English FAL Matric Revision: Emotive and manipulative language

Revision Notes for CAPS Grade 12: Critical Language Awareness – Emotive and Manipulative Language


In Grade 12 Mathematical Literacy under the CAPS curriculum, critical language awareness is essential for understanding and effectively communicating mathematical concepts. Emotive and manipulative language often appears in real-world scenarios involving data interpretation, public opinions, advertising, and arguments about policies.


Understanding emotive and manipulative language helps students critically analyze texts and data, discerning the intentions and biases that might be present. This awareness is crucial for making informed decisions and for ethical communication.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify and understand emotive and manipulative language.
  • Critically analyze language used in various contexts.
  • Recognize the impact of language on perception and behavior.

Key Points

1. Emotive Language

  • Emotive language is designed to evoke an emotional response.
  • Words used can inspire emotions such as love, hate, hope, anger, respect, sorrow, bravery, or desire without explicitly stating the emotion.

2. Manipulative Language

  • Manipulative language aims to influence the audience’s thoughts, feelings, or actions.
  • Often involves connotative words (words with associated meanings) to manipulate perceptions.

3. Recognizing Manipulative Statements

  • Example: “All the people in that part of the city are real snakes.”
  • Explanation: The word “snakes” has negative connotations (slyness, dangerousness). The writer uses this word to generate negative emotions toward people from that area.

4. Denotation and Connotation

  • Denotation is the literal meaning of a word.
  • Connotation includes the moods, tones, and additional meanings associated with the word.
  • Example: “Smell” (neutral), “Scent” (positive), “Odour” (negative)【4:2†source】【4:5†source】.

Real-World Applications

Example 1: Advertising

  • Scenario: An advertisement claims, “Our organic fruits are pure, while others are filled with harmful chemicals.”
  • Emotive: Words like “pure” and “harmful” evoke emotions of safety versus fear.
  • Manipulative: Implies a negative aspect of competitors without factual evidence.

Example 2: Data Interpretation in Media

  • Scenario: News article states, “We must hire a lawyer because they have a lawyer.”
  • Divisiveness: Uses “we” and “they” to create an us-vs-them narrative.

Step-by-Step Problem: Critical Analysis of a Statement

  • Statement: “We are the poor, helpless children who are forced to do hours and hours of homework every night.”
  • Emotion Targeted: Pity and outrage towards school authorities or parents.
  • Intended Audience: School authorities/parents.
  • Goal: Possibly to reduce learners’ homework【4:6†source】.

Common Misconceptions and Errors

Misconception 1: Emotive Language is Always Manipulative

  • Clarification: Not all emotive language intends to manipulate. It can also express genuine feelings.

Misconception 2: Connotations are Universally Shared

  • Clarification: Connotations can vary significantly across different cultures and personal experiences.

Practice and Review

Practice Questions

  1. Identify the emotive language:
  2. “You can achieve anything you want if you stop being so lazy.”
  3. Emotion: Shame and motivation.
  4. Audience: Specific learner/class of learners/child.
  5. Goal: To motivate the individual to work hard【4:6†source】.

  6. Critical Reading Exercise:

  7. Read a paragraph from an article and underline words with strong connotations. Explain how they might affect readers’ perceptions.

Review Tips

  • Keywords: Look for emotionally charged words and phrases.
  • Connectors: Identify logical connectors and conjunctions that link arguments and their emotional undertones.
  • Verb Tenses: Note the tense used, as present simple often implies general truth or ongoing scenarios.

Connections and Extensions

Interdisciplinary Links

  • History: Analyze historical speeches for emotive and manipulative language.
  • Economics: Evaluate marketing materials and public communications from companies.

Real-World Implications

  • Analyzing news for bias and understanding political speech can foster a more informed and critically thinking citizenry.

Summary and Quick Review

Key Points Recap

  • Emotive and manipulative language are powerful tools in communication.
  • Denotation and connotation influence reader interpretations.
  • Awareness of these linguistic tools is essential for critical analysis.


  • Emotive Words: Love, hate, hope, anger.
  • Manipulative Words: Connotations of “slyness,” “dangerousness,” etc.
  • Check for Bias: “We vs. They,” generalizations, unsubstantiated claims.

Additional Resources

By mastering these concepts, Grade 12 learners can engage with language critically and enhance their analytical skills, preparing for both exams and real-world scenarios.

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