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Giggle, chortle,

smirk or lol?

Humour is an incredibly powerful tool. It can ease awkward situations, make

people laugh and even help to persuade people to agree with your point of

view. But what makes people laugh varies enormously: what you find funny

might not be funny at all to someone very different from you – a parent,

grandparent or someone from another background. Different cultures also

tend to like different types of humour. You may have noticed differences in the

way that comedy from Australia, Britain or the USA is structured and in the

kinds of jokes used.

One thing is for sure, the trick to being funny is finding what is amusing to

your specific audience and situation. If you misjudge your audience’s sense of

humour you won’t hear any laughter, only the sound of crickets.

In this unit you will learn:


how to analyse the way a humorous text is constructed


how humour has developed over time


some of the reasons why different types of humour appeal to different



how to create your own humorous texts using different language techniques.

Humorous texts

Dog Descended from Wild Animals May

Die If Not Fed $80-a-bag Food

A small dog whose ancestors survived for thousands

of years on scraps and raw meat can only stomach a

scientifically-developed mix of organic chicken liver and

cracked pearled barley.

The dog, named Joseph, told reporters today that he

was allergic to wheat, leftover sausages, some proteins,

and any food costing less than $10 a kilo. ‘It’s a hereditary

thing,’ he said.

Joseph – a member of the canine group of species

– said his food had an exclusively-designed texture that

encouraged chewing and promoted digestion. ‘It has a

clinically proven formula to produce a healthy immune

system and promote good bacteria – just like my ancestors

would have eaten. It’s the balanced diet I need for my

rigorous lifestyle,’ he said, before heading off for a nap.

Offered a leftover chop, Joseph said it was ‘too risky’.

‘Are you mad? Do you even know what’s in that thing?

Who knows what that could do to my coat, let alone my

skin condition?’ he said.

Joseph says that, just like his great-great-great-great

grandfather, he strictly eats 1.25 cups of food a day.



The Shovel, 21 January 2016




Your teacher will advise you on which of the

following activities to complete, and whether

to work individually or in small groups. 1


Choose an issue related to the modern-day pampered pet and transform it into a

satirical news article using the comedy techniques discussed in this unit.

To begin, think about the pets that you know or have read about and imagine what

they might say about an issue if you could give them a voice. What would they

complain about? What would they want to change? What would their hopes and

dreams include? Consider what might be:


easy to exaggerate


the least sensible angle on the issue


the funniest feature to parody.

Your final article should be 300–350 words, and should include a headline and one

image, photograph or hand-drawn cartoon that you created yourself. The image,

photo or cartoon should emphasise the central joke or humour of the article.

One way to find an idea is to read a newspaper or news website and consider how a

pet might respond to some of the issues.

Some ideas to get you started are:

◆ ◆ celebrity life: famous dogs discussing the

paparazzi interrupting their long cafe lunches


global warming: goldfish being interviewed

about rising sea levels and the impact on

their lives


internet memes: cats complaining about

being stereotyped as ‘hostile’ following the

rise of the Grumpy Cat


politics: an interview with a dog, maybe even

a dog called Joseph, who models himself on

US politician Donald Trump.

Remember the three golden rules of comedy for your class, and that good satire is

witty and clever.

List some of the issues that might be transformed into satirical articles.


16 insight English Skills 8


Tone refers to the intended mood or feeling of a text. In the case of a speech, tone is

conveyed through both the language choices and the delivery. Here are some words that

can be used to describe tone.


respectful concerned












1 Circle three of the following words that you think describe the tone of Churchill’s speech.

enthusiastic sombre confident irritated condescending commanding

2 Which words and phrases in the speech help to establish this tone?

3 Sort the tones in the speech bubbles above into the table and add one more of your own to each list.

Positive tone

Neutral tone – not positive

or negative

Negative tone

4 Rewrite one section of Churchill’s speech by replacing words or altering phrases to change the

tone. For example, you could change ‘I have, myself, full confidence’ to ‘I am sort of confident’ to

convey a hesitant tone.


5 Read your altered section aloud, either to the class or to a partner, using your body language

and expression to help convey the tone you’re aiming for. Can your audience identify the tone?

22 insight English Skills 8


The camera angle refers to whether the audience seems to be looking up at, down on

or on the same level as the main focus of the action. The camera angle can be used to

influence how the audience feels about a character.

A high-angle shot shows characters

and objects from above – a bird’s-eye

view. It usually makes the viewer feel

more powerful than the character.

