An investigation into the language of school reports to explore diachronic language and the factors influencing language choice Introduction In this investigation I intend to look at the language used in school reports and how this has changed over time. I will focus particularly on the final general remarks section of the report. I have chosen this topic as I feel it is relevant, having received many academic reports myself and will find it fascinating to see how these reports differ in a variety of terms from those received by older people.
I believe the changes in educational ideology during the period covered by the reports will be the key to understanding the language used. Methodology My database consists of an excellent range of school reports ranging over 60 years. I collected the reports by asking family members from different generations for any school reports they still possess and from this have acquired a database of 10 reports. They were told the data would be treated confidentially and used to assist me with an English Language coursework investigation.
I feel that this will allow me to provide a detailed analysis and draw conclusions of how and why the language of school reports has changed over time. I will use two main approaches when looking at my data: * Analysis 1 – Look at the complete report as a whole * Analysis 2- Looking at the final comments section of the report. I have decided to focus on this particular section as they have a less rigid format than the specific subject sections of the report. The final overview allows for more flexible, varied comments to be included with clearly more potential for significant language choices included by the teacher.
Politeness strategies will be a particular issue analysed in this section. Main Linguistic Frameworks Used Discourse – Identification of the pupil, parent and teacher involved in the situation, recognition of teacher’s role, poit of view and perspective and how to convey these through the report. The register used is vital in school reports. Lexis – Choices and types of lexis chosen by the teacher, choices linked with education, contrasts and changes in meaning through educational context, meanings from the lexical field of education. Pragmatics – Face theory and politeness strategies used by the teacher