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Year 9 Homework and Exam Preparation

'It started on a warm summer's evening in ancient Greece circa 434 BC'


Meet Socrates - the man who taught Plato and Xenophon and was mentioned in plays by Aristophanes and works by Aristotle. He was a thinker and not a writer so remains an enigma. What we do know about him was that he enjoyed thinking about thinking and how we could challenge ourselves to think better and he was sentenced to death by drinking a fatal concoction having been convicted of corrupting the minds of Athenians.

His final words during his trial were:  

"The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways — I to die, and you to live. Which is better God only knows."

What does this have to do with your exam and revision?

Socrates challenged students to think in deeper ways. I've asked you to look at various methods of electronic communication as part of your revision. Now for you to move from Uni-structural (Level 3) thought to Extended Abstract (Level 7+) thought (see the diagram and remember Thursday's lessons) you need to question yourself so that you can develop deeper thinking and please Socrates!

I've asked you to look at the electronic communication your partake in during this week and consider how and why the person is using language in this way. Here are a series of questions (Socrates created these and loved using them with the young people he came into contact with) to help you extend your thinking.

So first of all:

Consider whether the language used is formal or informal then go through the series of questions to help you think in a deeper way.

1) Why is the person using the language they are using? (Think Context, Audience, Platform, Person)

2) Is this always the case? (Do they always communicate this way? Does a young person always use slang? Is an older person always formal? etc etc)

3) What is your evidence for this? (What has helped you answer the previous questions? Are there certain words that stand out and back up your ideas? Can you link this to a wider point or wider evidence relating to communication?)

4) Is there another way of looking at this? (What are the counter-arguments to your point? Could someone else look at this and see it in a different way?)

5) What are the consequences of this? (Do you think the reception of the communication is as the person writing intended it? What effect does it have on the audience?)

6) Why was it important to consider all of the above? (Has our deeper thinking brought out information that wouldn't necessarily be apparent in our first answer to the question? Is there anything particularly interesting that has come out because of your questioning?)

If you are effectively answering each of these questions then you are achieving Extended Abstract thought!

Choose a piece of communication you've received recently (Twitter, Facebook, Kik, Text, Instant Messenger, WhatsApp etc) and have a go - post your answers below and I can rate your thinking!

Good luck
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+ comments + 24 comments

Libby A
26 January 2013 at 19:51

'Seeing you has made me miss you even more :'( xx'
I recieved this from an old friend I haven't seen in ages over text and I think he used the language because he was speaking directly to me but he didn't use any slang so he sounds relaxed but if someone else read it, they could consider that it was meant in a different way...He knew that he intended it to sound like that. I have realised that he meant it deeply and that he really misses me. It is important to consider all of the above questions because it makes you think about all the different possiblities of how language can be made out.

I don't know if this is right but I gave it a go...?

26 January 2013 at 22:12

'im here if you need to talk ... i guess'
I was sent this from one of my friends when we were talking about an issue. He was speaking directly to me. Although he did not use slang he left out capital letters, full stops and the apostrophe when he contracted I'am. My guess as to why he did that is to save time. You could take the '...i guess' extract in two ways. Either he is unsure/worried about what I'm feeling/about to say or doesn't really care about the topic and wants to just sound polite. The consequences of this has left me feeling uncomfortable talking to this person as I feel like a burden.
It's important to consider all of the above so you can work out what environment they have said them in, what feelings are they trying to convey and the layers of meaning behind what they are saying.

27 January 2013 at 17:13

Well done Libby - you've developed some relational thinking as you have looked at all the little parts to this message and put them together to form an overall impression of the message.

If you were to develop extended abstract thought you might want to consider:

1) The age of the sender
2) Whether that person would communicate in a different way if using a different platform or if showing more cheerful emotions.

You could extend your point on how others might take this - be specific - how exactly does it sound to someone without the context that you have as the audience?

Well done -

You might want to try developing this on a different platform - try twitter and look at a tweet that wasn't meant for you.

27 January 2013 at 17:18

Good work Freya,

You're bordering on extended abstract thinking by showing alternative interpretations of the language.

You could solidify this by considering:

Does this person always communicate this way?
Do you think the communication would be different face to face or on a different platform?
Does their age reflect the way they communicate.

You might want to try developing this on a different platform looking at a piece of communication that wasn't specifically meant for you as an audience.

