a ‘pan African unity’ the speaker succeeded to evoke a sense of clarity in his mission and vision of his country and people at large.









10 essentials of successful writing

Hi friends, please do watch this video and believe me  that it will definitely  improve your writing skills.


The following links also would help you to read articles on successful writing techniques.

commentary writing link to a video

Hi, AS level students, the following websites and blogs would definitely help you to come up with an effective commentary.



Commentary on the passage, “Traveller’s Check

Traveller’s check

The passage below describes the writer’s journey on the North Borneo Railway.

Task: Comment on the style and language of the passage.

Travel, as we know today, had its roots with the appearance of trains. The train opened up the countryside and people could head off for a day’s outing away from the city.

Thomas Cook was the first travel agent who organised groups of travelers to head off into England’s Lake District for some rest and creation. Since, then, we haven’t looked back and now there are few areas on the planet where people haven’t left their mark.

Some of us still seek out a ‘puffin billy’ experience as part of our travels. The North Borneo Railway in Sabah, East Malaysia, is the only rail trunk on the island of Borneo… these few hundred kilometers of track are a paradise for those who dream of trains. There are two choices – the daily train to the small settlement of Temon or the twice-weekly tourist train to Papar. ‘Trainheads’ won’t need any convincing to do both trips at least once.

The renovated North Borneo Railway operates a journey south from Tanjung Aru in Kota Kinabalu along a narrow rickety train line to Papar some 66 kilometres away. Looking around the train, it’s easy to see that some of the passengers fall into the ‘lunatic fringe, fanatical steam train devotees’  category while others appear to have only a passing interest in the nostalgia of a mode of transport that has slipped into near oblivion….the train accommodates 180 passengers in fully renovated colonial-style train carriages… The railway recreates the experience of a bygone era in the land once known as British North Borneo. It’s like a time capsule transporting passengers along what was once the lifeline for people living here.

Sample commentary plan

Writer’s purpose and audience

This is to persuade readers of the attraction of travel on this railway. The audience is the general public and those interested in travel.


Tone is persuasive


Think about ‘head off’, ‘puffin billy’, ‘trainheads’, ‘rickety’. ‘lunatic fringe’, ‘fanatical’, ‘nostalgia’ and ‘oblivion’.

Figures of speech

Think about ‘traveller’s check’, ‘opened up’, ‘paradise’, ‘devotees’, ‘time capsule’. Think also about pun, metaphor, simile, hyperbole, idiom and contrast.


Think about paragraphing.

Sample commentary

The writer’s purpose is to give information about the renovated North Borneo Railway and to persuade readers to try it. The tone is persuasive and relatively light-hearted. The pun in the title establishes light-heartedness: ‘traveller’s check’ is both the possible means of paying one’s way in travel and the link with the information to follow about the railway.

The attraction of train travel is outlined in the opening paragraph; the metaphor of ‘opened up the countryside’ makes train travel attractive by suggesting new discoveries or the revelation of something concealed until now. ‘Head off is light-hearted and gives the idea that travel is relaxing and freedom-giving. The mention of Thomas Cook in the second paragraph gives historical accuracy and therefore credibility to train travel as something tried  and tested.

The idiom ‘puffin billy’ in the third paragraph is informal; the informality gives the passage an easy feel to it, a user-friendly approach. Train travel is for everyone. The metaphor ‘paradise’ to describe the railway in North Borneo makes the countryside through which it passes seem idyllic., the most beautiful place on earth, or even a beauty which transcends earth. The structure of the rest of the paragraph makes it easy to follow the rest of the passage, because the writer outlines the two options for travel on the railway, which then makes it possible to devote a paragraph to one of them. The idiom ‘trainheads’ must mean those who love train travel; again, the informal tone makes train travel seem accessible to ordinary people, and the newness of the idiom makes train travel seem modern and possibly an attraction for the young, who are the kind of people to invent new language or slang.

