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A level English Language or Literature - which one is better for me? Watch

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    I have always liked English and I enjoy going to my English lessons.

    I want to have a broader knowledge of the A Level English Language and Literature course (not them both combined!) What does English Language involve? Do you learn new forms of writing and is there a unit on Spoken Language? How is Language different from Literature?

    I am hoping to choose one of them for A Level, but I am tending more towards Language because I enjoy writing more than I enjoy reading. Don't get me wrong, I love to read and have read (nearly) all of the books on the GCSE syllabus and I am starting to read books that are at a higher level. I'm just not sure whether I will enjoy Literature more than Language.

    Some people have told me that English Literature is considered a better option than Language. However, another factor worries me is that taking Literature alongside Maths, Further Maths and Physics may be too stressful and hard to cope with - as I have been told about A Level Literature's extreme difficulty.

    I would appreciate it if some people could give me some information about the two courses and which one they would recommend me to take.

    Many Thanks.


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    Find out what exam board the syllabus is set by, then get the guides for each subject on that exam board's website. Bam.

    Or at least tell us what the exam board is so we can give better advice :cool:
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    This all depends on your academic ability. English Lit is naturally my best subject (I suck at science but manage okay in maths), and I'm doing AS English Lit right now. It's definitely difficult, and I know people who got As and A*s at GCSE who ended up with Cs or even Us last March for their Jan exam results. However, I find that with English Literature, it's really important that you study mark schemes and look at what will give you ticks. That's the most effective way of getting a good grade. You can know a piece of text inside and out but if you don't know how to answer an exam question, it can all go downhill. So all in all, Literature is somewhat more respected than Language, but if you personally don't think you can juggle Literature alongside your other options you should take Language. I'd recommend Literature though, I prefer it because you actually delve into the meanings in the book instead of Language where you mainly look at devices and such (which is what we did at GCSE, anyway).


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    (Original post by AvocatDuDiable)
    Find out what exam board the syllabus is set by, then get the guides for each subject on that exam board's website. Bam.

    Or at least tell us what the exam board is so we can give better advice :cool:
    It's AQA, but I am not sure whether our school does English Language/Literature A or B.


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    (Original post by kingaaran)
    I have always liked English and I enjoy going to my English lessons.

    I want to have a broader knowledge of the A Level English Language and Literature course (not them both combined!) What does English Language involve? Do you learn new forms of writing and is there a unit on Spoken Language? How is Language different from Literature?

    I am hoping to choose one of them for A Level, but I am tending more towards Language because I enjoy writing more than I enjoy reading. Don't get me wrong, I love to read and have read (nearly) all of the books on the GCSE syllabus and I am starting to read books that are at a higher level. I'm just not sure whether I will enjoy Literature more than Language.

    Some people have told me that English Literature is considered a better option than Language. However, another factor worries me is that taking Literature alongside Maths, Further Maths and Physics may be too stressful and hard to cope with - as I have been told about A Level Literature's extreme difficulty.

    I would appreciate it if some people could give me some information about the two courses and which one they would recommend me to take.

    Many Thanks.


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    English lit just builds up the skills from GCSE really. More In depth analysis, more background into the history/society of the author and the context of the book. It's also what you need to do an English Degree. English language is more about why we use language, how you learn language, the punctuation, linguistics essentially. All a-levels are hard with a lot of content, choosing one over the other wont make a big difference but revising something you like come exam time will definitely make the process more "fun"


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    English Language is verging on being a soft subject. Literature is the proper subject; I'd stick with that all the way. I'm not sure about "extreme difficulty", but that's relative, I guess. It may depend on which exam board, but as long as you know the assessment criteria and markable information inside out, anyone with half a brain can fathom any wishy-washy A Level literary interpretation which will finish the job. No intellectual integrity required at this stage, just exam technique. (Only to get you the grade, however, anything sincere and groundbreaking will always be welcome).


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    English lit. is generally viewed as slightly more academic. English lang. is a newer A level
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    (Original post by kingaaran)
    It's AQA, but I am not sure whether our school does English Language/Literature A or B.