27 January 2013 at 20:23

I am not sure that sent so I am going to send it again. I also wrote it down on paper just in case.

'ok plz tell me tho'

This was a message I got from a close friend over Facebook about an issue I was having. She was talking to me in a direct message so no one else could see it. She didnt use capital letters or punctuation and she used contracted and slang words. This is informal. This message could be taken in two ways.

1) She was concerned and wanted to know if I was ok quickly.
2) Or she didnt want to waste her time on me but still wanted to know what the matter was.

If anyone saw this they could take it in a different and meaningless way but that was not the way thats was intended. In the end she really wanted to know what was wrong.

It is important to consider all of the above because you would want to know how the message was intended. Also you would want to know the emotions and layers of meaning within that message.

I am not sure if this is right but I tried !

27 January 2013 at 22:29

Well done Georgia. Thank you for having a go. I would certainly say you are showing linked thinking on this, which is great.

I would like to hear your ideas on what someone who didn't have your contextual knowledge would think about that message. Context is very interesting in language.

What seems a meaningless message to me has lots of meaning to you. How do you think I would take that message?

Do you think the age of the person had anything to do with the contractions or do you think this is common place across instant messaging?

Answering these questions will extend your linked thinking.

Perhaps try this method of questioning on something that is indirect and not meant for you such as a Facebook status or in tagged tweet.

Well done - thank you for having a go!

Charlotte Simpson
28 January 2013 at 20:21

"I know he is just too ugly for u xx"

This is a message I recieved from one of my friends over facebook today whilst having a conversation about perplexing things in our lives.
The person is using the language that they are using to sort of make the reciever feel better about the situation they are going through. This is being done to make an audience who is reading it feel as if the reciever is having trouble with certain people and that the sender is trying to help whilst giving good self-esteem in doing as they feel is fit. This could be classed as informal language as it is showing a range of different emotions (Anger, passion, exaspiration etc.) towards whatever is going on. This is also shown as they are putting 'xx' on the end to show that they are close to the person they are talking to and it is directly at them and not a range of different people. Another way of looking at this is that if it was a boy sending it then it could be seen that they are trying to steer the person away from the person they are talking about and to themselves or one of their own friends. The consequences of this are that the person might recieve the wrong idea in what they are meaning and become offended or have 'strange' thoughts on the subject afterwards. This might have an effect on the audience as if it was just a friend trying to help another person reading the message might believe that the friend is telling the person that they shouldn't choose the person being talked about as they aren't right for them and shouldn't be around them. I think that if you were to assess this in a certain way you would have to question the fact of who was actually sending the message to understand the meaning behind it.

Not sure if this is done corretly but I think that it's sort of covered what is needed?

28 January 2013 at 21:05

You have covered a range of material developing a really well rounded comment with developed interpretations.

I would like to see you root your interpretations in the language (what words give you the idea that there is Anger, Passion, Exasperation).

What do you think about the use of formal English until the 'text speak' 'u'? What does this tell us about the person behind the message? Why spell out 'know' and 'too' but not 'u'?

Well done! I didn't ask you to do it correctly - just asked you to have a go.

Thank you.

29 January 2013 at 19:28

‘I no wat u doin xx’
This is one of my close friends, She is using this language because she can’t be bothered to text the full words. No one else can see it and I know what she means so it doesn’t really matter to me. We were just having a normal laid back chat.
When we text we never really use the full word unless it is really serious or we are not in a good mood. This is how we know how each other are feeling and what mood we are in. Not all young people use slang it is just sometimes you can’t be bothered to text the full word. But then it also depends on who you are talking to. If I was talking to my mum I would not talk like this because she would not know what I was saying.
My knowledge about the different dialects of me and my friend help me to answer these questions because I have got used to the way she speaks and the same for her. I know that when she says ‘no’ she means know. That may be a mixture of laziness and bad grammar but I knew what she meant.
This could have two different meaning- the first one being she can see what I an doing or knows what I am doing...and the other that is her asking me what I am doing (which is what she meant). If someone else looked at it they would probably take it the first way because there is no full stop between ‘I no’ and ‘wat you doing’ and no question mark at the end.
The consequences of this are that it may not be perceived in the way she wanted it to be if someone else read it. They may think she is stalking me or something silly like that, but I know differently.
It is important to consider all of this when talking to someone because you may come across in a way you do not want to.