In the fourth paragraph the vocabulary ‘narrow rickety’ is used to describe the train. Normally, these adjectives would not enhance an overall description, but in this case the train is made to seem attractively old-fashioned, as if the privilege of having such a historical experience makes the discomfort of ‘narrow’ and ‘rickety’ more of a pleasure than a pain. The ’lunatic fringe’, fanatical steam train devotees’ adds a note of humour to the passage; ‘devotees’ raises train travel to an almost religious level which is clearly exaggeration or hyperbole. ‘Lunatic fringe’ is humorous because it suggests that those who like train travel are in some way mentally deranged. Contrast is established when the writer goes on to describe the other, completely different type of travelers (those with only a passing interest):  therefore it can be seen that train travel is for all, and so every reader is included as a possible traveller, adding to the persuasive tone of the passage. The vocabulary captures the history and therefore the credibility of train travel in words such as ‘nostalgia’ and ‘oblivion’ with their connotations of long time scales. A simile describing the train as being ‘like a capsule’ makes the train seem old-fashioned, by suggesting that a trip on it is not only through this part of Malaysia but back through history to a time pre-dating our own modern trains. The metaphor ‘lifeline’ comes from the literal idea of throwing a drowning person a rope with which to be pulled ashore; thus, the vital importance of the railway to people’s way of life is underpinned.



Commentaray on the passage “Birches

The writer of ‘Birches’ uses a simple theme of swinging trees to encapsulate a variety of weighty ideas skimming through his mind; the careless and happy life of children compared to the challenges of adult life; life and death and truth and imagination. The vast use of figures of speech and the personal voice of the poet make this piece of writing effective in bringing across the thoughts and feelings of the poet as well as the contrast between these varies ideas.

Thefirst section of the poem can be described as a ‘battle’ between truth and imagination, the writer knows that it is ice storms that are responsible for the bending of the trees, yet he likes to imagine it is caused by a boy who swings on them. This swinging movement can be seen in the structure of the poem, where the topic seems to shift from the ice storms to the boy, consequently back to the ice storms and so on.

The writer remembers his careless childhood where he used to climb birchesjust for fun. Now as an adult, he sees ‘climbing branches’ as asuperior escape from life’s problems. This idea is conserved in the simile ‘it’s when I’m weary of considerations and life is too much like a pathless wood’. Thanks to this figure of speech, it can be seen the writer is experiencing problems in life, he finds it ‘pathless’ and he is lost not knowing what to do next, yet nostalgia is present; as the writer says he ‘dreams of going back to be’ a child. This is a very personal account, which effectively reveals the feelings of the writer; he misses the past and is quite overwhelmed by the troubles of adulthood.

The metaphor of swinging, as a movement between two contradicting ideas present throughout the whole piece has its climax in the last part of the poem. It is said ‘I’d like…coming back’. He wants to leave Earth by ‘climbing a birch tree’, and be able to rest from his problems, yet he isnot ready to die and wants to be able to return back to Earth after. This is why the birch tree is the perfect ‘vehicle’, it will take him all the way up above Earth, yet then swing him back down when he is ready.  The black branches which he climbs up the snow white trunk may symbolise all the troubles he has to pass in his journey of life on Earth.

The upward movement is away from Earth, the problems, the ‘Truth’ and into the world of tree tops, heaven, imagination, where all Earth’s problems seem small, and the downward movement symbolises reality, coming back to the grey world. This movement between both is present in the whole poem; in the description of the trees bending under ice, the upwards movement – imagination, that the boy is swinging the trees, and the downwards -reality, the ice storms;it is also present in the memory of childhood, the good, carefree times, and the downwards movement when reality brings him back to Earth and reminds him of all his ‘weary considerations’ he faces now as an adult.

The last line of the poem, ‘one could do worse than be a swinger of branches’ justifies his feelings, capturing the message the whole poem is trying to bring across – that it is nothing bad to imagine, to wear off into the world of dreams and good memories, and that sometimes that is the only escape we have from our current problems and worries.

