What will I study?
English Language A Level is a fascinating course studying English in its many different forms, spoken and written, literary and non-literary. It develops from, but is different to, GCSE English. You may find yourself analysing a poem from the fourteenth century and then an advert from the twenty-first! You will study a variety of texts with attention to such things as the way language changes historically, language in society (such as the effects of gender, social class and ethnic identity), language and technology and discourse analysis (the study of conversation). Being able to read widely in the subject will be important, and so will be using the Senior Library for research. We teach by discussion, and there will be regular essays and exercises. You will need to learn how to analyse language in rigorous detail, and there will be opportunity for original writing of your own, which you will be expected to write a commentary on.
At A2, you will build on what you have learned for AS, attempting a small research project of your own. You will also make a detailed examination of the theories of language change and language acquisition (how children learn first to speak, then write, the language). You will need to become familiar with linguistic theory, and demonstrate the ability to apply theoretical frameworks to the study of language, both spoken and written. You should study English Language if you have a genuine interest in the different ways that English works within and beyond literary texts and if you would relish the freedom that the coursework gives for your own writing and ideas.
How will I be assessed?
ENB1 (June), Categorising Texts, Examination, 60% of the AS mark (30% of the total A Level mark)
ENB2 (March), Creating Texts, Coursework, 40% of the AS mark (20% of the total A Level mark)
ENB3 (June), Developing Language, Examination, 30% of the A Level mark
ENB4 (March) Investigating Language, coursework, 20% of the total A level mark)
You should achieve at least a Grade B in English and English Literature, be a keen reader and have an interest in the way language works.
Where will it lead?
The subject is widely acceptable at universities as a qualification for Arts and Law courses. Anyone wishing to study English at university probably has the broadest range of options if he has taken English Literature as a single course at A level. However the Language course is acceptable for many English courses, whilst providing the best background for those interested in a degree in Linguistics. English is a well respected degree course which can lead to a myriad of opportunities, most obviously in the media and journalism but also in non-English related careers.