A Level English Language

What does the course aim to do?

The course will give you the skills and knowledge to explore the spoken and written language found in everyday life and develop you as a more flexible and effective writer over a wide range of purposes and audiences. You will learn:

  • how purpose, audience and social context affects the language we use;
  • how to adopt different writing styles;
  • how we influence and control those around us through our language choices;
  • how technology is changing the way we speak, write and spell;
  • research skills;
  • comparison skills;
  • how children learn speech, and reading and writing skills;
  • how language changes over time.

What will I be studying?

A-Level

Component 1 – Language the Individual and Society (examination)

A: Textual variations and representations

This unit requires pupils to study a range of texts from a linguistic viewpoint. In the examination, pupils will be provided with two texts that are linked by topic / theme. Each text is then linguistically analysed in detail and then both texts are compared.

B: Children’s Language Development

This unit requires pupils to analyse how children learn, acquire and use language by considering the various linguistic stages in their development and studying the different theories associated with this this development. In the examination, pupils will be given a selection of data which they then use to answer a specific question on an area of children’s language development making reference to the data provided in the examination question, and using this alongside their wider knowledge.

Component 2 –Language diversity and change (examination)

A: Diversity and change

This unit requires pupils to explore how different groups use language differently (gender, occupation, region, social groups) and also to study how language has changed over time. In the examination pupils will be provided with a choice of two questions; one on language diversity and one on language change.

B: Language discourses

In this unit, pupils analyse texts linked to the topics in section A (language diversity and language change) and analyse the presentation of information. Pupils then have to create a modern day article to explain a specified element of these topics to the wider (unknowing) general public.

Component 3 – Language in Action (coursework)

In this unit, candidates apply their knowledge of linguistic methods and concepts acquired over the course to two separate pieces of writing: a language investigation and piece of original writing (this includes an associated commentary to critically evaluate their piece and its successes.)

How will I be assessed?

A-Level

Component 1 – External examination: 2 hours

40% of the total A-level marks

Component 2 – External examination: 2 hours

40% of the total A-level marks

Component 3 – Coursework (Internally assessed)

20% of the total A-level marks

  • Language investigation (2000 words)
  • Original writing (750 words)
  • Original writing commentary (750 words)

Am I suited to this subject?

You should have a curiosity about how language is used in everyday life and the effect it is intended to have on its audience. This interest should cover a wide range of material from written non-fiction sources like: adverts, recipes, articles, packaging and instruction manuals to spoken sources like: speeches, scripts, conversations, film trailers and school lessons. You should have analytical, accurate and developed writing skills, and be able to evaluate texts effectively. You should also be self-motivated as you will need to carry out a lot of independent research and reading.

Where will it lead in the future?

This course combines well with all types of other subjects at A Level, but has clear links with Psychology, Sociology, Film Studies and Modern Languages, and shares many skills with the Sciences and Mathematics. In essence, it is a little bit like studying the Science of Language. Similarly, English Language can prepare you for entry into many different careers but specifically it is a very useful subject to study if you are thinking of Journalism, Advertising, Marketing, Teaching or Speech Therapy as future careers.

How will I study?

Methods are extremely varied: collecting and analysing material from a wide range of sources, spoken as well as written; studying concepts and acquiring information from textbooks and course materials; close analysis and evaluation of particular examples, often in groups; producing your own writing and evaluating it; carrying out your own research.

What will I need to do myself?

There will be regular assignments of different types: analysing and annotating data; writing formal essays; reading textbooks and making notes; collecting spoken and written data, writing for different audiences and purposes. Coursework will take up a considerable amount of your time. Obviously a wide-ranging course like this will involve you in a lot of background reading.

Why should I come to Canon Slade to study English Language?

The course is taught by a team of experienced and enthusiastic staff who gain excellent results. Studying this subject will allow you to gain invaluable skills in interpreting, and producing, written and spoken texts. Students of the subject often combine it with Law, Sociology, Psychology, Media Studies, Modern Languages and Sciences. The subject is an ideal choice for those who wish to go on to enter careers as diverse as the world of journalism and speech therapy.

Additional information from Miss L J Bramfit

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