595 words

Prose Non-Fiction: Commentary on advertisements


Both these advertisements, though aimed at considerably diverse audiences, exploit effective, positive language and a personal, direct mode of address to encourage the reader to apply for the job. They both attempt to create a good image of themselves and present the job as animmense opportunity for the applicants.

Advertisement A is aimed at a relatively young ‘active’ audience, yet one that already has ‘experience’ in marketing and possesses ‘excellent all round marketing skills’. This may indicate the business aims at people of any sex, in their thirties; with a lot of vitality, who already hold significant skills in marketing.

Advertisement B is also aimed at young people, who have already worked in a ‘middle management experience’, but may not be as skilled as those candidates required in ad A, people who wish to develop their careers, to take a ‘jump to a higher level’ into a big ‘ progressive’ business.

Ad A begins with a short sentence which states that this is a ‘major financial group’ with offices all over the United Kingdom.  This already makes the reader think ‘This is something big’ and motivates him to continue reading and considering applying for the job.

TCP Holdings uses phrases like ‘keyrole’,‘dual responsibilities’, ‘control all marketing’ to excite the reader about the job, and to underline its significance for the business. The phrase ‘door opener’ suggests that the employee will become the ‘figurehead’ of the business, the first person a potential investor or client will see. This is effective in thrilling and persuading the reader to apply for the job.

The readers are addressed in a very personal manner. The ad lists the accountabilities of the new employee with the repetitive use of ‘you will’ before the sentence. This is a very confident, almost commanding statement made to the reader, it is almost asking for a response ‘yes, I will!’, allowing the reader to picture himself in that place, carrying out those tasks in the future and allows him to identify himself with the job.

Similarly, in Ad. B, the reader is addressed very personally, but in this case the qualifications required for the job are registered with the use of the phrase ‘you have’. This calls to the reader much stronger than a simple list of expectations, and similarly as the use of ‘you will’ in passage A, it makes the reader want to respond ‘Yes, I have!’ motivating him to apply for the job and to prove to himself he does truly possess all these described qualities.  It is almost complementing the reader by saying ‘ you have first rate…skills…excellent track records…’, you have experience in a ‘high standard’ firm. This mode of address is very motivating for the reader, as he feels valued.

Ad B uses phrases like ‘hands-on approach’ or ‘think on your feet’. This makes the piece of writing seem more dynamic, more appealing to the reader, also contributing to the personal way the reader is addressed in.

After emphasising the size of the enterprise and the importance of the offered vacancy, TCP Holdings says ‘this is a challenge that rarely comes along…’ once more underlining the distinctiveness of this offer, and almost screaming out to the reader ‘This is your chance! Don’t waste it!’The advertisement ends with the sentence ‘If you have….. We would very much like to hear from you’. This sentence uses a clever technique of insinuation, saying ‘If you are excellent at marketing, then you should apply for the job’. The reader feels the need to apply, to prove to himself that he can take on these responsibilities, and that he is truly excellent at this job. He asks himself ‘If I don’t apply, am I not good enough?’


A similar technique is used in Advertisement B where the candidate is described as ‘experienced’ , ‘ capable’, ‘ a leading light’ ; making him want to prove, that he does live up to these descriptions, and apply for the job.

Advertisement B starts off with creating a noble image of the company, by stating that it is a ‘success’, by using phases like ‘ committed people’ ,  ‘ great deal to look forward to and even more to offer’.  It makes the reader enthusiastic about the future of the business, by talking about its planned conversion to plc. The post is described as a ‘chance to grow with a truly progressive company’. All this makes the vacancy seem as a good choice for the future, a stable job which will finance a living. This is especially significant as the advertisement is aimed at young people, who will be thinking about getting a secure firm job which will allow them to start their families and live on their own.

