Task 1a: Language features and/or literary devices


The text in Task 1a is from a speech given by British broadcaster and natural historian Sir David Attenborough at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poland in December 2018. Task 1a asks you to comment on the effect of some of the language features and/or literary devices Sir David Attenborough uses to enhance his message.

Attenborough addresses the “leaders of the world” (l. 23), representatives of the UN member states. He mentions the promise from the opening statement of the UN Charter which says that everyone should be protected from man-made disasters, adding that humanity is now facing its most dangerous threat, which is climate change. He says that the United Nations offers the opportunity for the entire world to come together and start working on a solution, which is why the United Nations has given a seat to the people at large, so that their opinions can be heard.

Attenborough then recounts how people all over the world have answered polls and sent video messages to give their opinions on climate change. He then adds that he is there to represent the people and urge the world leaders to take action. He stresses that people are ready to make their own sacrifices since they are aware that they should all contribute to saving the environment. Attenborough ends by stressing that their very survival is now in the hands of the UN leaders, and that they should act now.

Choice of words

Throughout the address, Attenborough uses a formal language, with words such as “pledge” (l. 2), “...

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