English Language

Matthew Smallridge
Matthew Smallridge

WHAT IS ENGLISH LANGUAGE?

English Language is the study of the ways in which we use speech and writing to covey thoughts, views, ideas and relationships to other people. Moving on from GCSE, you’ll develop a fuller understanding of the way that language works, how we learn it and how we use it to affect others’ perceptions of us and the things we speak and write about.

WHY STUDY THIS COURSE?

If you are interested in developing a deeper understanding of how language has changed and evolved from analysing babies’ gurgling through complex conversations to Facebook posts and news reports then English Language is the subject for you! You will complete an independent investigation into an area of language that interests you.

WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT FROM ENGLISH LANGUAGE?

You can expect English Language to be challenging, stimulating, lively and creative. We will expect you to engage with ideas and materials with which you are not familiar and to do things that you might, at first, find difficult. But you can also expect to be supported and guided by committed and enthusiastic teachers who want you to succeed and who will always be willing to help you to do so. The course involves a great deal of discussion, debate and collaboration and will allow you to be experimental and innovative with your own language use.

HOW IS THE COURSE ASSESSED?

The English Language course is assessed through examinations and coursework with 80% of your final marks from examinations and 20% from coursework.

WHO IS THE COURSE SUITABLE FOR?

As English Language will develop your analysis skills, your ability to write in accurate formal Standard English and your ability to present ideas in a coherent and convincing way, Universities love it and it will support you in all of your college and future studies. But it’s also helpful for people who want to go into more creative fields and will support you in a range of further study and employment.

WHAT CAN I DO WITH AN A-LEVEL IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE?

As well as being useful for students who want to go on to study or work in obviously related things such as university courses in English, courses or careers in journalism, publishing, teaching, creative writing, or Media or Film Studies, English Language is also incredibly useful if you want to go into the sciences, foreign languages, the medical and allied healthcare professions, history, the social sciences, caring professions or law.

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.

LANGUAGE DISCOURSES

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.

LANGUAGE INVESTIGATION

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.

ORIGINAL WRITING

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.

Entry Requirements

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 4 – 9, across four separate subjects, to include GCSE Mathematics and/or English/English Language.
  • In addition, a grade 5 or above is required in English Language.