An eye-level shot shows a character

or an object from the level of the

character’s eyes. It is often used to

express objectivity.

1 Find one still image from The Princess Bride that

represents each angle and distance. You could do this

by taking a screen capture, finding images online or

even taking a quick snap of the shot while the film is

paused. (The quality of the photo isn’t important, as

long as the scene is visible.) Caption each with the

type of shot, what it shows and what emotion or

feeling it expresses.

For example:

The eye-level shot of Inigo looking straight at the

camera makes the viewer feel that they are being

challenged to a duel.

A low-angle shot shows characters

and objects from below. It usually

stresses the importance of the



© The Princess Bride Ltd.

All Rights Reserved.

Unit 5: Adapting stories for film




a Research an unusual sport such as one of these listed below.


Finnish wife-carrying


Sepak takraw


Worm charming








Clog cobbing


Fireball soccer





b Imagine you are commentating live on this event. Write a paragraph of

your commentary, using jargon you found in your research, or inventing

five new jargon terms that could be used for equipment, positions or

manoeuvres in this sport.

c Provide a glossary explaining the meaning of each jargon term.


Write a 400-word reflective piece on the topic ‘Why sport is/isn’t an important

part of my identity’. Use the table below to plan your response.


Paragraph 1

Introduce the topic and state your position, briefly outlining your

main points.


Paragraph 2

Explain your first supporting reason with examples from your life

and sport in general.

Explain your second supporting reason with examples from your life

and sport in general.


Paragraph 3

Explain your third supporting reason with examples from your life

and sport in general.

Conclusion Sum up your main points and restate your position.

Unit 8: Sport and identity



A preposition is a word that indicates the position of an object in relation to space or

time. The word ‘preposition’ (pre + position) means ‘to place before’. Prepositions usually

come before another word, usually a noun or noun phrase. To find the noun or noun

phrase that a preposition relates to, ask who or what or where.



The man ran into the pole. (What did he run into? The pole.)


She saw her sister across the street. (Where did she see her? Across the street.)

Using English well often relies on understanding which structures are appropriate for

your situation and audience. Some people argue that you should never end a sentence

with a preposition, but in informal communication it is very common. When you are

writing formal texts or speaking in formal situations, the best way to determine if you

can use a preposition at the end of a sentence is to consider whether the sentence would

make sense if the preposition was deleted. For example, ‘where are you going to?’ may

be appropriate in a novel or an informal email or talking to friends, but ‘where are you

going?’ is more appropriate for a formal occasion.

1 The following is a table of common prepositions. Using this table as a guide, underline the

prepositions in the extract on page 82.

Common prepositions

aboard about across after against

along amid among as at

before behind below beneath beside

between beyond but by down

during for from in inside

into near of off on

onto outside over past round

through to towards under underneath

until up upon with within

2 Rewrite the following sentences so that they have a formal register. You may need to do more

than remove the preposition from the end of the sentence when you rewrite.



Hey, mate, where are you going to?



That’s the table you were supposed to put it on top of!

Isn’t that wrong but?


That isn’t the bowl of spag-bol you were supposed to put the cheese onto.

Unit 11: Revolutionary texts



1 Consider these sentences. Each one tries to encourage the reader to feel a different way about

the protesters by setting a slightly different tone. Find two words in the table below that you

think best describe the tone of each sentence.





As you learned in Unit 3, tone is the mood or feeling of a text. Verbs and adverbs play an

important role in creating tone because the way you describe actions and ideas affects

how other people feel about them. For example, to say you are happy creates a very

different impression to saying that you are totally ecstatic or mildly content.

annoyed frightened angry concerned

bored content fearful threatened

miserable irritated sarcastic calm

frustrated overjoyed scared thrilled

The protesters continually shouted their message.

The protesters violently screamed their message.

The protesters repeatedly stated their message.

The protesters incessantly squawked their message.

2 Highlight the verbs in the following sentence from the Clean Up Australia article about mobile


These poisonous substances may leach from decomposing waste in landfills,

seep into groundwater and contaminate the soil.

3 Complete the analysis of how the verbs you identified in the previous question help to create the

tone of the sentence. (Add at least two words to describe the tone; you could use words from the

table above.)

The three verbs

help to create a

intended to make readers feel

away their mobile phones and

tone. This tone is

about the way they throw


about the environment.

4 Write a short paragraph, using an irritated and angry tone, about environmental damage.

Unit 15: Sustaining an argument


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