McGowan, Ursula
The University of Adelaide

Ursula McGowan
Coordinator, Language and Learning Service
Advisory Centre for University Education
The University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005

phone: +61 8 8303 4745
fax: +61 8 8303 3553

Strand: educational

Title: Trial of a media language program for Economics I students.

An understanding of current economic developments as reported in the media is crucial for students of Economics and Commerce. However, students from language backgrounds other than English who are new to the Australian culture tend to find the reading of newspaper articles on economic issues very difficult, not only because the language of Economics in the newspapers is highly complex but also because of short-hand references to local knowledge.

This paper reports on the trial of a course outline and materials project based on an analysis of lexical and grammatical metaphor in a selection of Australian print media articles. The analysis builds on work reported at the ISFC in 1996 "Metaphor and congruence in the media: barriers for international Economics students" and makes use of the Macintosh-based Systemic Coder WAG (Workbench for Analysis Generation) made available by Mick O'Donnell (1995).

The report of the project will be in three phases: (1) the selection and analysis of media readings for congruence and metaphor; (2) the development and application of language learning strategies for unpacking media language and (3) a preliminary report on student progress in developing independent strategies for unpacking simple and complex metaphors.