Charlotte Simpson
29 January 2013 at 19:52

As you told us to do a second one then I have used another facebook message but from another friend.

'What's the second one'

He's using the language he has used to show that he's interested in the conversation and has time to spend. He does this by using correct punctuation and using full words and not really using contracted words. He has contracted 'what is' into 'what's' but that is the only time. Another way of looking at this is that he wasn't really bothered about it he just wanted to know anyway so that he knew something more about me. The consequences that could come with this are that the person reading this could think of the latter as the actua one and it could end in them falling out.

It's important to look at all of the above to know a little bit more about what the outcome could be from what's happened.

29 January 2013 at 21:38

Good Heleana - you show that with the intimate knowledge of your own idolect and the language of your friend that language can be used in different ways. You're analysing in a linked way and beginning to talk in an extended abstract way when you look at the different receptions of the meaning.

You can extend your learning here by taking a message which is not meant for you and doing the same.

29 January 2013 at 21:42

This is another good piece Charlotte.

You can extend your thinking to extended abstract level by considering a message that is not meant for you an working out something about the senders mood, age, context etc

30 January 2013 at 19:53

“ ly2 xxxxxx “

This is a message I received off my very close friend on Facebook a few weeks ago. We weren’t talking about anything in particular; it was just a normal conversation which was coming to an end.
The person used contractions to show that they were either in a hurry to leave but wanted to show me that they still wanted to show that they cared or that they knew I had to go and didn’t want to waste any more of my time.
However, this person doesn’t usually talk like this to me. They use abbreviations or contractions very rarely, but they don’t communicate using formal vocabulary either. I think that not all young people use slang because I don’t usually use it often and neither do my friends, but sometimes for younger people it is much easier to just write in the shortest way possible because:
-Teenagers like ourselves try to escape writing long, detailed things because of pure laziness.
-It’s the ‘in-thing’ and it’s not unusual for a teen to write a word that doesn’t exist.
Also, I don’t think that an older person would always use formal language because for instance if you were an English teacher, you would have to keep your language to a certain level so your students can benefit more from you. Whereas if you were a pizza delivery man, your language wouldn’t really impact your job in any way. But this does not mean that you must have a certain type of language to get a job because it all depends on where you were brought up, your childhood and things like that so it actually doesn’t matter how your speak or how you come across, it all matters on how you vary it to fit the topic you are speaking about.
So back to the message, this person was just speaking to me in a normal way but they had just shortened it down because they knew I had to go and they knew that they shouldn’t be wasting any more time of mine. Nowadays, this is how teenagers would communicate with each other because of the laziness, environment, person they are speaking to, etc.
I already know but if I had only just seen this I would have instantly thought that it was a girl talking because of many reasons, here are two and my reasons to back them up:
-They have added kisses on the end to show love, friendship, kindness etc. and usually, a boy wouldn’t put kisses on the end of a message if they were talking to another boy or even a friend that is a girl for that matter. Girls tend to do this because girls have different relationships than boys where they will just hug and show each other what they mean to each other. Boys however are not like this. Boys usually show lack of emotion which can sometimes give the wrong impression and someone may take it the wrong way.
-The contraction means ‘love you too’ so if this was a boy it would obviously be a boyfriend, but if it wasn’t a boyfriend, they would not be saying this out of the blue and because of the fact that they said ‘love you too’ it shows that I said it to them first, indicating that it is obviously a girl because a boy wouldn’t say it back to me.
I also would have guessed that the age of this person was a teenager because first of all, you wouldn’t get adults saying this to each other (unless they were really lazy) and secondly, no 5-9 year old would be telling their friends that they love them and/or using a shortened version of it.

sorry this is really long sir, I got a bit carried away.

31 January 2013 at 19:53

'Ofc its alrite love talking to people :) so where ya from? Xxxx'
This is a message I received from a boy who I had just started talking to on Twitter. He sent it to me through direct messages because he didn't want everyone else to see it.
By saying 'ofc' this means of course, so he used 'ofc' to shorten the word because he probably couldn't be bothered to type. Also, he spelt alright as 'alrite' because again, it's a shortened version of the word 'alright'.
He also put a smiley face because it breaks the awkwardness a little bit, because if he had put 'off its alrite love talking to people' it could of sounded like yes, i love talking to people but I'm not overly bothered by it.
He asked where I was from because he wanted to start another conversation because the other conversation had died out a little bit, so by carrying it on it would of meant that we would talk to each other for longer.
At the end of the sentence, he put a few x's to come across differently, because he could of come across as not really bothered by putting no x's, but the fact that he put x's means that he could be bothered to take his time and talk to me.

