Friday, September 3, 2010

Communication Studies Syllabus 2011

Changes in the Examination Papers

• Paper 1A is now 1 hour and 15 minutes
• Paper 1B (Listening Comprehension) remains 30 minutes
• Paper 2 remains 2 hours and 30 minutes

Changes in the Internal Assessment (Portfolio)
General Introduction instead of Introductory Statement (whereas the Introductory Statement in the previous syllabus was not marked) this is worth 12 marks
 Not more than 200 words
 Should refer to the Expository, Reflective and Analytical
 Should clearly identify the theme selected
 The purpose of selecting that theme
 Should show how this theme relates to your academic, work –related and personal interest

Expository (16 marks)
 Students can only bring 1 cue card containing headings alone, into the room (4” by 6”)

Reflective (14 marks)
 Only 1 original piece (not more than 800 words) in any given genre (poetry, short story, song, skit, eulogy) is to be created by students.
 This reflective piece must be accompanied by a Preface instead of a Rationale of no more than 200 words.
• The Preface should address:
 The purpose for this piece
 The intended audience
 The context/situation ie when and where this piece can be used effectively
 Notice that there is no inspiration!

Analysis (18 marks)
 Should not be more than 350 words in length
 Must analyse the original piece created in the Reflective
 Must analyse any 2 areas or elements: registers, dialectal variation, attitudes to language and communicative behaviours

Monday, April 5, 2010


General Notes for Communication Studies

Look at the questions and make a comment that connects all or as many of the questions as possible. When answering each question specifically the tip is that you want to make a GENERAL statement that’s acts as the Intro to the paragraph…to frame this Intro you ask yourself what do I know generally about what the questions is asking for.

Using Module 2 from 2004 from Paper 2

There are many factors that influence a writer’s language choice; some of these are the context, the audience and the message content. In Alicia Mc Kenzie’s Pinkie this is certainly the case as we see as the choice of language is Creole in the Basilect variation.
a. The relation between language choice (Creole) and context/setting/situation (the beauty parlour) : context influence language choice. The context in Communication refers to the place (a hairdressing salon) and the grouping of people (interpersonal conversation). The term language choice implies that there are other languages that could have been used but this was specifically chosen. In this excerpt the language choice was creole in the Basilect and Mesolect variation. Because the context is casual the language is casual. The persons in the conversation are friends/acquaintances and as such they are comfortable to speak to each other in their mother tongue. Creole is appropriate as Pinkie and Ms Daisy obviously are West Indians and as such when the Creole is spoken by either of them it is understood. Examples are:

b. As with question (a) there are factors such as audience, content and nationality which when taken into consideration lend to the appropriateness of a narrator’s choice of language. In this case the narrator uses the Basilect variation as seen in “ I start to tell her bout a whole heap of strikes in England ...”. Who are the people who’d read this? Most likely it will be West Indians. Pinkie was complaining about her birth country in creole and so one expects the narrator to respond likewise in creole. Also there is a perception that creole will get the true meaning and feelings across. For example in the opening sentence Pinkie says “that is why this country will nevah get ahead, nevah get ahead.” A reader immediately knows that she is angry and in a complaining mode. So it is appropriate because of these main reasons: they are West Indians friends, the topic lends itself to complaint, and they are in a casual/informal setting.

c. Is Pinkie’s language linguistically or non-linguistically motivated? How do we identify linguistic motivation? When we are asked for non linguistic factors you should write about such factors as
• Phonetics – how the speaker articulates their speech sounds e.g. Guyanese roll their ‘r’
And Trinidadians do not
• Phonology - how the speaker systematically uses sounds in language / the sounds of words
• Morphology – how words are structured or formed e.g. dog, yes, swing or un-happi-ness
• Syntax – how the speaker constructs sentences or how words are organized e.g. phrases, clauses, sentences
• Semantics – how the speaker makes meaning of the words in the sentence e.g In the US most people refer to death as ‘passed’ whereas in Trinidad we say ‘died’ or in the US they say ‘pop’
for “soda” and in Trinidad we say “soft drink’ or “sweet drink” and sometimes you may even hear “seet drink”

Non linguistic factors can persons believing:
• that Americans and British speak the same way
• that learning to speak in a foreign language by just listening to the television or being in that country for a short holiday or from being around foreigners regularly e.g. a Hotel worker, tour guide
• that an accent is all that is needed to learn a language

d. A video presentation of any piece will enhance it especially in the area of clearing up ‘fuzziness’ of words, phrases and situation. (give examples from the excerpt here)

