English FAL Matric Revision: Language use (literal and figurative meaning, figures of speech, sound, devices, proverbs, idioms, idiomatic expressions, sayings, stock phrases)

CAPS Mathematical Literacy Grade 12: Vocabulary Development and Language Use


Understanding vocabulary development and language use is essential for mastering Mathematical Literacy concepts. This knowledge helps in interpreting questions accurately, instructions properly, and communicating solutions effectively. In Grade 12, you must be adept at literal and figurative meanings, figures of speech, sound devices, proverbs, idioms, idiomatic expressions, sayings, and stock phrases. These elements not only enhance comprehension but also enable precise and enriched expression.

Key Points

Literal and Figurative Meaning

  • Literal Meaning: It refers to the exact, dictionary definition of a word. It is the surface meaning without any deeper interpretation. Example: “There is a snake in the garden.”
  • Figurative Meaning: It implies meanings that are more than literal. These could be metaphors, similes, etc. Example: “Kobus is a snake” means Kobus is deceitful, not an actual snake.

Figures of Speech

  • Metaphor: Describes an object or action as if it were something else. Example: “Time is a thief.”
  • Simile: Compares two different things using “like” or “as”. Example: “As brave as a lion.”
  • Personification: Attributing human characteristics to non-human objects. Example: “The wind whispered through the trees.”

Sound Devices

  • Alliteration: Repetition of the initial consonant sounds. Example: “She sells seashells by the seashore.”
  • Assonance: Repetition of vowel sounds within close proximity. Example: “The early bird catches the worm.”
  • Onomatopoeia: Words that mimic the sounds they describe. Example: “The bee buzzed.”

Proverbs and Idioms

  • Proverbs: Short, commonly known expressions that offer advice. Example: “A stitch in time saves nine.”
  • Idioms: Phrases that have a figurative meaning different from their literal interpretation. Example: “Bite the bullet” means to endure something painful with courage.

Idiomatic Expressions

  • Phrases that convey a figurative meaning. Example: “Kick the bucket” means to die.

Sayings and Stock Phrases

  • Common sayings and stock phrases that are widely understood. Example: “Break the ice” means to initiate conversation in a social setting.

Real-World Applications

Understanding these concepts is crucial in interpreting mathematical problems, especially word problems. For instance, recognizing idiomatic expressions in a problem statement helps in deciphering hidden meanings, leading to accurate problem-solving.

Example Problem:
“If you keep cutting corners, you might find yourself in hot water.”

Here, “cutting corners” means taking shortcuts and “in hot water” means getting into trouble. Recognizing these idioms helps in understanding the risks associated with shortcuts in mathematical procedures or calculations.

Step-by-Step Solution:

  1. Identify idioms and their meanings.
  2. Relate these meanings to the problem statement.
  3. Apply an appropriate mathematical method without taking shortcuts.

Common Misconceptions and Errors

  1. Taking Idiomatic Expressions Literally: Misinterpreting “cutting corners” literally instead of understanding it as taking shortcuts.
  2. Confusing Similar Sounding Words: Homophones like “bear” and “bare”. Context is important to differentiate these.
  3. Ignoring Figurative Language in Instructions: Skipping over phrases like “hit the nail on the head” results in missing out on critical instructions.

Strategies to Avoid Errors:

  • Read carefully to interpret idioms and figurative language.
  • Use context to differentiate homophones.
  • Focus on understanding the problem before proceeding to solve it.

Practice and Review

Practice Questions:

  1. What is the literal meaning of “The sun was scorching hot”?
  2. Identify the figure of speech in “He is a shining star in our class.”
  3. What does the idiom “costs an arm and a leg” mean?

Examination Tips:

  • Look for key phrases and understand their meanings.
  • Manage time effectively by moving on if stuck on interpreting a phrase, and revisit it later.
  • Practice reading comprehension regularly to improve understanding.

Connections and Extensions

Interdisciplinary Links:

  • Literature: Enhances interpretation skills useful in understanding narratives and descriptions in word problems.
  • Science: Recognizing patterns and descriptive language aids in experimental and observational studies.

Real-World Implications:

  • Enhanced communication skills in real-life scenarios.
  • Better interpretation of instructions and guidelines in various fields, from academics to professional settings.

Summary and Quick Review

  • Literal: Direct dictionary meaning.
  • Figurative: Additional, often symbolic meaning.
  • Figures of Speech: Metaphor, simile, personification.
  • Sound Devices: Alliteration, assonance, onomatopoeia.
  • Proverbs and Idioms: Short expressions carrying deeper meanings.

Additional Resources

  • Online Dictionaries: For quick lookup of meanings and usage.
  • Thesaurus: Enhances vocabulary by providing synonyms and antonyms.
  • Literary Websites: Such as SparkNotes for literary devices and their usage.

Understanding the nuances of language is vital for excelling in Mathematical Literacy and beyond. By mastering these concepts, learners can confidently approach and solve problems, ensuring clear and accurate communication.

Feel free to revise each section in detail and practice regularly to enhance your understanding and application of language use in mathematical contexts.

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