1 February 2013 at 11:22

This is great! - Look at the ammount of material you have managed to generate from three letters and a number. This is a clear example of Abstract and Extended thinking. Here you cover context in-depth and in detail looking at the reasons and the interpretations of the mesage.

To improve this you need to think about the language you are using in your evaluation. You're language should be a bit more formal in this setting. If you have a look at the Year 11 post under this it has some examples of words and phrases you can use.

Well done Kayley. You should be proud of this.

1 February 2013 at 11:26

You have linked your ideas well here Oliva. You are considering the range of interpretations that you can have a message.

Can I ask - is there a benefit of writing 'alrite instead of 'Alright' as it is only one letter shorter? Do you think that is poor spelling or time saving?

Where would you draw the line with the 'x's' what number shows friendliness and what number is over the top or the context becomes between boyfriend and girlfriend?

I like your thinking with this and answering the above questions will develop your ideas further.

Brioni Locke
2 February 2013 at 11:16

'yh im fine thnx wbu?xxxx'

This is a message I received from a close friend of mine last night on Facebook. She sent it through chat because she wanted it to be private and direct, we were previously having a friendly conversation asking each other how we were.
This person has used abbreviations such as 'yh' and 'thnx' the reason I think she has done this is because of the platform we were using and to show that she was in a rush but still cares about how I was. She has also used an acronym in this message 'wbu' this stands for what about you. She has done this to shorten the message so it isn't so long winded.
She has used this language because she couldn't be bothered to type the correct words as she was busy doing something else.
To me it is obvious what gender has sent this for a few reasons; one of them being that she has added four kisses at the end to show kindness. Girls tend to put kisses at the end of each message so that the person receiving it doesn't think they are being blunt or get the wrong impression that the person sending it is angry or annoyed in any way.

2 February 2013 at 11:29

“I hate liars”
This is a tweet that appeared on my timeline and I do not know this person. Although I don’t feel like this tweet is directed to me it could be a general warning that if you’re going to talk to this person don’t bother lying to them. On the other hand it could be directed to someone they know and they want to tell them they hate the fact they have been lying to them and are too scared to tell them directly. Yet I don’t think this is the case if you have the guts to indirectly tweet about someone negatively I think you should have the guts to tell them in real life but this is just my opinion. From this I can deduct that this person has been lied to and feels betrayed by that person. I can also tell this person has no problem with showing there feeling to everyone via twitter hence me thinking this is a very emotionally open person. I think the person who tweeted this is a teenager because I think adults can keep their feeling to themselves without putting them all over twitter for attention. I don’t think this tweet is anyone under 13 because twitters user age group doesn’t really go below 13. This brings me on to my next point why has this person chosen to use platform (twitter). It could be that the person she is directing the tweet to is a user of twitter and will see the tweet, also twitter has a lot of users so maybe she wants someone to feel sorry for her or because she doesn’t have much to say about the topic and twitter has a character limit. Now looking at the way she has written this tweet, it has no slang or contractions and a capital letter at the start of the short sentence. She could have chosen to use a short sentence so the tweet comes across snappy and even a bit violent. Another way to look at this is that she was upset about the topic and had nothing more to say. Although she has a capital letter at the start of the sentence she didn’t put a full stop at the end. Now a day’s phones usually put capital letters in for you so she may not have capitalised the first letter on purpose. Yet she could have capitalised and was in a rush to finish the tweet so she did not put a full stop and didn't check it before she sent the tweet. I think the language and punctuation in this tweet shows that this girl is well educated and has grown up in a background where slang is not used that much. She may have left out the full stop to seem more relaxed and to fit in to twitter more. On the other hand she could have grown up somewhere where slang is used and she has modified her language to ‘fit in’ on twitter, as twitter is known to slate people for bad grammar, spellings etc.

2 February 2013 at 18:22

1) If you put 'alrite' then it just means they are using slang because if they were to say 'alright' then it would probably sound a bit 'posh' for the conversation.

