Why study this subject?
It’s all around us! Language defines us: We use language – written, spoken and electronic – all of the time, but do we stop to consider HOW language is used and question it? Is the English Language sexist? How do we use language to exert power? How do children learn to speak?
Effective study of language requires curiosity, a keen eye and ear, a questioning approach and awareness of key concepts. The A level course will provide you with the opportunity to explore contemporary language, branching out from your own language use to wider social implications. You will learn to become a linguistic detective, taking a forensic approach – looking out for the smallest clues in a text as to its purpose and meaning and, like a detective, you will be stepping back from the individual words to assess the wider context.
You will learn to read as writers and to write as readers, developing an enquiring and open mind. Language will never be the same again!
What will the subject include?
We study OCR English Language. The subject is divided into three components all of which are assessed at the end of Y13.
There are three components that make up the A-Level course (to be studied over two years):
C1: Exploring Language
C2: Dimensions of linguistic variation
C3: Independent Language Research
C1 Exploring Language
Section A is Language under the microscope. Students read one text (modern non-fiction) and answer two ‘identify/analyse’ questions focusing on named levels of language. This allows students to show off their linguistic knowledge and ability to analyse which builds on GCSE skills.
Section B is writing about a topical issue. Students complete a 500 word editorial based on a contentious statement related to language e.g. Technology is spoiling the English Language. This is an opportunity for students to take a biased opinion towards an issue and write imaginatively in the editorial format.
Section C is Comparing and Contrasting. Students answer one question Analyse the way language is used… in two texts. This will include spoken and written texts, both modern.
C2 Dimensions of Linguistic Variation
Section A is Child Language Acquisition. Students answer one question on spoken data (of a child or children aged 0-7 years) with specified language levels to consider.
Section B is Language in the Media. Students answer one question on how language and context influence meaning. Focused on modern texts and considering well studied areas of sociolinguistics such as the effect of power or gender on language use.
Section C is Language Change. Students answer one question which simply asks how two texts show language change across 400 years of English language development.
C3 Independent Language Research
Students select their own area of interest and design and investigation into the language of this area. It is both the most interesting and challenging part of the course but one which never fails to pique the interest of staff and students. 2000-2500 words
Additionally, there is an ‘Academic Poster’ Task which offers students the chance to represent their investigation findings in a more succinct and interesting form. 750-1000 words
AS Version of C1 exam (1h 30)
Section A asks one question on one text. ‘Identify/Analyse’..
Section B asks one question ’compare and contrast’ two texts.
Where will it lead?
English Language is a well regarded, traditional A level which is accepted for most degree courses and valued by a number of institutions such as banks, industries and retailers. It is, however, especially suited to those who wish to pursue careers in journalism, law, education, public relations, and advertising.
Which other subjects complement this subject?
History, Media Studies, English Literature, Modern Foreign Languages, Psychology, Sociology.
Subject specific requirements?
Minimum level 5/6 in English Language.
For examination board link, click here.
Last updated: 04-05-18