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English Language at The Sixth Form College Farnborough

Course description

English Language is an analytical study of how language works, how it is used and how to use it. It involves analysis of a variety of written and spoken texts, for example letters, adverts, journalistic articles, magazine articles and writing in a persuasive style to reach a non-specialist audience.

You learn how to investigate for yourself how people are using language and you learn new ideas and new terminology.

It will appeal to you if you are interested in what people say, how they say it, how written language affects readers and how you can adapt your writing style to persuade and entertain others.

Course content

We expect to study the following aspects of language, through class work, reading and independent research:

  • how to write persuasively;  
  • how to analyse language; 
  • how people use language in different regions of England and in different social groups;
  • how children acquire language 
  • how language is used to influence our thoughts and perceptions
  • the differences between spoken and written language

Looking at and listening to examples of language use, identifying aspects of language and learning the technical terms to describe them, discussing and writing about issues to do with language.

This will be done through a mixture of whole-class work, small group activity and individual consultation with your teacher. It will also involve private reading and individual research, probably involving interviewing and tape recording language users.

Entry requirements

  • You should have at least a grade C in English Language.
  • Experience shows that your chances of success in this subject are greater if you have a grade B in both English Language and English Literature.
  • In addition to this an interest in reading and current affairs is essential.


The course comprises two exam papers and one Non-Exam Assessment (coursework).

Paper 1: Language, The Individual and Society (40% of qualification)

Section A - Textual Variations and Representations
Two texts (one contemporary and one older text) linked by topic or theme.

  • A question requiring analysis of one text. 
  • A question requiring analysis of a second text. 
  • A question requiring comparison of the two texts.

Section B - Children's Language Development
A discursive essay on children’s language development, with a choice of two questions where the data provided will focus on spoken, written or multimodal (i.e., both spoken and written) language.

Paper 2: (40% of qualification)
This paper asks students to consider different varieties of English, including topics such as accents and dialects, language change over time as well as focusing on how language can be adapted to fulfil a range of purposes.

Section A - Diversity and Change
One question from a choice of two:
Either: an evaluative essay on language diversity 
Or: an evaluative essay on language change

Section B – Language Discourses
Two texts will be presented concerning a topic linked to the study of diversity and change.

  • A question requiring analysis of how the texts use language to present ideas, attitudes and opinions. 
  • A directed writing task linked to the same topic and the ideas in the texts.

Non-Exam Assessment (Coursework): Language in Action (20% of qualification)
This unit requires students to carry out and investigation into an aspect of language of their own choosing and also provides an opportunity to create a piece of original writing accompanied by an explanatory commentary.

Students will be asked to produce:

  • A language investigation (2,000 words excluding data)
  • A piece of original writing and commentary (1,500 words total)

Future opportunities

English Language provides an excellent opportunity to develop the language skills required by employers, so will be an asset whatever you go on to do next.

For studying straight English Literature at university, A level English Literature, not Language, is generally required. Otherwise, English Language is accepted as a sound preparation for a wide range of degrees because it develops skills in the areas of research, analysis and personal written style, as well as the acquisition of a specific body of knowledge. 

It is very useful if you want a career in teaching, especially at primary level, or in speech therapy. There is a growing number of English Language and linguistics degrees for which this A level is an ideal basis.

Further information

What other subjects could I do with English Language? English Language effectively complements most subjects.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact The Sixth Form College Farnborough directly.

Last updated date: 16 March 2016

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