A Level English Language (Reformed 2015)

What is English Language?

Study of English Language is at the heart of the humanities. The new AS and A level courses from AQA offer a challenging programme of learning that fosters acquisition of a skillset to enable the taking apart of texts in an almost scientific manner. Any discourse in the language is open for this kind of work, so there is scope to reach back as far as a play or essay written in the year 1600, and to the latest ‘Twitterstorm’. The course 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, analyse texts produced by others and debate different views. The course draws academic insights from a range of fields within the study of English language/linguistics, including sociolinguistics and discourse analysis.

What sort of student does it suit and what will you get out of the course?

English Language is a good choice for students considering a humanities course alongside subjects otherwise focused towards sciences and mathematics. The course mixes some of what might be found in literature, history, psychology, sociology, media and creative subjects. You will need to be a person that writes well and have the ability or potential to analyse data and language in ways that could be described as forensic. You will learn to take language apart and explain how and why it works; how and why it is the way it is. People considering a future in legal professions may find this kind of study to be extremely valuable.

AS Level

MPW approach to AS study

With exciting text and data based sources of language, the course introduces the study of English in its various forms and contexts. The concepts and methods appropriate for the analysis of language underpin all elements of the course. The linguistic framework is learned through its application to a wide range of texts selected by tutor and students. The variety of assessment styles used, such as data analysis, discursive essays and directed writing allows students to develop a range of skills. These include critical reading, data analysis, evaluation, the ability to develop and sustain arguments and a number of different writing skills which are invaluable for both further study and future employment.

AS Specification (7701)

Paper 1: Language and the individual

  • Textual variations and representations, involving language analysis
  • Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • 70 marks (50% of AS)
  • Questions to analyse and then to compare two unseen language texts

Paper 2: Language varieties

  • Understanding of language diversity and skills in writing are assessed
  • Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • 70 Marks (50% of AS)
  • Section A – discursive essay on language diversity (30 marks)
  • Section B – directed writing task on attitudes to language (40 marks)

Reading List

AuthorTitlePublisher
Marcello Giovanelli (Ed) A-level English Language for AQA  Cambridge University Press

 

A Level

MPW approach to A Level study

As with the AS course, there are a variety of assessment styles used. The addition of original writing and research-based investigative writing allows students to develop a wider and deeper range of skills through the full A-level. Students will be required to identify and describe features of language in texts using methods of language analysis. In order to study textual variations and representations, students will be required to identify and describe salient features of language in the texts. These features include phonetics, phonology, graphology, lexis and semantics, grammar, pragmatics and discourse. The approach is text-based, meaning that from first principles to high theory, work is focused on exemplification through texts.

Students will create texts and reflect critically on their own processes of production, while analysing the texts produced by others. The course explores the study of 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 used to assert power in society is also fundamental to the scope of this course.

A level Specification AQA (7702)

Paper 1: Language, the individual and society

  • Textual variation and representations; Children’s language development (0-11 years)
  • Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • 100 marks (40% of A-level)
  • Section A – two unseen texts (one contemporary and one older text) linked by topic or theme. Questions to analyse and then to compare the texts
  • Section B – discursive essay on children’s language development, with choice of two questions involving data

Paper 2: Language diversity and change

  • Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • 100 marks (40% of A-level)
  • Section A – choice of an evaluative essay on diversity or change (30 marks)
  • Section B – unseen text based exam, with questions requiring analysis of how two texts use language to present ideas, attitudes and opinions (40 marks), followed by a directed writing task linked to the same topic (30 marks)

Non-exam assessment: Language in action

  • Language investigation, involving data collection, plus a piece of original writing with commentary
  • 100 marks (20% of A-level)

Reading List

AuthorTitlePublisher
Marcello Giovanelli (Ed) A-level English Language for AQA Cambridge University Press