English Lit or English Lang? Which is the better A-Level? Watch

whoisme
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I would love to hear opinions from people who have studied these themselves.
What kind of work do the subjects contain that make them different?
Is it true that universities consider Lit to be more respectable?
Which would I prefer if I love reading and writing?
Lastly, do either of them contain creative writing in the course?
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Jerome85
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I can only speak of English literature as I have finished my AS. I throughly enjoyed English literature, you're able to form mature points about texts you would have never read. As for reading and writing you'll love the course. As any English student would know, you can never read enough books to gain more marks in exams. Essay writing was my favourite because knowing the author the text and other texts similar helps to make a good essay and that's not even mentioning reading other critical essays. On a whole I would recommend it to anyone

*PS there is no creative writing as I'm aware for English lit


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whoisme
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(Original post by Jerome85)
I can only speak of English literature as I have finished my AS. I throughly enjoyed English literature, you're able to form mature points about texts you would have never read. As for reading and writing you'll love the course. As any English student would know, you can never read enough books to gain more marks in exams. Essay writing was my favourite because knowing the author the text and other texts similar helps to make a good essay and that's not even mentioning reading other critical essays. On a whole I would recommend it to anyone

*PS there is no creative writing as I'm aware for English lit

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Thanks! That was very helpful, as the description of what you do sounds right up my street. I am seriously biased towards taking lit over Lang now from what I've heard from you and others. Definitely don't want to take lit and Lang combined
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the pro
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(Original post by whoisme)
I would love to hear opinions from people who have studied these themselves.
What kind of work do the subjects contain that make them different?
Is it true that universities consider Lit to be more respectable?
Which would I prefer if I love reading and writing?
Lastly, do either of them contain creative writing in the course?
I'm picking English Lit for an A level and i've picked it as it is considered more respectable in universities than English Lang. But thats all i know!
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Jerome85
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(Original post by whoisme)
Thanks! That was very helpful, as the description of what you do sounds right up my street. I am seriously biased towards taking lit over Lang now from what I've heard from you and others. Definitely don't want to take lit and Lang combined
Glad I helped, if you have any other questions just ask!



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Sammi121
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(Original post by whoisme)
I would love to hear opinions from people who have studied these themselves.
What kind of work do the subjects contain that make them different?
Is it true that universities consider Lit to be more respectable?
Which would I prefer if I love reading and writing?
Lastly, do either of them contain creative writing in the course?
I did combined English lit & Lang. It's 60% exam (which consists of writing essays based on books / plays) and 40% creative writing. If you have this option then it's the best, trust me.
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giella
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Language is problematic I find. It tends not to cover the topics on the syllabus in any depth. I've known people take that A level and come away not knowing the difference between a noun and a verb. Whether that's a failure of primary teaching or A level teaching is up for debate but I do find that it's rather patchily taught.*

Not to say that English Literature is consistently well taught. I find it the more enjoyable A level to teach and there is generally more support available if your teaching is poor in terms of external resources.*

It really depends what you're wanting to get out of it. English language is ostensibly better preparation for linguistics and psychology degrees as well as speech and language therapy. But there's no specific requirement in any of those to have English language. English lit would be just as good preparation for any of the three and generally is the better regarded A level when it comes to university admissions if you're aiming particularly high. But it doesn't make much difference.

Do what you're interested in. Look at the specifications. Check the teaching record at your sixth form for both subjects. That'll help you make your decision.

And there's nothing technically stopping you doing both!
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brxvebird
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Hello!!
I study both Literature and Language separately so hopefully I can give a little insight on this for you. Just got a A in A2 Language and a B in AS Literature.

Literature is all about reading and analysing poetry, novels and plays, whilst doing some further reading as you have to provide critical material. You also learn context of your set texts which I love. Literature is great for those who love to read, but it is all analytical. Literature is definitely more respected by universities as it is classed as a facilitating subject, and it is the majority opinion that it is harder than Language.

English Language, very much depending on your syllabus, is a lot more subjective in my opinion. It is anything from learning how children speak to learning how men and women use language differently, with a good chunk of it (particularly coursework) being about how language is used to create meaning. It is arguably similar to Literature in that sense. A lot of specifications ask you to complete a coursework task on a creative media topic, such as a magazine article or an advertisement, in which you create your own piece to analyse in a small commentary. That is about as creative as you are gonna get in either.