The job is described as ‘challenging’, offering unrivalled scope for career development’ with ‘generous’ benefits, from a ‘leading financial services organisation. This perfectly matches the target audience of this ad, young people, who want to work in a ‘leading’ firm, who want to develop their careers, and who require benefits for themselves and their future families.

Finally, Ad B ends with a statement: ‘Savers is an equal opportunities employer. We welcome applications from people with disabilities, from all races, religions and from both sexes’. This is an attempt to create a friendly image of the company, who cares about all people. This may attract certain types of readers to the company.

Both these passages, though aimed at different audiences, try to attract applicants by creating a good image of the company, using positive adjectives to describe the vacancy, and addressing the reader in a personal way, with the use of words like ‘you will’ to motivate and excite him about the job. They both describe the jobs as a big opportunity which shouldn’t go to waste. Passage B makes use of colloquial phrases and a declaration of sympathy for all people in order to seem friendlier.



Comment on Style and Language of Passage A

The mood as well as the tone of this passage fluctuates from greatly paranoid and anxious to ‘normal’ and right back down to irrationally frightened.  This constant change corresponds with the feelings and thoughts passing through the authors mind as she; an agoraphobic and overly paranoid individual; decides to pass a milestone in her life and engage in an outing in France. Her grim and pessimistic attitude is reflected in the negative vocabulary and language devices used, such as rhetorical questions and metaphors. However, finally she comes to the realisation that her ‘philosophy of life is wrong’, which is also manifested in the optimistic language used as well as the nostalgic mood and tone at the end of the passage.

She uses words like ‘wrench’ and ‘palaver’ as well as ‘plunging into God knows what’ to describe a seemingly pleasant event – a holiday. She then calls it a ‘big mistake, saying ‘all her fears were justified’.  Throughout the passage she asks rhetorical questions, ‘Why have I done this?’, ‘What comfort? Why expect any?’, ‘What could be wrong now?’, ‘Why have I not stayed at home? […]’, ‘Why come and terrify myself?’The use of the metaphor of a cup being half empty or half full throughout the passage indicates the contradicting nature of her and Olivia’s view of life. To the writer the cup is always half or even ‘completely empty’ The negative vocabulary present throughout the passage, as well as these irrational questions, asked as a reaction to minor misfortunate events, convey the mood of paranoia and anxiety, and encapsulate her unreasonable feelings.  In some instances the mood becomes uplifting, however as she lists many unrelated events in the sentence, ‘I crawled…uproar,’it can be seen that even when she enjoys herself, she is overwhelmed by everything going on around her, and she cannot convey her thoughts.

Nevertheless, as she comes to the realisation that ‘perhaps Olivia was right and my philosophy of life was wrong’ her vocabulary and tone undergoes a significant change. She starts seeing things as ‘heavenly’, ‘fresh’, ‘golden’, and ‘pleasant’. These optimistic adjectives influence the tone and mood which also become cheerful and positive, corresponding to the feelings of the author. At the end of the passage the mood becomes nostalgic as she realises her irrational paranoia and pessimism she manifested her whole life and asks herself ‘Why didn’t I stay longer?’ looking back positively on the dreaded trip.


key terms-irony and sarcasm

Definition with examples



  1. the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.

“‘Don’t go overboard with the gratitude,’ he rejoined with heavy irony”


synonyms: sarcasm, sardonicism, dryness, causticity, sharpness, acerbity, acid, bitterness, trenchancy, mordancy, cynicism; More

mockery, satire, ridicule, derision, scorn, sneering;

wryness, backhandedness;


“that note of irony in her voice”

antonyms: sincerity
  1. a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often wryly amusing as a result.index

plural noun: ironies

“the irony is that I thought he could help me”

synonyms: paradox, paradoxical nature, incongruity, incongruousness, peculiarity

“the irony of the situation hit her”

antonyms: logic
  1. a literary technique, originally used in Greek tragedy, by which the full significance of a character’s words or actions is clear to the audience or reader although unknown to the character.

