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English Language A Level too politically correct? watch

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    7 months into English Language AS and the content is starting to piss me off. We must study theorists that say "men seek to dominate conversation" and this annoying 'male as norm' theory; it honestly feels like a bunch of whining. Not long ago, my teacher was whining about the male patriarchy and how "too many white males" are in charge of society. I'm starting to feel like i'm in a gender studies class! The language and gender part feels pointless, its just a bunch of speculation on how men and women act and talk differently - I see no transferable skills at all. In English Lit we form critical interpretations ourselves and in History we learn great essay writing - In English Language we learn about how women apparently say "isn't it?" more than men. It's getting ridiculous. Keep in mind that language and gender is a large part of the course with its own exam question. Any other English Language students feel the same, or am I the one whining?
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    (Original post by Assembly)
    7 months into English Language AS and the content is starting to piss me off. We must study theorists that say "men seek to dominate conversation" and this annoying 'male as norm' theory; it honestly feels like a bunch of whining. Not long ago, my teacher was whining about the male patriarchy and how "too many white males" are in charge of society. I'm starting to feel like i'm in a gender studies class! The language and gender part feels pointless, its just a bunch of speculation on how men and women act and talk differently - I see no transferable skills at all. In English Lit we form critical interpretations ourselves and in History we learn great essay writing - In English Language we learn about how women apparently say "isn't it?" more than men. It's getting ridiculous. Keep in mind that language and gender is a large part of the course with its own exam question. Any other English Language students feel the same, or am I the one whining?
    Surely it is open to you to put counter arguments in your essays?
    If you dont wish to study it, then ask to change courses. You should have checked the spec to see what the course was about before you chose it. Alternatively just get on with it.
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    (Original post by Assembly)
    7 months into English Language AS and the content is starting to piss me off. We must study theorists that say "men seek to dominate conversation" and this annoying 'male as norm' theory; it honestly feels like a bunch of whining. Not long ago, my teacher was whining about the male patriarchy and how "too many white males" are in charge of society. I'm starting to feel like i'm in a gender studies class! The language and gender part feels pointless, its just a bunch of speculation on how men and women act and talk differently - I see no transferable skills at all. In English Lit we form critical interpretations ourselves and in History we learn great essay writing - In English Language we learn about how women apparently say "isn't it?" more than men. It's getting ridiculous. Keep in mind that language and gender is a large part of the course with its own exam question. Any other English Language students feel the same, or am I the one whining?
    I've been studying English Language for AS and A-Level (currently in my 2nd and final year), and whilst I resonate entirely with what you're saying, it's necessary to look at what is actually being studied.

    Essentially, 'English Language' is, in my opinion, a simplified form of linguistics, and 'language and gender' is within sociolinguistics; this encompasses, equally, accents, dialects, class, age, etc. These all relate in 'how language as a tool can be influenced by various external factors', on a simplistic way. The other aspect, which you'll no doubt study next year, is essentially the History of the English Language. Again, this is overly simplified, and looks at the major events (such as the Great Vowel Shift, the Renaissance period, Samuel Johnson's standardised dictionary etc.). I suppose that the A-Level (and, of course, AS) English Language course is meant to be an introduction into linguistics, though from a relatively closed-minded viewpoint (in my opinion).

    That said, an AWFUL lot is placed on gender in the course - it sounds like a similar story for you, but it seemed as though about 80% of the sociolinguistic side regarded language and gender, with a lesser weighting being considered on the other branches. This makes sense, therefore, that you feel like you're "in a gender studies class" - I had, and to some extent do still have, that exact viewpoint.

    The thing about the English Language AS Level is that it is, more or less, gender sociolinguistics. As you will know, Lakoff (1975) more or less kicked off the whole gender and language debate, which, as you'll also be very aware, is continuing even today. Within this are the different models - deficit, dominance, difference etc., and a large amount of this is on the precedent that 'men and women speak differently'. It is certainly true that this takes up a large amount of the AS English course. Of course, the counter arguments are presented - Deborah Cameron, in particular, with the similarity model.

    Plus, it sounds as if you have a female teacher. On that side of the course, we have a male teacher, so I can't exactly comment on whether I've had the same experience, but I do see where you're coming from - the content in this particular part of the course seems to be predominantly focused on the supposition that 'men and women speak differently'.

