What is the best way to write a language analysis (Structure)? http://richard-a-patterson.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/How_to_Write_a_Language_Analysisv1.6220549.pdf

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"Structure" plays two roles in language analysis assignments and exams. (1) It is one component of language analysis: "What is the structure of the text being analyzed?" And (2) it is a consideration in writing your analysis: How do I structure my analysis?

When discussing structure as a component of language analysis, "structure" refers to the way in which the text (texts for language analysis may be either verbal or visual texts) are "built" or put together: how they are structured. Some types of structure, as explained by Richard A. Patterson, who has a detailed description of language analysis at the link I've added to your Question, are as follows:

  • Chronological structure
  • Thematic order structure
  • Cause and effect structure
  • Problem and solution structure
  • Compare and contrast structure
  • Main idea structure

In language analysis, when writing about the structural element of the text being analyzed, you will identify and describe the particular structure evident in the text. For example, the text may be comparing two actions or it may be describing the cause and effect relationship between factors. You will identify the structure and identify the actions or factors and state how the author discusses these. Patterson gives several full examples of analysis that will aid you in clarifying this component of language analysis and how it relates to the whole analysis.

When discussing structure in terms of composing your own analysis, there is a set form and required content. The objective is to discuss the persuasive elements of language: How does language persuade? A key element of a successful analysis is to separate your opinion form the facts of the text (or image). Some of the components of the discussion of language as used to persuade, and as detailed by Patterson, are:

  • Purpose
  • Form
  • Structure
  • Style
  • Tone

You will analyze each of these and discuss the "metalanguage" elements--for example, generalities, imagery, inclusive or exclusive words, phrase connotation, cliche, bias, concrete and abstract nouns, plus more--to determine the cogent details of each component and relate these to how the text attempts to persuade. Using mitigators (may be, would possibly etc) in your writing is very important to illustrating your ability to think clearly, just as omitting opinion is critical to illustrating your ability to make sound judgements.

The steps of your analysis will begin with identifying the premise or main argument made in the text and identifying the text itself (author, title, publication, type of text, structure). You'll make note of the persuasive techniques employed, such as what appeals are made, and identify the intended audience (determined through the text), then describe the style of writing, such as, for example: 

  • passionate
  • succinct
  • illogical
  • reasonable

Now you begin to evaluate. Evaluate whether the text is effective in persuading and achieving its purpose. Evaluate and judge the writer's credibility by identifying the writer's tone, establishing the bias and subjectivity or objectivity. Describe how the text positions the audience (Are they moved from one position to another?) and what emotions the text arouses in them. Finally, discuss the persuasive techniques used. Your conclusion will summarize the effectiveness of the text to persuade and through what means.


The author Voxi begins his article in a relatively conservative tone by contrasting the two opposing sides of the technology debate.

Here, author (Voxi), form (article), tone (conservative), structure (contrast/compare) and premise (opposing side in technology debate) are identified in the first sentence.