In short, I love and enjoy both for different reasons so it really depends. Literature I love because I enjoy the context stuff, but my favourite part of Language is the Linguistic theory you have to apply if you're studying a module on child language acquisition for example as you will be looking at a number of different studies/theorists.

Whatever you enjoy more. Language I feel you have more room to do what you want, whereas Literature is great if you enjoy reading. If you had to choose one and you are unsure which, but you are wanting to keep your options open for English at uni, I would say literature as you need the A Level to do it at degree, but you don't need language to do an English language or linguistics degree.
But I would say if you can, definitely do both! Good luck, feel free to ask any questions.
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whoisme
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(Original post by Jerome85)
Glad I helped, if you have any other questions just ask!



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Actually, I do have another question. What well paying jobs can an English degree take me to?
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whoisme
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(Original post by giella)
Language is problematic I find. It tends not to cover the topics on the syllabus in any depth. I've known people take that A level and come away not knowing the difference between a noun and a verb. Whether that's a failure of primary teaching or A level teaching is up for debate but I do find that it's rather patchily taught.*

Not to say that English Literature is consistently well taught. I find it the more enjoyable A level to teach and there is generally more support available if your teaching is poor in terms of external resources.*

It really depends what you're wanting to get out of it. English language is ostensibly better preparation for linguistics and psychology degrees as well as speech and language therapy. But there's no specific requirement in any of those to have English language. English lit would be just as good preparation for any of the three and generally is the better regarded A level when it comes to university admissions if you're aiming particularly high. But it doesn't make much difference.

Do what you're interested in. Look at the specifications. Check the teaching record at your sixth form for both subjects. That'll help you make your decision.

And there's nothing technically stopping you doing both!
That's interesting. I didn't know that there were more facilities online for lit. I will definitely take that into account. I'm leaning towards lit, it sounds more enjoyable.
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whoisme
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(Original post by brxvebird)
Hello!!
I study both Literature and Language separately so hopefully I can give a little insight on this for you. Just got a A in A2 Language and a B in AS Literature.

Literature is all about reading and analysing poetry, novels and plays, whilst doing some further reading as you have to provide critical material. You also learn context of your set texts which I love. Literature is great for those who love to read, but it is all analytical. Literature is definitely more respected by universities as it is classed as a facilitating subject, and it is the majority opinion that it is harder than Language.

English Language, very much depending on your syllabus, is a lot more subjective in my opinion. It is anything from learning how children speak to learning how men and women use language differently, with a good chunk of it (particularly coursework) being about how language is used to create meaning. It is arguably similar to Literature in that sense. A lot of specifications ask you to complete a coursework task on a creative media topic, such as a magazine article or an advertisement, in which you create your own piece to analyse in a small commentary. That is about as creative as you are gonna get in either.

In short, I love and enjoy both for different reasons so it really depends. Literature I love because I enjoy the context stuff, but my favourite part of Language is the Linguistic theory you have to apply if you're studying a module on child language acquisition for example as you will be looking at a number of different studies/theorists.

Whatever you enjoy more. Language I feel you have more room to do what you want, whereas Literature is great if you enjoy reading. If you had to choose one and you are unsure which, but you are wanting to keep your options open for English at uni, I would say literature as you need the A Level to do it at degree, but you don't need language to do an English language or linguistics degree.
But I would say if you can, definitely do both! Good luck, feel free to ask any questions.
Thank you! Also, what kind of good jobs can an English degree open up for me?
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Dynamic_Vicz
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Hi I am a STEM student so I don't really know of the benefits of an English degree (I know this is a thread about A Level english lit/lang) I've always been curious and wanted to know what type of professions that an English degree typically gets you into(apart from a teacher)? What do you study at degree level. Isn't the ability to speak, write and listen clearly in english enough?
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Hs579
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I have just completed my AS eng lit with a B it involved 2 pieces of coursework lasting the duration of the year just a month before the exams, (depends ob your exam board) one piece of coursework was 2 plays in which one character from each (play) had to some way meet in the future through our own creative writing ideas
The other was antony and cleopatra analysis of 3000 words -analysisvof text & a tragic hero which required a lot of historic context prior
Then the exam was the great gatsby and the study of 24 poems - the entire year was stressful
However, english language is quite more historical
•the origins and early writings of the english language