Noun: dramatic irony; plural noun: tragic irony



the use of irony to mock or convey contempt.

“she didn’t like the note of sarcasm in his voice”

synonyms: derision, mockery, ridicule, satire, irony, scorn, sneering, scoffing, gibing, taunting; More



A level English language-How do we construct language?

How do we construct language?
Language is the comprehension and/or use of a spoken (i.e., listening and speaking), written (i.e., reading and writing) and/or other communication symbol system (e.g., American Sign Language). Communication difference/dialect is a variation of a symbol system used by a group of individuals that reflects and is determined by shared regional, social, or cultural/ethnic factors (ASHA, 1993).
Language can be classified as receptive (i.e., listening and reading) and expressive (i.e., speaking and writing). In some cases, augmentative/alternative communication may be required for individuals demonstrating impairments in gestural, spoken, and/or written modalities. (ASHA, 1993).
Spoken language and written language and their associated components (i.e., receptive and expressive) are each a synergistic system comprised of individual language domains (i.e., phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics) that form a dynamic integrative whole (Berko Gleason, 2005). Descriptions of the five language domains follow.

  • • Phonology—study of the speech sound (i.e., phoneme) system of a language, including the rules for combining and using phonemes.
    • Morphology—study of the rules that govern how morphemes, the minimal meaningful units of language, are used in a language
    • Syntax—the rules that pertain to the ways in which words can be combined to form sentences in a language.
    • Semantics—the meaning of words and combinations of words in a language.
    • Pragmatics—the rules associated with the use of language in conversation and broader social situations.

Spoken Language Written Language

Phonology:  ability to identify and distinguish phonemes while listening (i.e., phonological awareness) appropriate use of phonological patterns while speaking understanding of letter-sound associations while reading (i.e., phonics) accurate spelling of words while writing
Morphology: understanding morphemes when listening using morphemes correctly when speaking understanding grammar while reading appropriate use of grammar when writing
Syntax: understanding sentence structure elements when listening using correct sentence structure elements when speaking understanding sentence structure while reading using correct sentence structure when writing
Semantics: listening vocabulary speaking vocabulary reading vocabulary writing vocabulary
Pragmatics:(includes discourse) understanding of the social aspects of spoken language, including conversational exchanges social use of spoken language, including production of cohesive and relevant messages during conversations understanding point-of-view, needs of the audience, etc. conveying point-of-view, intended message, etc.

The five basic language domains are part of a continuum which spans to higher order language skills, such as discourse, which is impacted by skills in the pragmatics domain.
Higher order language skills include inferencing; comprehension monitoring; interpretation of complex language, such as jokes and puns; and use of text structure knowledge. Metalinguistic awareness is requisite for the development of higher order language skills and is defined as “the ability to think about and reflect upon language” (Gillon, 2004, p. 10). Metalinguistic awareness includes phonological awareness, morphological awareness, syntactic awareness, semantic awareness, and pragmatic awareness. Metalinguistic skills are also critical for self-regulation and self-monitoring.

Relationship Between Spoken Language And Written Language

Phonological awareness underlies the ability to manipulate speech sounds (i.e., phonemes) in spoken words. It has been found to contribute notably to reading and writing development (Al Otaiba, Puranik, Zilkowski, & Curran, 2009; Lemons & Fuchs, 2010; Scarborough, 1998). Components of phonological awareness include syllable awareness (e.g., one syllable in “cap” vs. two syllables in “again”), onset-rime awareness (e.g., onset: cap vs. rime: cap), and phoneme awareness (e.g., “cap” contains three phonemes: /k/ + /æ/ + /p/)
When instruction in phonological awareness is paired with knowledge of letter names (i.e., graphemic awareness), then phonics, a core written language skill for reading and writing development, is being addressed.
Language Disorder
A language disorder is an impairment in comprehension and/or use of a spoken, written, and/or other communication symbol system (e.g., American Sign Language). The disorder may involve the form of language (phonology, morphology, syntax), the content of language (semantics), and/or the function of language in communication (pragmatics) in any combination (ASHA, 1993). Language disorders may persist across the lifespan, and symptoms may change over time (Bashir, 1989). Further, a language disorder can be a distinct diagnosis or may occur within the context of other conditions.
A regional, social, or cultural/ethnic variation of a symbol system should not be considered a disorder of speech or language (ASHA, 1993).

