Oral Commentary English A2 In the oral commentary you are expected to show critical thinking when you discuss a passage. You have to show that you understand the subject matter and your ideas have to be relevant and focused. When presented with an extract from a text, talk about the extract and not about the whole text. Your presentation should be organised and coherent. It should not be a series of unconnected points. It is important that you use examples to prove your arguments. Your language should be accurate, fluent and varied.
Your choice of register and style should be appropriate for the task (don’t use slang in a formal situation). In the oral commentary you can discuss the following points. Stylistic features Discuss words and phrases that seem important, create an image, indicate symbols or foreshadow events. Talk about the characters, the theme, tone, the author’s style and use of time. Identify and discuss: · Key words · Lines · Images (is any particular feeling created? ) · Symbols · Choice of words · Repetitions · Sounds · Structure
Content (plot) Talk about what happens, when and why. What conflict is presented? Narrative voice Who is the speaker? What effect does the narrative voice create? (understanding, closeness, insight in the problems of the narrator, etc) Atmosphere, mood What is the mood? What atmosphere does the writer create? Could be mysterious, romantic, witty, etc. Are there any contrasts and what is the effect of these? Does the writer use irony, humour? Discuss the author’s strengths and weaknesses. Discuss underlying or universal values.
It is important that you don’t just identify different literary effects, you should discuss how they are achieved and the effect of these. When you start your commentary you should have an idea about what you are going to say. Find and organise your arguments and build your commentary around these. To be clear and coherent, you have to be organised. Your presentation should be structured and your ideas and arguments should be in some kind of order. You have to discuss how the author creates effects. Some adjectives to describe TONE:
Formal, informal, serious, humorous, amused, angry, playful, neutral, satirical, gloomy, conciliatory, sad, resigned, cheerful, ironic, clear, detailed, imploring, suspicious, witty… Some adjectives to describe MOOD: Fictional, imaginary, fanciful, idealistic, romantic, realistic, optimistic, pessimistic, gloomy, mournful, sorrowful… Some adjectives to describe ATMOSPHERE Light hearted, playful, tender, enlightened, optimistic, liberating, warm, hopeful, nostalgic, peaceful, welcoming, harmonious, vivacious, confident, idyllic, sympathetic, joyous, dignified, ecstatic, inclusive, cheerful