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GSO Test

Est. 1921

English Language

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Course Details

Exam Board and specification code:


Course Co-ordinator:

Mrs Watson

Video Introduction:

What is this course about?

You will learn linguistic methods and sociolinguistics to analyse English language in a range of texts and contexts. You will also learn about the concepts of power and representation in your study of language. You will learn about the diversity of spoken language within the British Isles. In addition, you will learn how babies and young children acquire language and you will also learn about how and why language has changed and developed over time to be the language that we speak today. You will develop your creative writing skills and become confident writers who can write for a range of target audiences, purposes and contexts.

At A-Level, you will complete a Language Investigation consisting of 2000 words which will focus on spoken language in an area of your choice. In the past, students have studied: TV or radio interviews, films, TV programmes, political speeches and debates, language in the classroom, casual conversation and meetings run by young people. Your study will focus on a particular influencer of language such as gender, age, social class, region, or occupation. You will also complete a piece of creative writing in a genre such as dystopian, bildungsroman or thriller and write a commentary about it

Course Content

2 year A-Level course

Paper 1: Language, the Individual and Society

2hrs 30min examination, 100 marks, worth 40%.

Language, the Individual and Society - this area of study introduces students to methods of language analysis to explore concepts of audience, purpose, genre, mode and representation. It also introduces students to the study of children’s language development, exploring how children learn and develop language.

Topics covered:

  • Textual Variations and Representations - At A-Level you will learn about language using a variety of modes (written, spoken and electronic), from different times and places (global, national and regional).
  • Methods of Language Analysis - you will learn a framework for analysing texts linguistically – you will be expected to examine: phonetics, phonology and prosodics: how speech sounds and effects are articulated and analysed, graphology, lexis and semantics, grammar and morphology.
  • Children’s Language Development - you will learn about the functions of children’s language development and you will study theories and research about language development.

Paper 2: Language Diversity and Change

2hrs 30min examination, 100 marks, worth 40%.

Topics covered:

  • Language Diversity and Change – you will study those topics covered at A-Level along with additional topics such as global, national and regional English. You will study texts from different periods, from 1600 to the present day.
  • Language Discourses you will study a range of texts that convey attitudes to language diversity and change. You will explore how texts: represent language, construct an identity for the producer and are connected to discourses about language.
  • Writing Skills - you will develop skills in writing discursively about language issues in an academic essay and writing analytically about texts as parts of discourses about language.

Non-exam assessment: Language in Action Language Investigation

3,500 word, worth 20% of the overall grade.

  • Language Investigation - you will complete a language investigation (2,000 words excluding data)
  • Original Writing - you will produce one piece of original writing based on the power of storytelling and one accompanying commentary.

What might this course lead on to?

  • Further academic study into linguistics
  • Journalism / writing
  • Law
  • Advertising
  • Communications
  • Speech therapy
  • Forensic linguistics
  • It compliments any essay based degrees

Entry Requirements:

Grade 5 in GCSE English Language or English Literature.