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Although I am not a teacher, I am studying English language and am currently trying to do my a-level coursework. i am finding it very difficul to find any website which would help me piece together some points on which i could comment on. I am meant to be comparing a narritve and a diary of a 9 yr old girl and discussing weather she understands the conventions of the two. I am finding it very difficult to think of points to discuss, so if there is anyone who would be able to help me I would be very,very grateful.

thank you very much

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Guest ChristineS

I don't know where you can find lists of these writing conventions on the web, but you could get Sara Thorne's Mastering Advanced English Language from a library. She has a rather dense and detailed chapter on features of narrative structure which would give you some headings under which to analyse the story.

Perhaps your teacher can raid the KS3 strategy for Literacy training materials (a large clip file) which came out a year or three ago and was sent to all Secondary schools, for the lists of writing conventions for different styles that was in it. I am not sure if it had diaries on it, but worth a try. If not, you may have to analyse a few diaries yourself to work out the conventions for yourself!

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Guest Andrew Moore

I'd suggest that trying to evaluate the understanding of any writer is more or less impossible, let alone a nine year old.

And there are not simple, definite and unchanging conventions for either kind of writing.

Fortunately, you do not have to do that. You should focus on the evidence in the two text types.

Here are some things that you should look at, to get you started:

Pragmatics - are there any indications at all that the writer is aware of her reader?

Discourse structure - the diary should be a series of self-contained entries (though the same subjects may reappear). The narrative may reveal some kind of organic plotting.

Structure markers - how does the writer begin and end sections of the narrative/diary entries?

Grammar - what grammatical person does she use in each text? What verb tense(s)? Sentence types - look at frequency of simple, compound and complex.

Style - are certain kinds of lexis more frequent in one than the other? What is the frequency of the first-person pronoun I?

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