Bolton School Sixth Form Boys

English Language

Why Study English Language at Bolton School?

Course: OCR A-Level English Language (H070/H470) 

From contemporary media to toddlers stumbling through their first attempts to construct sentences and from 14th century poetry to the impact of gender or ethnicity on everyday conversation, English Language A-Level is a fascinating course. You study English in its many different forms, spoken and written, literary and non-literary, exploring 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).  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 opportunities for original writing of your own, demonstrating an awareness of issues in language covered in the course.  

At A-Level, you will build on what you have learned, attempting a personal research project. You will also make a detailed examination of the theories of language change and language acquisition in children.  You will become familiar with linguistic theory, and demonstrate the ability to apply theoretical frameworks to the study of language, both spoken and written. You will also be expected to produce an academic poster, an assignment which is an especially good preparation for the demands of university. 

English Language is ideal for those who have a genuine interest in the different ways that English works in different contexts and who would relish the freedom that the coursework gives to develop their own writing and ideas.  You will need to be motivated, capable of working autonomously and able to absorb a large amount of technical vocabulary.  It is an excellent way to develop your ability to analyse and synthesise, to complete independent research and to assess data. It is suited to those with a keen eye for detail who are interested in the structures and rules of language.  In this regard it has a great deal in common with social sciences.


How will I be assessed?


Component 1: Exploring Language (written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes) 40% of A-Level

Component 2: Dimensions of Linguistic Variation (written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes) 40% of A-Level

Component 3: Independent Language Research (coursework) 20 % of A-Level

Desirable Requirements

You should be a keen reader, have an interest in the way language works and be able to work independently. It is expected that you should have achieved at least a Grade 6 in GCSE English Language or English Literature.

Where will it lead?

It is worth saying that if you enjoy English Literature and wanted to pursue English (or a closely-allied subject at university) then you  should choose English Literature, rather than English Language at A-Level.  You may, of course, choose English Language in addition if you have a genuine interest in both subjects.  Do discuss this with your GCSE English teacher, or ask me about it. The subject is widely acceptable at universities as a qualification for Arts and Law courses, including degrees in Linguistics, and is a very good way to refine the analytical and writing skills required for a wide range of degree courses.