Relationship Between A Language Disorder And Social Communication Disorder

Children with language disorders may also present with social communication difficulty since social communication comprises social interaction, social cognition, pragmatics, and language processing. More information about social communication can be found on the Social Communication Disorders

Source: (–Brief/)

Key terms- anaphora


In linguistics, anaphora is the use of an expression the interpretation of which depends upon another expression in context (its antecedent or postcedent). In a narrower sense, anaphora is the use of an expression which depends specifically upon an antecedent expression, and thus is contrasted with cataphora, which is the use of an expression which depends upon a postcedent expression. The anaphoric (referring) term is called an anaphor. For example, in the sentence Sally arrived, but nobody saw her, the pronoun her is an anaphor, referring back to the antecedent Sally. In the sentence Before her arrival, nobody saw Sally, the pronoun her refers forward to the postcedent Sally, so her is now a cataphor (and an anaphor in the broader, but not the narrower, sense). Usually, an anaphoric expression is a proform or some other kind of deictic (contextually-dependent) expression[ .Both anaphora and cataphora are species of endophora, referring to something mentioned elsewhere in a dialog or text.

Anaphora is an important concept for different reasons and on different levels: first, anaphora indicates how discourse is constructed and maintained; second, anaphora binds different syntactical elements together at the level of the sentence; third, anaphora presents a challenge to natural language processing in computational linguistics, since the identification of the reference can be difficult; and fourth, anaphora tells some things about how language is understood and processed, which is relevant to fields of linguistics interested in cognitive psychology.

Nomenclature and examples

The term anaphora is actually used in two ways.

In a broad sense, it denotes the act of referring. Any time a given expression (e.g. a proform) refers to another contextual entity, anaphora is present.

In a second, narrower sense, the term anaphora denotes the act of referring backwards in a dialog or text, such as referring to the left when an anaphor points to its left toward its antecedent in languages that are written from left to right. Etymologically, anaphora derives from Ancient Greek ἀναφορά (anaphorá, “a carrying back”), from ἀνά (aná, “up”) + φέρω (phérō, “I carry”). In this narrow sense, anaphora stands in contrast to cataphora, which sees the act of referring forward in a dialog or text, or pointing to the right in languages that are written from left to right: Ancient Greek καταφορά (kataphorá, “a downward motion”), from κατά (katá, “downwards”) + φέρω (phérō, “I carry”). A proform is a cataphor when it points to its right toward its postcedent. Both effects together are called either anaphora (broad sense) or less ambiguously, along with self-reference they comprise the category of endophora.

Examples of anaphora (in the narrow sense) and cataphora are given next. Anaphors and cataphors appear in bold, and their antecedents and postcedents are underlined:

Anaphora (in the narrow sense, species of endophora)

  1. Susan dropped the plate. It shattered loudly. – The pronoun it is an anaphor; it points to the left toward its antecedent the plate.
  2. The music stopped, and that upset everyone. – The demonstrative pronoun that is an anaphor; it points to the left toward its antecedent The music stopped.
  3. Fred was angry, and so was I. – The adverb so is an anaphor; it points to the left toward its antecedent angry.
  4. If Sam buys a new bike, I will do it as well. – The verb phrase do it is anaphor; it points to the left toward its antecedent buys a new bike.

