Studying A Level English Language teaches students how to analyse and question the
nuances and implications behind language, both spoken and written. It empowers students, both in their interpretation of other people’s language and in their own use of language.
In studying A Level English Language you will:
• study texts in a systematic way, using specific frameworks
• write essays that are well-structured, analytical and relevant
• draw our similarities and contrasts between different texts so that you have a conceptual overview of them
• write for a variety of audiences and purposes and in a variety of forms
• analyse and evaluate your own writing
• analyse differences between spoken and written texts
• study how children acquire language, learning to listen, speak, read and write
• study how language has changed over time
• gather your own data for analysis
• carry out your own analytical investigation into a specific aspect of language use
• evaluate the importance of the text’s context and how it affects its linguistic features
All of these skills are crucial for the wider world of university and beyond.
A mix of exam and coursework
There is a mix of exam assessed work and coursework. In the exams you might be asked to:
• analyse the specific features of two contrasting texts that you will not have seen before
• analyse how men and women tend to use language in contrasting ways
• analyse the contrasts between two texts that come from different time periods
• analyse different attitudes to how the English language is changing
• analyse how children develop in the listening/speaking skills and in their reading/writing skills
In the coursework you would be asked to:
• produce an investigation into one aspect of language, for example distinctive features of
the language of film reviews, or distinctive features of the language of a particular television programme or presenter. What you choose to investigate is up to you, giving you a great deal of freedom and scope to pursue your own interests.
• produce an “original”, new text showing your skills of being able to write for a specific purpose, audience and genre. Again, the sort of text you choose to write is largely up to you.
• write a commentary on your piece of “original” writing, analysing the choices you have made in it and how effective it is.
A word of warning – if you want to study English Literature at university then you should study English Literature at A Level as it is a better foundation. It is not possible to study both English Literature and English Language as you would not have appropriate breadth.