QUESTION 4 b. State two non- linguistic reasons why the students are NOT speaking Std English
N.B It is widely perceived that most speakers use Std Eng in formal situations or when they are speaking to a stranger in this scenario we are asking ourselves ...” Why did they choose to speak Creole? Why would one person be comfortable or be proud speak to Creole in any context and another will not do such? And on the other hand why the others choose the Standard and are just as comfortable or proud with it?
Possible answers...They were not in a formal setting/ the situation was a casual one
Creole is their first language and they are comfortable with speaking it / they are in an English speaking country etc.

STUDENTS FEEDBACK NEEDED...If in anyway this has helped you please take the timeout to share a cooment with the author. Thank you.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

CAPE 2009 Communication Studies Paper 2 Module 1

CAPE 2009 Communication Studies Paper 2 Module 1 was a tricky passage as it required students to think harder than usual. I predict this is the new path of Communication Studies, no longer are students going to just read the extract once and see the language techniques and strategies jumping out at them but now they will have to read and read again.
Fear not students, as usual a writer always uses strategies and language techniques/devices to achieve the purpose or to make the main point...always. A writer cannot write without these three things re. Strategies/techniques, a specific purpose and a main point!Back to 2009 Module 1, many students were caught looking only for language devices and techniques and when they did not uncover any they became desperate and wrote the first things that came to their mind. They were right in believing that there must be some tools in the extract but they were wrong in believing that this tool was only language techniques. In this case there were mainly strategies hardly any of the former.
Rule No. 1 when there are none or few language or literary devices or techniques look for strategies as it was in this essay.
Rule No 2. A writer always uses the techniques and strategies to make and emphasise the main point and secondly a writer always use techniques and strategies to achieve the purpose. Identify the purpose and main point correctly and more than ever you will be able to identify the techniques and strategies used to help achieve the purpose.
Your main idea should mention that the only way women can break away from the vicious cycle of illiteracy, poverty, repeated childbearing is by becoming educated. The important thing here is to realize that there is a strong correlation between education and illiteracy.
Remember that the main idea and the writer’s purpose are connected; so if the main idea is that education is the key to breaking the stranglehold of that illiteracy, poverty, lack of a political voice and a voice on the hold then the purpose of this piece is to make readers aware/ to sensitize them/ to persuade them of the main idea. So anything that says something like the purpose of this piece is to sensitize readers to the fact that education is the only means for women to escape/break away from the clutches of poverty, illiteracy, repeated childbearing/unplanned pregnancy etc.
So CAPE always asks for you to discuss strategies and language techniques and most times the language techniques are easy to find but in CAPE 2009 you looked and looked and some of you only saw ...repetition of “education” and “illiteracy” and if you looked really hard you would have seen contrast of the effects of illiteracy and then you saw nothing else...and you were stuck.
Listen in a case like this CAPE is not mad...they won’t ask you for something if it wasn’t there but you need to be smart...go back to the question. If you look you will see what are always there...strategies and language techniques...never language techniques alone! So if there are no more language techniques then you need to identify and discuss’s as simple as that!
And so in this particular question students needed to identify and discuss strategies such as the way the information was laid out. It was done as a list providing the benefits of education; there were examples of the effects of illiteracy from around the world, statistical information/data, use of non emotive/academic language, the use of a reputable institution as UNESCO, and the presentation of factual information.
Another BIG CLUE can be as it was in this case... if there is a lot of statistical data from a serious institution such as UNESCO believe this it most likely will not contain such things as hyperbole (if the organization is as reputable as this one is then the organization will not exaggerate the information!), it hardly will have emotive word (the language is academic..can you imagine those staid, serious statisticians writing in emotive words?), hardly likely to have all those easy devices as simile, personification and metaphor.
Seriously though don’t panic in the first essay, to panic in module one essay is most likely going to set off a negative reaction in the next two essays. So keep your cool, use your head and think!