Both subjects are a lot of work, however lit is much more respected my unis as it is quite transferable
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Jerome85
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(Original post by whoisme)
Actually, I do have another question. What well paying jobs can an English degree take me to?
I'm not too sure as I am more geared towards economics and politics after my AS (I got an A in English lit AS) but with an English degree you can go into: Marketing, Publishing, Law (usually conversion needed) even investment banking now that they are widening their search and more, it's more about how you can use your degree to your strength to secure a job rather than what your degree will dictate what you do
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SteamboatMickey
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Hello!

I studied both at AS Level, and today I begun both courses at A2 level. I got A grades in both of these subjects for my AS exams that I took earlier this year.

What kind of work do the subjects contain that make them different?

Both are analytical to a certain extent, however you are given more 'free choice' for English literature whilst English language is a little bit more 'scientific' in it's nature. English literature is your typical English course. Analysing novels, poetry, and plays. Writing essays on the significance of, say, the 'paper moon' featured in Tennessee Williams 'A Street Car Named Desire'.

However, English Language is very subjective. You can study anything from gender differences through language, how language has developed, and the meanings and representations that language conveys in everyday speech. I have learnt about slang, how new words are created, and multiple linguistic theories about what influences our language. It will probably depend on your exam-board!

Is it true that universities consider Lit to be more respectable?

I'm not actually too sure, I'm hoping to pursue a History degree so I haven't looked into it. I think both should be respected on equal grounds, but English literature is seen to be a more 'traditional' and a heavier subject as opposed to English language.
Which would I prefer if I love reading and writing?

I'd say English literature, but it's up to you really.
Lastly, do either of them contain creative writing in the course?

English language on the AQA Specification contains a creative writing coursework component which goes towards your overall A-Level grade. However, we have also made up a scene following the style of a playwright we have looked at for AS English literature, and this coursework will be worth 10% of our overall literature grade.

If you have any more questions feel free to PM me!
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ihatePE
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eng lang is less respectable, just like if you're a native french speaker and you take french a level, same here with if you speak english with enough fluency to do a levels then eng lang is kind of easy for you presumably (that's how they see it)
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username2015015
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Okay so I remember writing a massive, massive piece about the differences between the two (IN MY EXPERIENCE AT AS), so I might copy and paste that, then quickly answer your specific questions - sorry to anyone who's seen my previous post!

English Literature: many people say this is a harder A Level compared to Lang. This may be true for some, but not true for others, it's a preference thing. Lit is a lot more intense than Lang; last year we had to read 4 pieces of literature for the exam, but next year there's an extra 4 books on top of the first 4, plus coursework - ahh! The exams are focused on a question surrounding the whole text, and I found it quite constricting. Doing Lit at A Level, and then at university, means you'll be spending your time looking very in depth at a particular writer, a small section of a genre, or a time period. It's true that Lit is far more prestigious than Lang, but that's mainly because Linguistics is a young and emerging field compared to the study of literature.
The kinds of things we do in Lit lessons: read the set texts (Measure for Measure by Shakespeare, for example), pick out specific quotations ("blood, thou art blood"), analyse those quotations ('blood could be to do with violence, or sex, or being human/mortal, or about lineage... but mainly about sex'), look at the time period and the influences at the time ('Shakespeare chose to represent sexual repression through the character of Angelo because, at the time, the Puritannical movement was garnering support and they emphasised ideas of virtue through chastity'), reading critical analyses of said text ('Coleridge says the comedy in the play is "horrible"'), compare the text to other texts at the same time ('Webster writes about a similar situation in The Duchess of Malfi showing the corruption of religion and dangers of repression through the two Aragonian brothers...') and, of course, essay writing.

