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Est. 1921

English Language

What is this course about?

You will learn linguistic methods and sociolinguistics to analyse English language in a range of texts and contexts. You will learn about the diversity of spoken language within the British Isles. In addition, you will learn how babies and young children acquire language and you will also learn about how and why language has changed and developed over time to be the language that we speak today. You will develop your creative writing skills and become confident writers who can write for a range of target audiences, purposes and contexts.

You will also learn about concepts of power and representation in your study of language.  At A-Level, you will complete a Language Investigation consisting of 2000 words and focusing on an area of your choice which may include: representation, language and gender, the language of communication technologies, children’s language use, the language if the media or historical changes in English over time to name a few.

Course Content

2 year A-Level course

Paper 1: Language, the Individual and Society

2hrs 30min examination, 100 marks, worth 40%.

Topics covered:

  • Language, the Individual and Society - this area of study introduces students to methods of language analysis to explore concepts of audience, purpose, genre, mode and representation. It also introduces students to the study of children’s language development, exploring how children learn and develop language.
  • Textual Variations and Representations - At A-Level you will learn about language using a variety of modes (written, spoken and electronic), from different times and places (global, national and regional).
  • Methods of Language Analysis - you will learn a framework for analysing texts linguistically – you will be expected to examine: phonetics, phonology and prosodics: how speech sounds and effects are articulated and analysed, graphology, lexis and semantics, grammar and morphology.
  • Children’s Language Development - you will learn about the functions of children’s language development and you will study theories and research about language development.

Paper 2: Language Diversity and Change

2hrs 30min examination, 100 marks, worth 40%.

Topics covered:

  • Language Diversity and Change – you will study those topics covered at A-Level along with additional topics such as global, national and regional English. You will study texts from different periods, from 1600 to the present day.
  • Language Discourses you will study a range of texts that convey attitudes to language diversity and change. You will explore how texts: represent language, construct an identity for the producer and are connected to discourses about language.
  • Writing Skills - you will develop skills in writing discursively about language issues in an academic essay and writing analytically about texts as parts of discourses about language.

Non-exam assessment: Language in Action Language Investigation

3,500 word, worth 20% of the overall grade.

  • Language in Action - the aim of this unit is to allow you to explore and analyse language data independently and develop your own writing expertise.
  • Language Investigation - you will complete a language investigation (2,000 words excluding data and a piece of original writing (750 words) and supporting commentary (750 words).
  • Original Writing you will produce one piece of original writing based on one of the following three areas: the power of persuasion, the power of storytelling, the power of information and one accompanying commentary.

What might this course lead on to?

Studying A-Level English Language will open a wide range of career opportunities to you. Many employers look for potential employees with an A Level in English, as it shows that you have good communication skills.  At degree level, you can choose to study English Language, Linguistics or a whole range of courses which combine English with other subjects. There are aspects of psychology (psycholinguistics) and sociology (sociolinguistics) in your A-Level language studies which might inspire you to study those subjects at university. English Language students sometimes branch into criminology and specialise in criminal linguistics. A-Level Language is also an ideal route into careers such as journalism, teaching and law.

Entry Requirements:

Grade 5 in GCSE English Language or English Literature.