A common question asked in Part 2 - Language and mass communication is: ‘To what extent does a medium, determine a particular message?’ Here we look at how the mass media use language to inform, persuade or entertain. A range of different texts can be studied, from speeches to blogs. Here are a few basic requirements that one should consider when working on Part 2.


For Part 2 you will explore a great range of text types, from brochures to tweets. As Parts 1 and 2 are used to prepare for the Paper 1 exam, you will want to practice close-reading skills with these texts. Furthermore you will want to examine the structural conventions of many text types, asking yourself questions such as: 'What makes a speech a speech?' 'What is the difference between an opinion column and an essay?' 'What are the effects of various media on their audience?'  

The Language A: Language and Literature guide suggests we explore several types of non-literary texts, such as the following (follow links to pages that deconstruct various text types):

Remember: A texts, as defined by IB, is anything that carries meaning. Having said this, you will only want to explore meaningful text in the classroom. Grouping non-literary (and literary) texts into themes or 'topics' will help make lessons more meaningful.

feature articles
news reports
opinion columns

song lyrics
tabloid articles
travel writing


On page 19 and 20 of the Language A: Language and Literature guide, you find a list of 'suggest topics' that you can explore for Part 2.On IB documentation, such as written task rationale forms, you will have to communicate which 'topics' you have studied. Your lessons may be organized around a particular theme or subject, but it is important that several of these 'topics' relate to the texts that you explore. How many do we suggest by 'several'? There is no exact requirement, but you may consider covering three to seven different topics. HL students may cover more 'topics' that SL students. Here is a list of the 'suggested topics' as they appear in the guide (see pages in the left column for lessons on these topics).


Part 1
gender (inequality, constructions of masculinity and femininity)
language and communities (nation/region, subcultures)
language and the individual (multilingualism/bilingualism, language profile/identity)
language and power (linguistic imperialism, propaganda)
history and evolution of the language (disappearing and revival languages, creoles) 
translation (what is added and what is lost)
language and knowledge (science and technology, argot and jargon)
language and social relations (social and professional status, race)
language and belief (religious discourse, mythology)
language and taboo (swearing, political correctness)

How much time should we spend on Part 2 - Language and mass communication? These are the required amount of hours at Standard and Higher Level for a two year IB course. Remember that these hours include training for the forms of assessment that correspond to these parts of the course.

 40 hours

 60 hours


There are three forms of assessment that correspond to the learning outcomes and topics in Part 2.

Further oral activities - You will have to conduct at least one further oral activity that relates to Part 2.

Written tasks - Students write several written tasks for their written task portfolio. At both SL and HL students must include at least one written task that corresponds to Part 1.

Paper 1 - The kinds of skills required for the Paper 1 exam should be dealt with in Parts 1 and 2 of the course These include: commentary writing, comparative analytical skills, close reading and the identification of various stylistic features.

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Comments 5

Kristina Nesbitt 27 January 2017 - 01:46

Can press releases be added to the "Texts List"? I created a lesson on how the "State" uses press releases as a sales tool to promote the public interest. We analyzed PSAs and the press releases that announce the new PSA campaigns as part of IB Topic - Language and the State. Most government agencies still send out press releases, and reporters still use all or part of them in news stories. Are press releases becoming outdated as a form of mass communication and is that why they are not listed?

Tim Pruzinsky 27 January 2017 - 04:13

Hi Kristina,

Yes, press releases still exist, and yes, study them if you wish!

The "Texts List" is taken from the Subject Guide on page 20. What is key is this statement in the guide: "The list of suggestions below is not exhaustive." In other words, all text types count and matter! The IB is just providing a list of some of the possible text types out there and we are doing the same.


David McIntyre 27 January 2017 - 04:18

I think your idea is splendid, Kristina. Lists of text types are not exhaustive and should not be viewed as such.

I think it is very timely to be studying press releases. As the ability of established, traditional newspapers and periodicals to do good journalism diminishes (in an environment of diminishing returns) it is the case that things such as press releases (particularly those dispatched by PR agencies) are increasingly entering the media (and onto our screens and into our households) in unscrutinised ways. This isn't, by the way, my view, or even one of those alternative facts; rather evidence and data underpin the observation.

Go with your idea, I say.

Best regards,


Ian Meyskens 29 August 2017 - 12:39

An editing suggestion: "Written tasks - Students write several written tasks for their written task portfolio. At both SL and HL students must include at least one written task that corresponds to Part 1." In this section you must mean "corresponds to Part 2"? Thanks.

David McIntyre 29 August 2017 - 19:34

That would make sense Ian. Thanks.

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