Examination Board: AQA Aims:
The English Language A Level course aims to encourage students to pursue linguistic and sociological lines of enquiry, debate different viewpoints about language and develop independent research skills. This course offers opportunities for students to engage in a wide range of written and spoken texts in a creative and critical way. We explore and identify how and why different types of genres are constructed and what influences the process of production and reception. The specification explores the study of English Language both as a medium of communication and as a topic in its own right: it is a creative and expressive tool; a medium we use for making social connections; and it is innately individual. In English Language, we aim to explore the wide range of language as a symbolic system to assert power too. Language and social functions are a key factor in the course.
Language, the Individual & Society
This area of study introduces students to methods of linguistic analysis to explore concepts of audience, purpose, genre, mode and representation. It introduces students to the study of children’s language development, exploring how children learn language and how they are able to understand and express themselves through language. We analyse spoken and written language from different eras, global language, community language and regional styles. This is underpinned with the study of phonetics, graphology, lexis, semantics and grammar.
Language Diversity & Change
Students will study the key concepts of audience, purpose, genre and mode and will explore language in its wider social, geographical and temporal contexts. We explore processes of language change. This part of the subject content also requires students to study social attitudes to, and debates about, language diversity and change.
We examine a range of data to explore how historical influences have impacted upon linguistic change and the inherent debates and issues that affect language.
Non-exam Assessment: Language in Action
The aim of this area of study is to allow students to explore and analyse language data independently and develop and reflect upon their own writing expertise. Students carry out two different kinds of individual research:
• A language investigation (2,000 words excluding data)
• A piece of original writing and commentary (750 words each).
How is it assessed?
TWO exams at the end of the course = 80%
What kinds of students are most suited to this course?
What other courses often combine successfully with this?
The subject reinforces all the other A Level subjects but could reinforce skills required in Media Studies. French and German linguistic analysis would also complement the subject.
What career or higher education options might this course lead to?
Almost any career would embrace English qualifications but the analytical, observant skills required would benefit journalism, media, teaching, management or any career that demands effective communicative skills.
What extra-curricular activities support this course?
Participation in any social activity could become a topic for conversation study! Debating societies, discussion groups, engaging in contemporary media in a diversity of ways are all essential practices for this subject.
Quotations from students:
“Studying English Language brings ordinary conversation to life. I have learned so much about the vocabulary, the manner and the socialisation of communication. Emailing and texting my friends has become a source of investigation. I even find myself applying linguistic theories to dialogue on the TV! If you want to learn a new word every lesson, English Language is for you.”