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Examination Board: AQA

What is the course about?

This highly engaging course explores many fascinating aspects of the English language – the words we use, hear and read every day. You will explore and critically engage with a wide range of spoken, written and online texts as well as developing your own analytical and creative writing skills. You will learn how society, gender, ethnicity, age, geographical location, nationality, occupation, and identity affect our language choices. You will study how and why the English language has developed over time as well as discovering how young children acquire their spoken and literacy skills.

You will study:

  • Linguistic methods such as semantics, pragmatics, morphology, syntax, phonology, graphology, discourse structure.
  • Textual variations and representations across a range of subjects, from diverse writers and speakers, for different audiences, for a variety of purposes in a range of genres using various modes (written, spoken, electronic).
  • Language diversity – spoken and written texts using different sociolects and dialects; how language varies depending on personal, social and geographical factors; differing research studies and attitudes to language diversity; how language shapes identity.
  • Children’s language development (from 0-11 years).
  • Language change and global English – exploring features such as etymology, neologisms and the impact technology has on how we communicate in the 21st century.
  • Writing Skills – developing your skills in writing academically and writing creatively for a non-specialist audience.
  • Language in action (coursework) – language investigation and original writing with commentary.

How is the course assessed?

Assessment is 80% examination (two papers) and 20% coursework.

What skills will I need and develop in this course?

You will need effective communication skills and be willing to read all the course material plus undertake independent research to broaden your knowledge and understanding. By the end of an A Level in linguistics you will have developed an impressive collection of transferable skills including critical and comparative analysis skills, more sophisticated ways of writing creatively and analytically, plus an insightful appreciation of how language is used and manipulated.

Subject combination advice

Linguistics is a very flexible A Level and combines well with many other subjects including sociology, psychology, businessstudies, history and English literature.

What can the course lead to in terms of higher education and future careers?

As linguistics A Level combines academic, creative, analytical and evaluative skills, it is highly regarded by universities. Therefore, studying this subject can lead to a degree in many subjects. Furthermore, there are numerous careers that may follow from the study of linguistics. For example: publishing, journalism, law, advertising, marketing, public relations, teaching, politics, business management, and media.

What are the formal entry requirements?

At least a Grade 5 and a Grade 6 in GCSE English literature and language in any combination.

What activities enrich this subject?

Additional independent research on areas of study that especially interest you will greatly aid your language investigation coursework. Following ideas about language in the news via online media outlets or social media platforms, will enhance your appreciation of the dynamic nature of this subject as well as giving you a deeper understanding of current linguistic issues. Entering creative writing competitions, such as those organised by Young Writers, will further aid your focus on vocabulary and structural choices in your own writing for the examinations and original writing coursework.

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