2) 4 x's means it's in a friendly way, and there isn't really an over the top number of x's and if it was between a boyfriend and girlfriend then it has to be a whole line or more nothing less.

3 February 2013 at 11:37

sorry for the lack of paragraphs in this :$

3 February 2013 at 14:53

'Yeah haha and ahh me too!!! Hahaha byeeeeee :)xxxxx'
I received this text by a really close friend of mine. This message is mainly informal because her punctuation is incorrect and she has added extra letters and unnecessary language.

However, this text does have capital letters and no abbreviations, which shows she has taken her time, wasn't in a rush and the fact that all capitals are in place and she hasn't used languid language could also possibly suggest she may have a meticulous character and doesn't want to come across as unintelligent, because in middle school we had similar grades, so there was sometimes a subtle sense of rivalry. I said she used 'unnecessary language' previously, referring to the 'Hahaha'. By this I mean this is not needed to get the message across to me clearly. She could have just said, 'Yes and me 2! Bye :) x'. Although this would be a more direct way of saying it, it wouldn't exemplify and express her idiolect to me, as she has a very bubbly, enthusiastic, affectionate and excitable character. Her true character is shown through her speech/idiolect and in turn, also presented in her texts.

Another reason why she would be using this language is because the platform used means it is personal to me and herself and for no-one else to see. We have been close friends for about 4 years and so we are both comfortable around each other and express our feelings and emotions openly to one-an-other.

The age would also affect the outcome of this text message. She is in year 9 and so, as a teenager of the 21st century, she would be influenced by the modern uses and ways of communicating and how and what people say and share while using them. She would feel like texting, tweeting or using Facebook and other means of publishing her views and connecting to people the way her peer group do. So the exclamation mark, the smiley face and the five kisses (x) at the end may well be out of habit and/or pressure for doing so, as well as expressing that she's happy and cares about me.

Another way of looking at this text would be if you didn't know her personally and well. For example, someone who doesn't know her age, gender or her characteristics and attitude, may think she was male and acting in a flirtatious manner! This would be because of the kisses and possibly the smiley face and the repeated laughing.

I think she takes into account and thinks about what she's texting before she sends it, as she is very considerate and wouldn't want me to interpret the message inaccurately. She's cautious not to be ambiguous. So I think that the way I understand the text is how she intended me to.

The effect this text had on me was that I knew she was possibly in a hyper and almost definitely happy mood, as she's nearly always happy! This made me feel slightly happy as well because knowing that my friend who I love and care about is cheerful and the fact that she is comfortable enough around me to share that with me is - when I look at this in great detail and analyse it like this - quite touching.

It is important to consider all of the above because by analysing a small piece of text carefully and with the use of deeper thinking - especially a piece of text from one of your close friends, as it is important to understand why they're saying what they're saying and how they say it because that all determines why we're friends - because it makes you more aware of the emotions of the person and the reasons behind the piece of communication they used. By questioning and analysing the platform and that persons idiolect and how they express themselves, it gives you an understanding and an accurate and empathetic piece of analysis and awareness.

3 February 2013 at 16:19

Good Brioni.

You have picked out a range of points from the message and been able to comment in some depth about them.

To improve this, you would need to link all your ideas together.

What overall impression does this give us of the sender?

What assumptions would we make about her?

How would the message change if it was written by someone older or of a different sex?

3 February 2013 at 16:24

Well done Freya - a full and thorough analysis. You've consider some of the abstract reasons for the message and looked closely at the sender, the platform and the language. This is high level thinking - Extended and abstract. You could be a little more specific as to the overall purpose of the message and link that in to each point you make throughout your analysis.

The last piece of the jigsaw would be formalising your language for the exam. Have a look at the Year 11 post below for some examples of more formal academic language you could use.

3 February 2013 at 16:30

Excellent Harriet. A thorough analysis with some extended and abstract thinking! You are showing you can see the text from a a range of points of view which is a key skill.

The only thing I could add to this is whether you think the message conforms to the conventions of the platform?

Text messaging is often seen as a way to shorten language to make it more convenient to the limitations of a text message (160 characters) or speed of use. This text message seems to have extended language here and gone against the conventions. You've touched on this with your 'unnecessary language' point but you could be explicit in stating that it has challenged the conventions of the platform.

Well done - a good piece!

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