Cataphora (included in the broad sense of anaphora, species of endophora)

  1. Because he was very cold, David put on his coat. – The pronoun he is a cataphor; it points to the right toward its postcedent David.
  2. His friends have been criticizing Jim for exaggerating. – The possessive adjective his is a cataphor; it points to the right toward its postcedent Jim.
  3. Although Sam might do so, I will not buy a new bike. – The verb phrase do so is a cataphor; it points to the right toward its postcedent buy a new bike.
  4. In their free time, the kids play video games. – The possessive adjective their is a cataphor; it points to the right toward its postcedent the kids.

A further distinction is drawn between endophoric and exophoric reference. Exophoric reference occurs when an expression, an exophor, refers to something that is not directly present in the linguistic context, but is rather present in the situational context. Deictic proforms are stereotypical exophors, e.g.


  1. This garden hose is better than that one. – The demonstrative adjectives this and that are exophors; they point to entities in the situational context.
  2. Jerry is standing over there. – The adverb there is an exophor; it points to a location in the situational context.

Exophors cannot be anaphors as they do not substantially refer within the dialog or text, though there is a question of what portions of a conversation or document are accessed by a listener or reader with regard to whether all references to which a term points within that language stream are noticed, ie if you hear only a fragment of what someone says using the pronoun her, you may never discover who she is, though if you heard the rest of what the speaker was saying on the same occasion, you might discover who she is, either by anaphoric revelation or by exophoric implication because you realize who she must be according to what else is said about her even if her identity is not explicitly mentioned, as in the case of homophoric reference.

A listener might, for example, realize through listening to other clauses and sentences that she is a Queen because of some of her attributes or actions mentioned. But which queen? Homophoric reference occurs when a generic phrase obtains a specific meaning through knowledge of its context. For example, the referent of the phrase the Queen (using an emphatic definite article, not the less specific a Queen, but also not the more specific Queen Elizabeth) must be determined by the context of the utterance, which would identify the identity of the queen in question. Until further revealed by additional contextual words, gestures, images or other media, a listener may not even know what monarchy or historical period is being discussed, and even after hearing her name is Elizabeth does not know, even if an English-UK Queen Elizabeth becomes indicated, if this queen means Queen Elizabeth I or Queen Elizabeth II and must await further clues in additional communications. Similarly, in discussing ‘The Mayor’ (of a city), the Mayor’s identity must be understood broadly through the context which the speech references as general ‘object’ of understanding; is a particular human person meant, a current or future or past office-holder, the office in a strict legal sense, or the office in a general sense which includes activities a mayor might conduct, might even be expected to conduct, while they may not be explicitly defined for this office.

Anaphors in generative grammar

The term anaphor is used in a special way in the generative grammar tradition of Chomsky and his followers. Here it denotes what would normally be called a reflexive or reciprocal pronoun, such as himself or each other in English, and analogous forms in other languages. The use of the term anaphor in this narrow sense is unique to generative grammar, and in particular, to the traditional binding theory. This theory investigates the syntactic relationship that can or must hold between a given proform and its antecedent (or postcedent). In this respect, anaphors (reflexive and reciprocal pronouns) behave very differently from, for instance, personal pronouns.

Complement anaphora

In some cases, anaphora may refer not to its usual antecedent, but to its complement set. In the following example a, the anaphoric pronoun they refers to the children who are eating the ice-cream. Contrastingly, example b has they seeming to refer to the children who are not eating ice-cream:

  1. Only a few of the children ate their ice-cream. They ate the strawberry flavor first. – They meaning the children who ate ice-cream
  2. Only a few of the children ate their ice-cream. They threw it around the room instead. – They meaning either the children who did not eat ice-cream or perhaps the children who did not eat ice-cream and some of those who ate ice-cream but did not finish it or who threw around the ice-cream of those who did not eat it, or even all the children, those who ate ice-cream throwing around part of their ice-cream, the ice-cream of others, the same ice-cream which they may have eaten before or after throwing it, or perhaps only some of the children so that they does not mean to be all-inclusive.

