Glossary (Version 8.4)

A human cognitive and communicative capability which makes it possible to communicate, to create and comprehend meaning, to build and sustain relationships, to represent and shape knowledge, and to imagine, analyse, express and evaluate.

Language is described and employed:

  • as code – comprising systems, rules, a fixed body of knowledge; for example, grammar and vocabulary, sound and writing systems
  • as social practice – used to do things, create relationships, interact with others, represent the world and the self; to organise social systems and practices in dynamic, variable, and changing ways
  • as cultural and intercultural practice – means by which communities construct and express their experience, values, beliefs and aspirations
  • as cognitive process – means by which ideas are shaped, knowledge is constructed, and analysis and reflection are structured

A process of interpreting meaning from spoken, written, tactile and multimodal representations of language.

Features of language that support meaning; for example, sentence structure, noun group/phrase, vocabulary, punctuation, figurative language. Choices in language features and text structures together define a type of text and shape its meaning. These choices vary according to the purpose of a text, its subject matter, audience and mode or medium of production.

Varied ways in which language is used to achieve particular purposes; for example, to persuade, to entertain, to apologise, to argue and/or to compliment.

Identifiable repeated or corresponding elements in a text. These include patterns of repetition or similarity, such as the repetition of imperative verb forms at the beginning of each step in a recipe, or the repetition of a chorus after each verse in a song. Patterns may alternate, as in the call and response pattern of some games, or the to-and-fro of a dialogue. Patterns may also contrast, as in opposing viewpoints in a discussion or contrasting patterns of imagery in a poem.

Distinguishing features of a particular language. These include lexico-grammatical and textual features, writing system(s), phonetic systems, and cultural elements which influence language use such as:

  • politeness or kinship protocols
  • the nature of language communities which use the language
  • the historical and/or current relationship of a language with education in Australia
  • features of its ‘learnability’ in terms of teaching and learning in the context of Australian schooling.

Elements that organise how a language works, including the systems of signs and rules (phonological, syntactic, semantic and pragmatic) that underpin language use. These systems have to be internalised for effective communication and comprehension.

A conceptualised developmental sequence of learning, including learning goals, learning activities, knowledge and skills to be developed at progressive levels.

Descriptions in broad terms of the developmental characteristics of students and their language learning at particular phases along the Foundation–Year 12 continuum.

A use of word associations to create links in texts. Links can be made through the use of repetition of words, synonyms, antonyms and words that are related, such as by class and subclass.

Individual resources and capabilities which learners bring to their learning experience; these include text knowledge, grammatical and vocabulary knowledge, knowledge of phonetic and writing systems. They also include critical, reflective and intercultural capabilities that support new literacy experience in a different language.