English Language: lots of people ask me: "what's the point in doing both Lit and Lang? Aren't they both the same thing?" Ho-boy. What a question. Lang is much more about a deeper analysis of the words we say and why we say them, and the effect of those words. You'd enjoy Lang if you think more critically and like being exposed to a variety of English texts with all kinds of genres and modes: one day you could be doing a critical analysis of the opening section of DH Lawrence novel, the next you could be analysing Dave Cameron's stepping down speech, the next picking out what makes a televised charity appeal effective (I've done all 3 of those this year!).
What we do in Lang lessons: analyse texts such as - political speeches, novels throughout time, advertisements, leaflets and brochures, travel guides and travel writing, websites, poems etc. For coursework, we're doing an independent investigation into a part of language we're interested in; I'm looking at whether gender or emotion affects language use, my friend is looking at the way kids speak, another is looking at the history of the English language. We also do a piece of creative writing, which you've said you'd enjoy! At university level, Lang gets more intense and delves deeper into questions like: how do kids acquire language? where did the English language come from? how does media affect language (eg Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr)? what are dialects and what do they do?

Okay, now onto your questions:
What kind of work do the subjects contain that make them different?
- I think I've just about covered this one! TLDR version: Literature is very focused on analysing a few set texts with lots of outside reading, Language lets you look at a wider breadth of texts of different types like adverts, novels, poems, transcripts etc.

Is it true that universities consider Lit to be more respectable?
- I mean... if you're doing Language with BTEC Law, Media Studies and Level 3 Hair and Beauty, it's probably less respected, but it's not considered a useless subject and can be useful if you're studying a humanities subject - Lit however is known as a 'facilitating subject' meaning you can have it as an extra if you're doing Maths and STEM and things, or for a humanities course

Which would I prefer if I love reading and writing?
- This is a tough one. Lit is arguably better for reading novels and things, although at A Level you'll have a genre and a few books in that, or an overarching theme or something, so you'll do lots of reading in that area but it's not exactly a huge variety of reading. However, you can and should read lots of lit crit and critical material which is always fun! Language has some aspects of reading in it, depending on how your teacher approaches the topic, and can be good if you want to be exposed to lots of different styles of writing and language use. Writing - Lit will teach you a couple of set ways to write discursive essays, critical essays and analytical essays; Language will have you doing things like writing mock articles, writing in the style of people/genres, along with discursive, analytical and critical.

Lastly, do either of them contain creative writing in the course?
- Lit has none, Language has a compulsory creative writing section at A2, and part of the AS course is writing an article about an issue in language (Paper 2 is SO MUCH FUN, I got full marks, it's so flipping easy!)

I hope this helps!
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whoisme
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(Original post by blue2337)
Okay so I remember writing a massive, massive piece about the differences between the two (IN MY EXPERIENCE AT AS), so I might copy and paste that, then quickly answer your specific questions - sorry to anyone who's seen my previous post!

English Literature: many people say this is a harder A Level compared to Lang. This may be true for some, but not true for others, it's a preference thing. Lit is a lot more intense than Lang; last year we had to read 4 pieces of literature for the exam, but next year there's an extra 4 books on top of the first 4, plus coursework - ahh! The exams are focused on a question surrounding the whole text, and I found it quite constricting. Doing Lit at A Level, and then at university, means you'll be spending your time looking very in depth at a particular writer, a small section of a genre, or a time period. It's true that Lit is far more prestigious than Lang, but that's mainly because Linguistics is a young and emerging field compared to the study of literature.
The kinds of things we do in Lit lessons: read the set texts (Measure for Measure by Shakespeare, for example), pick out specific quotations ("blood, thou art blood", analyse those quotations ('blood could be to do with violence, or sex, or being human/mortal, or about lineage... but mainly about sex', look at the time period and the influences at the time ('Shakespeare chose to represent sexual repression through the character of Angelo because, at the time, the Puritannical movement was garnering support and they emphasised ideas of virtue through chastity', reading critical analyses of said text ('Coleridge says the comedy in the play is "horrible"', compare the text to other texts at the same time ('Webster writes about a similar situation in The Duchess of Malfi showing the corruption of religion and dangers of repression through the two Aragonian brothers...' and, of course, essay writing.