In its narrower definition, an anaphoric pronoun must refer to some noun (phrase) that has already been introduced into the discourse. In complement anaphora cases, however, the anaphor refers to something that is not yet present in the discourse, since the pronoun’s referent has not been formerly introduced, including the case of ‘everything but’ what has been introduced. The set of ice-cream-eating-children in example b is introduced into the discourse, but then the pronoun they refers to the set of non-ice-cream-eating-children, a set which has not been explicitly mentioned.

Both semantic and pragmatics considerations attend this phenomenon, which following Discourse Representation Theory since the early 1980s, such as work by Kamp (1981) and Heim (File Change Semantics, 1982), and Generalized Quantifier Theory, such as work by Barwise and Cooper (1981), was studied in a series of psycholinguistic experiments in the early 1990s by Moxey and Sanford (1993) and Sanford et al. (1994).In complement anaphora as in the case of the pronoun in example b, this anaphora refers to some sort of complement set (i.e. only to the set of non-ice-cream-eating-children) or to the maximal set (i.e. to all the children, both ice-cream-eating-children and non-ice-cream-eating-children) or some hybrid or variant set, including potentially one of those noted to the right of example b. The various possible referents in complement anaphora are discussed by Corblin (1996), Kibble (1997), and Nouwen (2003). Resolving complement anaphora is of interest in shedding light on brain access to information, calculation, mental modeling, communication.


key terms-syntax


In linguistics, syntax (/ˈsɪnˌtæks/) is the set of rules, principles, and processes that govern the structure of sentences in a given language, specifically word order. The term syntax is also used to refer to the study of such principles and processes.

syntax 2



A basic feature of a language’s syntax is the sequence in which the subject (S), verb (V), and object (O) usually appear in sentences. O

ver 85% of languages usually place the subject first, either in the sequence SVO or the sequence SOV. The other possible sequences are VSO, VOS, OVS, and OSV, the last three of which are rare.



key terms-mood and tone

mood 1

Mood is the feeling that you get reading a story. This could be happiness, joy, sorrow, anger, suspicion, fear and loneliness. To describe the mood of a passage one should know the setting and the language used by the author.



Tone is the author’s attitude toward the subject. It can be identified by the choice of words and phrases. For example, ” lovable baby’ is positive and “fierce beast” is negative.


mood 2

Key terms- context

context 1

Hi, students, let’s discuss the following concepts on the context in language.

Verbal context refers to the text or speech surrounding an expression (word, sentence, or speech act). Verbal context influences the way an expression is understood; hence the norm of not citing people out of context. Since much contemporary linguistics takes texts, discourses, or conversations as the object of analysis, the modern study of verbal context takes place in terms of the analysis of discourse structures and their mutual relationships, for instance the coherence relation between sentences.


Social context

Traditionally, in sociolinguistics, social contexts were defined in terms of objective social variables, such as those of class, gender, age or race. More recently, social contexts tend to be defined in terms of the social identity being construed and displayed in text and talk by language users. Influenced by space.


Multidisciplinary theory

In his new multidisciplinary theory of context, Teun A. van Dijk rejects objectivist concepts of social context and shows that relevant properties of social situations can only influence language use as subjective definitions of the situation by the participants, as represented and updated in specific mental models of language users: context models.



The influence of context parameters on language use or discourse is usually studied in terms of language variation, style or register The basic assumption here is that language users adapt the properties of their language use (such as intonation, lexical choice, syntax, and other aspects of formulation) to the current communicative situation. In this sense, language use or discourse may be called more or less ‘appropriate’ in a given context. It is the language or derivative terms surrounding set paragraph, novel or article.


Context variables

A context has physical and communicative dimensions such as: time, space, names, signs and symbols. Manipulation of any of these dimensions results in a changed environment of interpretation.