WHAT IS ENGLISH LANGUAGE?
English language is the study of English in its widest sense, from the first words a baby makes to the most sophisticated advert or manipulative political speech. We look at the ways in which writers and speakers change and adapt their language in order to get the reactions that they want from their audience and teach you to do the same. Language is powerful; it can revel your gender, your social class, your ethnicity and even your occupation and affect the way others perceive you. Examining the way people interact can tell you much more than you might think.
WHY STUDY THIS COURSE?
Study English language to improve the quality of your own written and spoken language for a wide range of careers and opportunities, to sharpen your analytical and interpretive abilities and to develop your research skills.
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT FROM ENGLISH LANGUAGE?
A great deal of the subject involves reading or listening to and discussing language from an incredibly wide range of sources, including London street-gang members and the Queen, advertisements and social media, formal speeches and jokes, babies and the elderly, speakers from all around the country and all around the world, to see how they affect their audience and affect the way we see the person producing them. You will be expected to offer your own analyses and interpretations and to be able to make use of the same techniques. We will also spend time looking at the latest theories about, and research into, language issues; is the language of boys and girls different? Can you identify if a speaker is Asian, black or white and does this affect the way we see them? Why do young children say “I seed it” or “I wented there” when nobody has ever said those words to them? You will also improve your own writing in a wide range of styles and for a wide range of purposes and will also undertake original research into an area of language that interests you.
HOW IS THE COURSE ASSESSED?
You will complete a coursework project of around 3000 words (20% of the overall mark) and two examinations at the end of the two-year course.
WHO IS THE COURSE SUITABLE FOR?
Anybody interested in a degree or career based in communications or the media including law, public relations, journalism, publishing, script writing or teaching. English language is also highly valued by universities for students studying maths, science, medicine or technology and equally for the humanities such as history, philosophy or geography.
WHAT CAN I DO WITH AN A LEVEL IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE?
Most of our students progress to university across a very wide range of degree courses from those directly-related such as English, linguistics, speech and language therapy and journalism, but a great many find that English supports their studies in medicine, law, history, science and humanities. Others progress into work in fields such as journalism and public relations and or onto apprenticeships in fields such as law and media.
WHAT WILL I STUDY?
TEXTUAL VARIATIONS AND REPRESENTATIONS
Here you will study a range of texts about different subjects, by varied writers for different audiences writing at different times. By looking at this material, we’ll examine the effects that these different contexts have on the language choices their writers and speakers have made. To do this, you’ll need to understand how we use words, sounds, grammar and structure and how this affects our meanings.
CHILDREN’S LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT
In this topic we will look at the process of learning to speak and the stages at which we do so. We’ll look at the way children’s language begins to develop even before they speak their first words and how it progresses to sentences then to conversations and on to written language as their skills improve.
LANGUAGE DIVERSITY AND CHANGE
Here we will look at the enormous number of factors that are believed to influence the language that English speakers use including gender, age, social group and occupation. We’ll also look at the ways in which English has changed over its lifetime and how new electronic forms of English are influencing its future.
This topic involves studying language that is intended to present ideas, attitudes or opinions by looking at writing that is intended to shape or alter the views of others. You will use this knowledge to analyse texts that use these techniques then go on to write your own.
This will be an independent investigation into an aspect of language that you will choose yourself in collaboration with your teacher. Your research will lead to a 2,000 word written exploration of your topic.
For this part of the A-Level, you will produce a 1,500 word piece of your own writing in a style and to a standard that could be published commercially. You’ll be given guidance by your teacher about what might be appropriate but you’ll also have lots of freedom to choose what you want to write depending on what you read and what you know about. When you have written your text, you will then go on to write an analysis of your own text explaining the language choices that you have made.
ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES WITHIN THIS SUBJECT
Previous students studying English Language have had the opportunity to visit universities to experience undergraduate level study and learn more about studying English Language at a higher level.