Thursday, January 14, 2010



It was mid-afternoon and Romain was about to meet the parents of his girlfriend. He was very nervous as he kept hearing the words of his father over and over in his head. “U r no one wil ever love u.” But he felt there was some hope as he’s loved by his girlfriend Rae-Ann. However, he fears that this may not be the case with her parents. They would never approve of a boy living in a small three roomed house with his mother, who had to take him and flee for their lives from his abusive father…..
It’s going to be alright hun. Don’t worry, my parents will love you!” says Rae-Ann kissing her boyfriend of six months on his cheek.
Ah nervous babe. Yuh fada is ah big man in de business an mi is nun in he books!” utters Romain with a hint of fear as he wipes his face for the third time.
Taking him by his hand she proceeds to say “Relax” and they both make their way towards the front door. As Rae-Ann opens the door she calls out to her parents “Mom, Dad, we’re here!” The parents emerged from the kitchen area and proceeded to the living room where they embraced their daughter. Returning to her boyfriend’s side holding his arm, Rae-Ann introduces him…
“Mom, Dad, I’d like you to meet Romain”Firstly wiping the palms of his hand on his trousers, Romain reaches out and greets both parents. “Good evening Mr. and Mrs. Carmino, a pleasure to meet you!”Good evening Romain, please have a seat” replies Mr.Carmino after firmly shaking Romain’s hand.
Dinner will be ready in ten minutes, hope you’re not too hungry” says Mrs.Carmino smiling while taking her seat besides her husband.
Without hesitation Mr.Carmino says “So, what are your intentions with my daughter young man?”
Before Romain could answer Rae-Ann pleas in a soft voice with her father “Daddy please” holding on to her father’s arm.
“It’s alright Rae,” says Romain making and holding eye contact with her father.
“Mr.Carmino my intentions are pure. All I have is respect for your daughter and I will never disrespect her in any way!”
With a smile on her face, Rae-Ann watches her boyfriend as if he has just passed the test.
“Very good” replies Mr.Carmino. “However, I’ll still have my eyes on you!
Excusing herself, Mrs.Carmino leaves to check on the dinner. There was a period of silence however; Mr.Carmino breaks it by directing another personal question to Romain….
So tell me something about your family background”
Well sir, I live with my mother” Romain says stuttering.
His voice trails off and enters Mrs.Carmino “Dinner is served.” Romain is relieved as he does not wish to disclose any family history for particular reasons.
When they were all seated at the table Mrs.Carmino asks Romain to bless the food. His eyes widens as he hears the question, but Rae-Ann intervenes quickly and offers to give grace. Romain made it through dinner as not much was said around the table. However, the moment Romain dreaded all night has reached dessert!
Despite his dismay, dessert turned out to be the best part of the evening. Dessert was apple pie crumble, which Romain thoroughly enjoyed never having tasted it before, followed by a game of Pictionary, couple verses couple! Feeling a sense of ease, Romain begins to feel the tension draining away. It was time for him to solve the drawing and within a few seconds he accurately achieves this. Rae-Ann jumps up and hangs her boyfriend for they are close to winning the game. Romain full of excitement blurts out…
“Alyuh ent wa nun wit we! We d bess, d bess ha ha!”
A sudden deafening silence filled the air, as Mr. and Mrs. Carmino sat staring in open disapproval at this new Romain. At his side, he could see his girlfriend shaking her head and he knew this was not good.
Young man, what did you say? What type of language is that?” Shaking his head, Mr.Carmino nearly shouting, “That type of language is unacceptable in this household!” says Mr. Carmino with his eyebrows frowning together. Turning to his daughter he proceeds “This…this…this is the kind of man you’ve brought into my home! One who can’t even speak proper English!”
Raising his voice Romain says almost sneeringly “Dere is nuting wrong wit d way I speak! U jus tink ur better dan mi cause u big in d ‘corporate world’!”
You speak the language of the underdogs” replies Mr.Carmino. With an element of disgust he continues, “I’m sure your mother is nothing but a measly servant!”
Not wanting to hear anything else, Romain rushes out the door, eyes filled with water. He makes his way to the nearest park and pulls out a cigarette. This is a habit he’s developed over his childhood years. The days when his father beat him to a pulp! At that moment he let all his problems go as they slowly melted into his subconscious.
In spite of that he suddenly jerks as he felt a tap on his shoulder. It was Rae-Ann. “Wah do u want?” Romain says rising from his seat.
I came to make sure you’re alright babe. I was worried” proclaims Rae-Ann almost whispering now. Reaching for his hand Romain pulls away and shouts…
“Get away from me. Go back an b wit ur snotty, uptight lil family. I wish ur fada rots in hell!”
Rae-Ann in turn slaps him in his face and screams “My father was right; you’re just a stupid boy who’s worth nothing in this world!”
Romain launches blindly at Rae-Ann and proceeds to hit out at her. All the while with tears flowing as he shrieks “I am goin be wort sumting dad, ur wrong ur wrong! Am goin to be wort sumting!”
Rae-Ann somehow heard herself shout back “I’m NOT your father!”
As if in a trance, Romain stops and watches his girlfriend crying and moaning from the pain that he has caused. Shocked by his actions he slowly backs away and then runs off. As he arrived at home he quickly slams the door and slumps to the floor, face in hands. Suddenly he realizes that he had never gotten over the trauma of his father’s frequent beatings…but what could he do now? Was it too late for him? For Rae-Ann? He sobbed quietly.


