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English Language

Has the use of mobile phones affected the way in which you write and speak English? Do men and women use language differently? Why do teachers always have the last word in a conversation? Is a sofa the same as a settee? Is it okay to misuse the word literally? Is the dictionary always right? Why do you call each other ‘Guys’ when you’re not?

If these questions interest you, then studying A Level English Language will provide you with the answers – or at least, some of the theories underlying these issues.  You will study the ways in which we learn and use language in different contexts, from speech to texting, from the casual way in which you speak with your friends to formal written documents, from Old English to emojis.

We follow the OCR A Level specification. Your study will include:

  • Understanding different language frameworks including lexis, grammar, semantics, phonology, graphological
  • Analysing the difference between written and spoken texts, including analysing conversation
  • Exploring the ways in which children learn language
  • Debating topical issues in language
  • Studying language change and variation over time
  • Learning about regional variation including accent and dialect
  • Investigating the ways in which individuals use language in different contexts including exploring the ways in which language can be used to impose power and the differences in the ways women and men use language.

You will also have the opportunity to undertake a language investigation into an area that interests you. Areas being explored by some of the current students are the differences in the way that crimes by men and women are reported, the accuracy of language stereotypes in television programmes and the influence of gender in children’s magazines.

What is the difference between English Language and English Literature?

A level English Literature involves the close study of texts from a literary perspective, analysing the ways in which writers use language, structure and form for literary effect.

A level English Language involves the study of a range of different texts and forms, exploring the ways in which language develops and is used, from medieval English to texting and emails. The language course applies a more scientific, analytical approach, whereas the literature course focuses on specific writers, genres and time periods.
Both courses offer the opportunity to pursue individual areas of interest for coursework.

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