About the subject

English Language at A-Level is very different from your studies at GCSE. Studying English at an advanced level introduces you to the world of linguistics (the science of language), and whilst this doesn’t mean test tubes and chemicals, it instead looks at how and why language makes us human.

Topics in this course include language and gender, accent and dialect, language and technology and language change. In this course we evaluate the past, present and future of the English Language in all its diversity, and challenge our stereotypes of what we think language should be, and where it comes from. We look at types of English throughout the country, and wider in the world, as well as child language acquisition to teach us about the nature of language learning.

If you have a passion for words, and an interest in language, you will thrive in this course!

Your tasks to complete

1) It’s important to sharpen your grammatical knowledge before your start the course, and ensure that you’re confident with everything you studied in your GCSEs. Please complete all the modules at the below Seneca learning link to give yourself a head start! https://tinyurl.com/bsfclangy112020

2) Consider your own ‘linguistic footprint’. Language is always individual to each and every one of us (our idiolect), so we would like you to complete the attached task to consider all the elements that you feel affect how and why you use language in the way you do. This might be your accent, particular words you use, or even something from popular culture that you’ve embedded into your language.

Pre-course reading

We recommend purchasing the AQA A-Level English Language textbook for this course. This will take you over both years, and can be purchased new or second-hand: https://tinyurl.com/aqalangbook

We would also recommend that you consider purchasing the student workbook, which has lots of useful activities that you can be complete in your independent revision: https://tinyurl.com/aqalangworkbook

Extended reading

Anything by David Crystal is always a fantastic place to start- we recommend taking a look at his Encyclopaedia of the English Language, and ‘The Little Book of Language’ as an interesting starting point.
You should also ensure that you regularly read quality newspapers at least once a week. You will be expected to be comfortable with this style of writing, and should aim to read something like The Guardian or The Times to understand this style of writing.

Useful websites and other resources

Links to The Guardian’s Language specific articles: https://www.theguardian.com/media/mind-your-language

Dan Clayton’s English Language blog (really fantastic resource for all things linguistic!):http://englishlangsfx.blogspot.com/

British Library on Accent and Dialects: https://sounds.bl.uk/Accents-and-dialects/

Deborah Cameron on gendered language: https://debuk.wordpress.com/

Meet the tutors

Caroline has a degree in English and Art History, an MA in Critical and Cultural Theory and a PGCE. She has been teaching English A Level in the Post 16 sector for twenty years. During this time she has been an examiner for both English Literature and English Language. She currently teaches A Level English Language and has a particular interest in sociolinguistics, including language and gender and language and regional accent and dialect.

Meet the tutors

Rebecca McHugh has a BA (hons) in English Language & Literature from the University of Sheffield, and a PGDipE in post-16 education. She has been teaching at Barnsley Sixth Form since 2014 and has particular interests in etymology, phonetics, child language acquisition and linguistic performativity. She has also worked as an examiner for AQA and is Curriculum Leader for English and Creative Arts at Barnsley Sixth Form.

Any questions?

Email us on info@barnsley.ac.uk

Call us on 01226 216 123