In my short story entitled, ‘Words Haunt Me’ the language registers and variations in the short story as well as attitudes to language and communicative behaviour of the characters will be discussed.
Throughout the story, an intimate register was used between Romain and Rae-Ann. This is because they are very comfortable with each other. Additionally, it is the language marked by specialized words and expressions as seen when Rae-Ann says “It’s going to be alright babe.” However, a more formal tone is exchanged between Romain and Mr. and Mrs. Carmino. This is level of formality may have been adopted because Romain was meeting them for the first time. This is apparent as Romain declares “Good evening Mr. and Mrs. Carmino, a pleasure to meet you!”
Mr. and Mrs. Carmino spoke Standard English using the acrolect variation as seen in this example “So what are your intentions with my daughter young man.” Their choice of language may have been because of their ‘upper class status’. However, Romain spoke creole or dialect at intervals throughout the passage and at some intervals even exclaiming in basilect as he was emotionally aroused. The comfort at which he spoke basilect leads one to believe that this is his first language of choice and he is very comfortable with it as evident in the many features of the creole structuring such as the use of ‘mi’ as a subject adjective and the replacement of the ‘th’ with the‘d’ as seen in the example ‘Dere is nuting wrong wit de way I speak!’
The attitudes formulated to language vary given a person’s perception. In the extract, Mr. Carmino despises the creole used by Romain. He considers acrolect/ Standard English superior to creole/dialect. He indicates this by saying ““You speak the language of the underdogs.” Romain on the other hand, defends his language as he sees nothing wrong with it. He also, associates Standard English with a higher class… ‘Corporate world.
An example of a communicative behaviour which was exhibited throughout the passage is gestures. Romain wiping his hands showed his nervousness while Mr. Carmino’s stern handshake is interpreted as a sign of authority. Other communicative behaviours included facial expressions as seen when Mr. Carmino’s ‘eyebrows frowned together which illustrates his anger and also through vocalics when Romain raised his voice to show his frustration.
In attempting to analyse my second reflective I have looked at the relationship between a person’s dialectal variations, choice of register, attitude to language and communicative behaviours, all of which are important in communication.

Saturday, November 7, 2009



SCENARIO: A group of farmers from a rural village in your country has invited you to give the Opening Address at their workshop titled “The Effects of Harmful Chemicals.”

In an essay, discuss how you will develop your presentation looking specifically at:
I)The communication challenges that you most likely will encounter as you address the members of this rural farming community
II)The language variety, register and vocabulary that you will take into consideration
III)Such factors as your organizational strategies, visual/audio visual aids and any other resources that you may use in your presentation.


oMain challenges can be in the form of some farmers being unwilling to make a paradigm shift as they prefer to stay doing and using the same old chemicals. Another way this can be said is that among the farmers have an unwillingness to embrace/adopt change
oThere is a likelihood that some farmers may harbour mistrust for outsiders coming into their village
oLack of interest /an air of complacency which can lead to boredom with your presentation
oThe challenge of how do you get the message of the need for change from harmful chemicals that they have been using for so long to newer and safer/more effective chemicals/ even eco-friendly chemicals
oThe challenge of not coming across to the farmers as either too educated and complex or on the other hand making your message too simplistic/ finding the right balance is the key
oThe register can be moved between casual and formal
oThe content of your presentation must be relevant and clearly defined
oPresentation must not be too long as to bore and confused
oFind out before hand if there were other issues dealing with harmful effects of the chemicals
oTry to fit in with the audience, pay attention to dress code do not over dress etc as natural as possible
oWhen speaking make eye contact with the audience
oProvide a question answer session so as to give the farmers time to have their say
oAsk them to work with you – sensitive to their needs and concerns
oRemember that your visual aids are just that aids –do not make them your focus!
oYour presentation must have a clear introduction, body and Conclusion