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    AQA mark by "Assessment Objectives" which, once known back-to-front, enable you to write essays you know will get marks. Those are the main pieces of objective information you need to know, so that makes it quite easy. A general degree of literary sensitivity is personal but will come with reading and actually practicing reading properly. Teach yourself 'close reading' (you can find stuff on the Internet) because a lot of schools won't actually teach you that specifically (at least mine didn't) and that will help you to get better at reading poems and extracting a lot if markable information, basically, which you can throw into essays. This is, of course, provided you do Lit!


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    (Original post by PatrickB)
    AQA mark by "Assessment Objectives" which, once known back-to-front, enable you to write essays you know will get marks. Those are the main pieces of objective information you need to know, so that makes it quite easy. A general degree of literary sensitivity is personal but will come with reading and actually practicing reading properly. Teach yourself 'close reading' (you can find stuff on the Internet) because a lot of schools won't actually teach you that specifically (at least mine didn't) and that will help you to get better at reading poems and extracting a lot if markable information, basically, which you can throw into essays. This is, of course, provided you do Lit!


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    Thanks, it's really helpful.


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    (Original post by kingaaran)
    I have always liked English and I enjoy going to my English lessons.

    I want to have a broader knowledge of the A Level English Language and Literature course (not them both combined!) What does English Language involve? Do you learn new forms of writing and is there a unit on Spoken Language? How is Language different from Literature?

    I am hoping to choose one of them for A Level, but I am tending more towards Language because I enjoy writing more than I enjoy reading. Don't get me wrong, I love to read and have read (nearly) all of the books on the GCSE syllabus and I am starting to read books that are at a higher level. I'm just not sure whether I will enjoy Literature more than Language.

    Some people have told me that English Literature is considered a better option than Language. However, another factor worries me is that taking Literature alongside Maths, Further Maths and Physics may be too stressful and hard to cope with - as I have been told about A Level Literature's extreme difficulty.

    I would appreciate it if some people could give me some information about the two courses and which one they would recommend me to take.

    Many Thanks.


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    I do both English Language and English Literature (separate AS levels).

    As someone already mentioned, Language is all about how it's constructed, how it's gained and learned and linguistics which is the study of language form, language meaning and language in context. All three will be learnt at the same time, regardless of if it's Language A or B.

    I study Language A and for Section A, we have to study 'Modes', not 'language'. So we study; Spoken Mode, Electronic Mode, Written Mode and Blended Mode. All these modes require us to learn all the terminology and framework such as different types of metaphors, exaggerated language, spoken mode terminology, etc. You will have to learn a few theories such as Politeness Principle, Cooperative Approach though.

    Section B is all about Child Language Development which is arguably more interesting. You learn all about how children learn language, errors that they make, development process and A LOT of theories because it's basically like studying child psychology (in the form of how they acquire their language). You might be able to study Children's Written Development too.

    One of the 'new forms of writing' you will learn is how to write a commentary for your own piece of writing as part as your coursework. This means you will be writing your paragraphs like: 'In the second paragraph, within the simple-complex, pro-verbal independent clause (quote) I have used (language terminology here) to create...' Basically, you will be analysing your own writing, why you've used certain terminology to add effect and things like that.

    Personally, I don't think you should compare the two subjects when you're deciding which subject to pick. I believe they are completely separate subjects and that's why I wanted to explore them separately, because they are just so different, respectively of course. In terms of differentiation between the two - you will start to write differently and you will get the chance to explore more than just the language-side of literature. You will study in more depth about historical/social view-point, psyche of characters and structure of novels and you will definitely be taught how to look at quotes differently and how to form about 4-6 different interpretations from just on quote which is quite exciting!

    Both exams are going to be quite difficult because you will get unseen extracts that you will have to write about. In terms of coursework, I personally found Language harder than Literature just because you have to write in such a sophisticated on the Language A-level.

    For the exam on Literature, it requires you to do a lot more independent studying such as reading 3 novels, 3 plays and A LOT of different poetry.

    At the end of the day, every reader is different and there are novels on the A-level spec you will not find engaging or enjoyable to read, which is the only downside. But on the upside you can pick books for your wider reading that you will enjoy. This makes it easier when it comes to revision with your Literature exam.

    Ultimately what you need to consider is this; which do you enjoy more: writing ABOUT literature or writing ABOUT language?

    So, do you like analysing poetry, dramas and novels more than you enjoy analysing language in transcripts, website pages and speeches and vice versa?

    Hope I've helped.
 
 
 
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