The A level English Language specification offers opportunities for students to develop their subject expertise by engaging creatively and critically with a wide range of texts and discourses. Students will create texts and reflect critically on their own processes of production, while analysing the texts produced by others. The specification explores the study of English language both as a medium of communication and as a topic in its own right, with an emphasis on the ability of students to pursue lines of enquiry, debate different views, and work independently to research aspects of language in use. Language is seen as a creative tool for expression and social connection, as well as for individual cognition. The study of language as a symbolic system use d to assert power in society is also fundamental to the scope of this specification. The methods of analysis appropriate to the fields of English language/linguistics underpin all the elements of this specification, and these are applied to distinctive topic areas. It is well suited to anyone who wishes to follow a career path which involves using language, from the writing of scientific papers to Journalism, from Education to Law, from Commerce to The Media. Needless to say, managers at all levels depend o n their communications skills to achieve their goals.
1. 'Language, the individual and society' focuses on individual and immediate social contexts for
language. The aim of this part of the subject content is to introduce students to language study, exploring textual variety and children’s language development. This area of study introduces students to methods of language analysis to explore concepts of audience, purpose, genre, mode and representation. It also 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.
2. 'Language diversity and change' works outwards to consider larger-scale public discourses about
change and variety, drawing on regional, ethnic, national and global Englishes. The aim of this area of study is to allow students to explore language diversity and change over time. Students will study the key concepts of audience, purpose, genre and mode and will explore language in its wider social, geographical and temporal contexts. They will 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.
3. 'Language in action', is by its very nature, synoptic, as it requires an ability to make
connections across the course as a whole. 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. It requires students to 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) - students can choose to pursue a study of spoken, written or multi-modal data, or a mixture of
types, demonstrating knowledge in areas of individual interest.
Students should achieve a GCSE grade 6 or above in either English Language or English Literature and have an interest in the analysis of language.