Loaded Language In Multiple Voices

From Community Narrations

Aims of the practice and description of participants

Participants will identify different words in media texts to explore how language can be influential and emotive.

Resources, Materials needed

- Laptops
- Mobile phones
- Newspaper Articles
- Newspaper Headlines
- List of positive words
- List of negative words
- Pens and Paper


60 - 90 mins.

Step-by-step - what has to be done?

Activity 1
A simple start: word sort
Give out lists of words that carry positive, negative, or neutral connotations.
In pair ask them to sort their words into positive, negative, and neutral groups. (5 mins)
Give them an article and ask them to replace the words in the article with either positive or negative words. (10 mins)
Feedback to group. (10 mins)

Activity 2
Loaded Language In Multiple Voices
In small groups of 3 give out one positive, one negative, and one neutral article about a single event. For exampple - David Cameron ‘Swarm of People’

Ask them to individually list any positive, negative, or neutral words. (5 mins)
Then together they look for similarities, differences, and potentially loaded language. Ask them to circle words they believe carry emotional connotation.
Ask them to discuss and make notes and then to the following questions:
1. Who is the audience for each separate article?
2. Who are the creators of the article?
3. What is the purpose of each article?
4. How has their understanding of the event been affected by reading all three pieces and how they may have been limited having read only one? (20 mins)
Feed back to the main group what they have discovered. (30 mins)

Learning Outcomes - which skills are addressed?

Activity 1
Participants will have:
- Identified different types of language to create meaning.

Activity 2
Participants will have:
- Gained an awareness of the use of emotive“language”.
- Started to think critically about what they are seeing, reading, and hearing.
- Identified different ways to reach an audience.
- Gained an awareness of audio/visual “language”.
- Started to think critically about what they are seeing, reading, and hearing.

How do you check the outcomes are reached?

Working in pairs they will have:
- Compared notes.
- Identified different words and their meaning.
- Identified how different words in different contexts have different meanings.
- Answered specific questions that encourage them to explore how media products are targeted to certain audiences.
- Identified ways that media producers appeal to certain audiences through specific visual and audio language.

Further links/readings