Sunday, October 25, 2009



NB: Every year the CXC report continues to lament the fact that students do badly on this essay. This happens because students either write insufficient information on the effectiveness of the devices or they are confused between the writer’s main point and the writer’s purpose.
Tips on distinguishing the Main Point/Main Idea and the Writer’s Purpose/Intention/Intent: Remember that the main point/idea is what the writer is writing about, the idea that is coming out from what you are reading; if you were asked what the piece was about, whatever you respond that should be the main idea. The Main Idea/Point is NEVER A VERB so it can never be stated like this...”The main point/idea of this passage is to inform...” If you have done this then your answer will be incorrect. Always remember the main point/idea is never to do something rather it is stated like this...”The main point/idea of the piece is that students have problems answering the Module One essay...”.
On the other hand the writer’s purpose/intent is ALWAYS STATED AS A VERB! It is what the writer wants happen as a result of your reading the piece. So the writer wants to “inform the reader of...”, “to entertain the reader...”, “to criticise...” “to argue that...”. Remember that all writers writer with a purpose/intent in mind, to shift the readers from point A to point B!
If you understand and can identify these two different concept s you are on your way to satisfying one- third of the essay requirements. The next two thirds are correctly identifying the language strategies /techniques/devices that the writer employed to help her achieve the Main Point/ Idea and the Purpose/Intent.
Some of the techniques that the writer employs are Simile, Metaphor, Personification, Alliteration, Imagery, Rhetorical Question, Conversational tone, Anecdote, Historical data, Statistical data, Repetition, and Humor.
Once you have identified a technique you need to write it out (do not give line alone) and then you must write about the effectiveness of the device, in other words what is this device adding to the piece, how does it appeal to the senses and therefore to your understanding and most importantly how is it aiding the author to achieve her purpose and expand her main point?For example when a writer uses the strategy of historical data its effectiveness is to add/lend credibility to what she is saying as a reader can easily check the records. Conversational tone (found in anecdote and use of Personal Pronouns) on the other hand allows for the reader to be drawn into the piece as one feels that the writer is striving to make us comfortable with the piece.
The challenge is NOT TO DEFINE the devices but rather to identify appropriate examples (use quotation marks) from the passage to support and then say how they add or why you believe that the writer used them and how in rare cases they took away from the piece.
As with every essay one must have proper organisation. There must be an opening, a body for the content and a conclusion where no new ideas must be introduced. The correct use of transitional words will enhance your essay. Refrain from making your essay read like a list of devices. For example do not say the first, the second etc). Do not analyse the piece by its paragraphs but by the strategies/techniques found. Depending on the length of the example one would do, keeping in mind the word limit of the essay and keeping within it.
Finally, the best way to overcome this challenge is to practice writing this type of essay!

For more ideas purchase the book Communication Studies: Preparing Students for CAPE by Edlin Rochford

Sunday, September 27, 2009



Ø Cover Page
Ø Introductory Statement
Ø Table of Content
Ø Acknowledgement (Optional)
Ø Rationale for Reflective One
Ø Reflective Piece Number One
Ø Rationale for Reflective Two
Ø Reflective Piece Number Two
Ø Analysis of Reflective Piece (Your original work or a relevant/pertinent piece that’s someone else’s)
Ø Conclusion (Optional)
Ø Bibliography

Ø Name of Student
Ø Name of School
Ø Centre Number
Ø Subject
Ø Topic/Theme
Ø Teacher’s Name
Ø Territory

Ø State the Theme of your Portfolio (General)
Ø State if there is a sub-topic to your Theme (Specific)
Ø State how your Theme/Topic is linked to your academic work (how can this help you or your classmates at this point in time)
Ø How is this research for your portfolio linked to your future career? Is it going to help you in any way? Did you choose the topic with your career in mind?
Ø Who or what motivated you to choose to research this topic?
Ø What do you hope will happen at the end of doing this portfolio? Be simple! Be specific! Do not generalise and be grand in your expectations!
Ø What is the content of your portfolio? (Optional)

Next: What’s in the Rationale?
How to begin your Reflective pieces
How to prepare for your Oral Presentation
NB: For help with this subject try purchasing a copy of "Communication Studies: Preparing students for CAPE"