Saturday, 23 October 2010


The Macquarie Dictionary gives 11 definitions for the word 'text': "1. the main body of matter in a book or manuscript, as distinguished from notes, appendixes, etc; 2. the original words of an author, as distinct from a translation, paraphrase, commentary, or the like; 3. the actual wording of anything written or printed; 4. any of the various forms in which a writing exists; 5. the wording adopted by an editor as representing the original words of an author; 6. any theme or topic; 7. the words of a song or the like; 8. any group of utterances or sentences which show cohesion; a unified passage 9. a textbook; 10. a short passage of Scripture, especially one chosen in proof of a doctrine, as the subject of a sermon, etc; 11. ecclesiastical the letter of the Holy Scripture or the Scriptures themselves."

 I cannot see how any of these could reasonably be interpreted to include the meaning given to the word by Don Carter, the English inspector for the Board of Studies in New South Wales.

When this question:

appeared on this year's final English paper, Mr Carter explained: "We accept visual images are a text in their own right along with the written word. It's all part of the course. The paper is asking students to display their ability to explain and analyse, organise and develop ideas through their control of language and show an ability to explore connection between different texts."

When I read this my first reaction was to feel glad my children have already finished school. Then I remembered that there may one day be grandchildren.


  1. The course requirement evidently doesn't include: "providing a coherent answer to a question." :(

  2. Eh? It's a picture, not a paragraph. And it's a picture of people in sleeping bags. Which is not good.

  3. Hint to examinees: Look at the blue one.

  4. I have been wondering what the answer would be ideally. A few snaps of what you can see around you in the examination room should be acceptable surely - pictures are texts after all, a picture = a thousand words et cetera and presumably means anything you want it to mean, so, if you want yours to be a series of 'texts' about how you receive a High Distinction, that should be all right, shouldn't it?

  5. The blue one? Yes, hmm, well blue = sad perhaps? So, yes, not fitting into the family. Then let's look at the green one. Well, green is for jealousy. Perhaps big sister jealous of the attention, blue is getting for, you know, the sadness. Now, red, that's for passion ... I'm on a roll here, what do you reckon?