    So whilst you're totally justified in saying that the language and gender unit seems pointless, which, for the most part it is, you more or less have to just learn it for the exam. If you decide to go into linguistics or English Language at university, it's pretty much just an introduction. As someone who is, it could be said, fairly well-versed in linguistics as a concept and field of study, there is a slightly one-sided, almost biased, view to the course, but this is just, unfortunately, the approach that has to be realised in undertaking this course.

    Hope that gives a bit more explanation.

    In conclusion [damn, this feels too much like an essay], you're not at all whining, nor are your viewpoints unjustified. It's just the nature of the course, unfortunately.
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    At least you don’t do media as well, half the media theories we need to know are on either gender or racism. I pray for a time where it no longer matters and everyone is presented equally!
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    (Original post by Assembly)
    Not long ago, my teacher was whining about the male patriarchy and how "too many white males" are in charge of society. ?
    Welcome to the arts. I study English at University and I'm reminded of my privilege everyday by eager students. Hopefully one day I'll get a chance to benefit from it.
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    (Original post by Assembly)
    7 months into English Language AS and the content is starting to piss me off. We must study theorists that say "men seek to dominate conversation" and this annoying 'male as norm' theory; it honestly feels like a bunch of whining. Not long ago, my teacher was whining about the male patriarchy and how "too many white males" are in charge of society. I'm starting to feel like i'm in a gender studies class! The language and gender part feels pointless, its just a bunch of speculation on how men and women act and talk differently - I see no transferable skills at all. In English Lit we form critical interpretations ourselves and in History we learn great essay writing - In English Language we learn about how women apparently say "isn't it?" more than men. It's getting ridiculous. Keep in mind that language and gender is a large part of the course with its own exam question. Any other English Language students feel the same, or am I the one whining?
    ik what u mean
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    (Original post by TeenPolyglot)
    I've been studying English Language for AS and A-Level (currently in my 2nd and final year), and whilst I resonate entirely with what you're saying, it's necessary to look at what is actually being studied.

    Essentially, 'English Language' is, in my opinion, a simplified form of linguistics, and 'language and gender' is within sociolinguistics; this encompasses, equally, accents, dialects, class, age, etc. These all relate in 'how language as a tool can be influenced by various external factors', on a simplistic way. The other aspect, which you'll no doubt study next year, is essentially the History of the English Language. Again, this is overly simplified, and looks at the major events (such as the Great Vowel Shift, the Renaissance period, Samuel Johnson's standardised dictionary etc.). I suppose that the A-Level (and, of course, AS) English Language course is meant to be an introduction into linguistics, though from a relatively closed-minded viewpoint (in my opinion).

    That said, an AWFUL lot is placed on gender in the course - it sounds like a similar story for you, but it seemed as though about 80% of the sociolinguistic side regarded language and gender, with a lesser weighting being considered on the other branches. This makes sense, therefore, that you feel like you're "in a gender studies class" - I had, and to some extent do still have, that exact viewpoint.

    The thing about the English Language AS Level is that it is, more or less, gender sociolinguistics. As you will know, Lakoff (1975) more or less kicked off the whole gender and language debate, which, as you'll also be very aware, is continuing even today. Within this are the different models - deficit, dominance, difference etc., and a large amount of this is on the precedent that 'men and women speak differently'. It is certainly true that this takes up a large amount of the AS English course. Of course, the counter arguments are presented - Deborah Cameron, in particular, with the similarity model.

    Plus, it sounds as if you have a female teacher. On that side of the course, we have a male teacher, so I can't exactly comment on whether I've had the same experience, but I do see where you're coming from - the content in this particular part of the course seems to be predominantly focused on the supposition that 'men and women speak differently'.

    So whilst you're totally justified in saying that the language and gender unit seems pointless, which, for the most part it is, you more or less have to just learn it for the exam. If you decide to go into linguistics or English Language at university, it's pretty much just an introduction. As someone who is, it could be said, fairly well-versed in linguistics as a concept and field of study, there is a slightly one-sided, almost biased, view to the course, but this is just, unfortunately, the approach that has to be realised in undertaking this course.

    Hope that gives a bit more explanation.

    In conclusion [damn, this feels too much like an essay], you're not at all whining, nor are your viewpoints unjustified. It's just the nature of the course, unfortunately.
    That was a very well thought out, detailed response - thank you for your feedback. There is definitely a biased view to the course, I disagree with a large majority of the theorists - but it is much easier to agree with them for the sake of getting marks, which is what annoys me. But nevertheless, its the grade on that certificate that matters - looks like i'll just have to pull through.
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