English Language: lots of people ask me: "what's the point in doing both Lit and Lang? Aren't they both the same thing?" Ho-boy. What a question. Lang is much more about a deeper analysis of the words we say and why we say them, and the effect of those words. You'd enjoy Lang if you think more critically and like being exposed to a variety of English texts with all kinds of genres and modes: one day you could be doing a critical analysis of the opening section of DH Lawrence novel, the next you could be analysing Dave Cameron's stepping down speech, the next picking out what makes a televised charity appeal effective (I've done all 3 of those this year!).
What we do in Lang lessons: analyse texts such as - political speeches, novels throughout time, advertisements, leaflets and brochures, travel guides and travel writing, websites, poems etc. For coursework, we're doing an independent investigation into a part of language we're interested in; I'm looking at whether gender or emotion affects language use, my friend is looking at the way kids speak, another is looking at the history of the English language. We also do a piece of creative writing, which you've said you'd enjoy! At university level, Lang gets more intense and delves deeper into questions like: how do kids acquire language? where did the English language come from? how does media affect language (eg Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr)? what are dialects and what do they do?

Okay, now onto your questions:
What kind of work do the subjects contain that make them different?
- I think I've just about covered this one! TLDR version: Literature is very focused on analysing a few set texts with lots of outside reading, Language lets you look at a wider breadth of texts of different types like adverts, novels, poems, transcripts etc.

Is it true that universities consider Lit to be more respectable?
- I mean... if you're doing Language with BTEC Law, Media Studies and Level 3 Hair and Beauty, it's probably less respected, but it's not considered a useless subject and can be useful if you're studying a humanities subject - Lit however is known as a 'facilitating subject' meaning you can have it as an extra if you're doing Maths and STEM and things, or for a humanities course

Which would I prefer if I love reading and writing?
- This is a tough one. Lit is arguably better for reading novels and things, although at A Level you'll have a genre and a few books in that, or an overarching theme or something, so you'll do lots of reading in that area but it's not exactly a huge variety of reading. However, you can and should read lots of lit crit and critical material which is always fun! Language has some aspects of reading in it, depending on how your teacher approaches the topic, and can be good if you want to be exposed to lots of different styles of writing and language use. Writing - Lit will teach you a couple of set ways to write discursive essays, critical essays and analytical essays; Language will have you doing things like writing mock articles, writing in the style of people/genres, along with discursive, analytical and critical.

Lastly, do either of them contain creative writing in the course?
- Lit has none, Language has a compulsory creative writing section at A2, and part of the AS course is writing an article about an issue in language (Paper 2 is SO MUCH FUN, I got full marks, it's so flipping easy!)

I hope this helps!
Thanks! This was really helpful!!
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whoisme
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(Original post by SteamboatMickey)
Hello!

I studied both at AS Level, and today I begun both courses at A2 level. I got A grades in both of these subjects for my AS exams that I took earlier this year.

What kind of work do the subjects contain that make them different?

Both are analytical to a certain extent, however you are given more 'free choice' for English literature whilst English language is a little bit more 'scientific' in it's nature. English literature is your typical English course. Analysing novels, poetry, and plays. Writing essays on the significance of, say, the 'paper moon' featured in Tennessee Williams 'A Street Car Named Desire'.

However, English Language is very subjective. You can study anything from gender differences through language, how language has developed, and the meanings and representations that language conveys in everyday speech. I have learnt about slang, how new words are created, and multiple linguistic theories about what influences our language. It will probably depend on your exam-board!

Is it true that universities consider Lit to be more respectable?

I'm not actually too sure, I'm hoping to pursue a History degree so I haven't looked into it. I think both should be respected on equal grounds, but English literature is seen to be a more 'traditional' and a heavier subject as opposed to English language.
Which would I prefer if I love reading and writing?

I'd say English literature, but it's up to you really.
Lastly, do either of them contain creative writing in the course?

English language on the AQA Specification contains a creative writing coursework component which goes towards your overall A-Level grade. However, we have also made up a scene following the style of a playwright we have looked at for AS English literature, and this coursework will be worth 10% of our overall literature grade.

If you have any more questions feel free to PM me!
Thanks!
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