I am learning to understand how vocabulary choices, including evaluative language can express shades of meaning.
- I can consider how language is used for persuasion in advertisements.
- I can analyse a text to identify how evaluative language is used for persuasion.
- I can experiment with using evaluative language to sell a product.
Discuss the term evaluative language ensuring students are aware that evaluative language is positive or negative language that judges the worth of something and that it can be explicit (clearly stated) or implicit (leave the reader to assume the intention). Ensure students note that evaluative language can be used to position readers.
Prior to reading the play Get Real Estate, discuss any advertisements students may have seen for a product they have bought, for example for a toy or a bar of chocolate. Select one of these examples, such as a bar of chocolate. Discuss what might be included in the advertisement (e.g. how tasty the chocolate is) and what is omitted (e.g. the downsides of eating chocolate such as the fact that too much sugar can have a negative impact on your teeth).
Inform students that the role of salespeople is to sell a product and often they do this by emphasising its positive points and downplaying its negative points just as an advertisement does. Ensure students are aware of what real estate agents do and the fact that they are specific types of salespeople who focus on leasing and selling property.
Read the play Get Real Estate through once, selecting students to read in character for each of the roles. Refer back to pages 13 and 14. Collaboratively analyse the lines of the play for examples of where the real estate agents (Louise and Bevan) try to talk up the positives about the property and omit or turn negatives into positives. Examples include:
As you can see, it’s very modern and spacious. (Inform students that Louise is emphasising the positives, using vocabulary such as modern)
There are loads of people who want to take the flat. We’ve taken lots of calls. Flats in this area have become very popular. (Inform students that the salespeople are using a specific tactic here, focusing on the desire for the area while avoiding focusing on the specific flat. Emphasise the use of evaluative language such as popular).
The ad in the paper said nothing about a cupboard. The ad said, this spacious flat has a bedroom, lounge room, shower and kitchen. Not to be missed. First to see it will definitely take it. (When Nick thinks the bedroom is a cupboard, Louise and Bevan focus on factual information, what was included in the advertisement rather than the size of the bedroom. Emphasise evaluative language such as not to be missed).
Small rooms are all the rage. (Louise and Bevan then try to convince Nick that small rooms are very popular, using evaluative language such as all the rage)
Have you ever been cooking something in the kitchen, cooking something delicious?
Soup, maybe cooking soup in the kitchen? And you’ve thought, ‘Oh, I’d better have a shower.’ (to turn a negative into a positive)
Emphasise examples of ways the real estate agents try to persuade Nick such as when Louise and Bevan tell him that small bedrooms are popular with celebrities and that it would be useful to be able to shower while cooking.
Place students in pairs or small groups and instruct them to continue reading the play, Get Real Estate, and identify examples similar to those above. Students can jot these in their workbook or underline the examples on a photocopy of the play.
Discuss examples, such as:
The fact that there isn’t enough electricity for the flat they are viewing and for the neighbour to use at the same time, which Louise and Bevan explain as perfect as Nick will be home at different times to the neighbour so they won’t both require electricity at the same time. Emphasise lines such as:
Nick: What about the fridge? It needs electricity. My food will go off!
Bevan: Don’t worry about anything, we can figure all the details out later.
Inform students that they will be composing a brief script where one character attempts to sell a flawed product to another, just as real estate agents in Get Real Estate tried to sell a flawed home. Discuss products that would not be fit for purpose encouraging students to come up with some silly ideas. Provide examples such as a chocolate frying pan, shoes made of paper or a car made of cardboard. Jot the ideas on the board for students to refer back to.
Tell students that when writing the lines for the salesperson they will need to emphasise the positive points of the product while downplaying or distracting the customer from the negatives.
Collaboratively compose a brief example, similar to the one below:
Salesperson: Hello, I see you’re looking at our new shoes. Shoes have been very popular this season.
Customer: Right, but these are made of paper.
Salesperson: Oh yes, such a lightweight product, perfect for summer.
Customer: But isn’t paper an unusual material to make shoes out of?
Salesperson: We agree, they are unique. And these ones are such a lovely colour.
Customer: What about rain?
Salesperson: Ah now, it is summer and it rains less in summer.
Customer: But it does still rain.
Salesperson: Think how much everyone will love the style. They’re so unusual. All the celebrities are wearing shoes now.
Customer: But these will be ruined in no time. No thanks, I’m off to find some proper shoes.
Place students in the pairs or small groups they worked in earlier. Instruct them to select a product that is not fit for purpose. Tell them to refer to the list of ideas on the board if they need support with generating ideas.
Instruct students to compose a brief script where a salesperson is trying to sell a flawed product to a customer. Remind students that they’ll need to select the evaluative language they use to ensure it detracts from the negatives and that they emphasise the positives. Once students have completed their scripts, instruct them to perform to another group. Tell the audience to listen out for vocabulary used to persuade the customer.