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English Language A Level at William Howard School

Course description

What do I need to start the course?

An interest in language. You need to be the kind of person who is fascinated by how language affects the way we think, and how the way we think affects language. You need to be prepared to learn a wealth of new terminology, and become conversant enough with it to be able to use it to analyse texts.

This course will appeal to students who:

  • enjoy analysing, expressing their opinions and justifying their comments on texts.
  • enjoy studying a subject which is relevant to their own lives
  • want to keep their options open as it is a popular. qualification for a wide variety of courses and future careers. 


Course content

Learners will develop a broad knowledge and understanding of the language levels, including:

  • Phonetics, phonology and prosodics: how speech sounds and effects are articulated and analysed
  • Lexis and semantics: the vocabulary of English, including social and historical variation
  • Grammar including morphology: the structural patterns and shapes of English at sentence, clause, phrase and word level
  • Pragmatics: the contextual aspects of language use
  • Discourse: extended stretches of communication occurring in different genres, modes and contexts


Paper 1: Exploring Language

Written paper 80 marks - 40% of total A Level (2 hour 30 minutes)

Section A: Language under the microscope

The focus of this section is on the effect of lexical choices and grammatical features in a short written text.

Section B: Writing about a topical language issue

This section focuses on an issue or concept related to language in use to be written for a non-specialist audience.

Section C: Comparing and contrasting texts

The focus of this section is on exploring linguistic connections and comparisons between different modes of communication using theories of gender, power and technology

Paper 2: Exploring Contexts

Dimensions of linguistic variation

Written paper 80 marks - 40% of total A level (2 hours 30 minutes)

Section A: Child language acquisition

The focus of this section is on children’s acquisition of spoken language. The age range to be explored is 0–7 years old.

Section B: Language in the media

This section focuses on discourse in a multi-modal media text and requires learners to apply language concepts and theories to their analysis of linguistic and graphological features.

Section C: Language change

The focus of this section is on the analysis of historical varieties of English. The analysis will be based on drawing connections and comparisons between two texts from different times


Non examined assessment 40 marks independent language research - 20% of total A level

Section A

An independent investigation of language, provides learners with the opportunity to pursue an area of study which is of particular personal interest.

Section B

The academic poster, allows learners to present their research from their independent investigation in a concise and visually accessible way. 

Future opportunities

You will learn a wide range of transferable skills: writing for different audiences and purposes; responding to spoken and written texts; expressing informed and independent opinions; identifying and developing the links between different parts of the subject.

These skills are in demand from employers, universities and colleges and are also valuable in their own right. English Language forms a good basis for study with any other subject. Journalism, the Media, Law, Teaching and Management are some of the areas former students have pursued.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact William Howard School directly.

Last updated date: 04 October 2016
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