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    Hi,

    Before I start, please forgive me for any stupid questions, they may come up quite a lot :p:

    I know I still got the hurdles of GCSEs to go before I reach college/6th form... but I am hoping to take the following AS Levels:
    Maths (you need it almost everywhere)
    Chemistry (keeps medicine open)
    Biology (keeps medicine open)
    English Language (purely out of interest).

    I have been looking around at the colleges and 6th forms in my area and none of them offers English Language for A level. They offer English Lit. but not lang. Is there a reason for this? I personally believe it is because many students who want to do law and they tend to opt for Eng Lit so this makes lang an unpopular option.

    What alternatives are there to English Language? I'm thinking either Psychology or Philosophy. Any recommendations?

    If you are an Eng Lang student, what is the course like, what do you cover etc? Do you think it's realistic if I attempted to try and sit the AS level outside school?


    Sorry for the bombardment of questions!
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    Hey,
    i think in some schools / colleges it's a combined Lit and lang course? you should check, cause that's what our school used to do, we where the first year to do English Language.

    It is very interesting, because you do learn in depth about the structure of words, how the work, how they can influence people and situations, how speech is influenced by social statues ect. and the history of words. But i will be truthful and say that unless you have a natural flair at english it is very hard. I used to be quite good at english lit in GCSE but lang is a different kettle of fish; it's the kind of subject where you can work on it, but some of the time either you understand it or you don't.

    Also, it depends on your teacher; mine was a bit boring, so it was never as interesting as I imagine it could be.

    And alot of the work it analysis, and it is hard because alot of the terms overlap and can get confusing.

    But saying that, if you want to do it, it is very unteresting and enjoyable, especially if your good at it!!!

    good luck in chosing
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    (Original post by purplefrog)
    I have been looking around at the colleges and 6th forms in my area and none of them offers English Language for A level. They offer English Lit. but not lang. Is there a reason for this? I personally believe it is because many students who want to do law and they tend to opt for Eng Lit so this makes lang an unpopular option.

    What alternatives are there to English Language? I'm thinking either Psychology or Philosophy. Any recommendations?

    If you are an Eng Lang student, what is the course like, what do you cover etc? Do you think it's realistic if I attempted to try and sit the AS level outside school?


    Sorry for the bombardment of questions!
    I don't do Language, but I believe that doing Literature opens up a wider array of options for you. Most universities, for English related degrees (I know that isn't what you had in mind) ask for English Literature or English Literature AND Language- you can't have English Language by itself.

    I think that Philosophy would be better than Psychology as Psychology is classed, by some, as a science so to have your three sciences AND an arts subject shows that you're versatile and able to do both art and science.
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    (Original post by Hyde Clarendon Sixth Form)
    English Language - AS/A2

    If you have a keen interest in how English is used in everyday life, this is the course for you.

    You will study a wide range of texts from short stories to the language of chat rooms. You will gain an insight into the changes the English language has seen over the years and understand how children acquire language.

    Over a two-year period you will:

    * Study various texts
    * Do your own writing both fiction and non-fiction
    * Learn about the relationship between language use and society
    * Gain an understanding into how children learn English
    * Create your own writing by adapting materials for new purposes
    * Have the opportunity to research your own language topic investigations
    I was originally taking this as I thought it was really interesting and was actually requested on one of the Speech Therapy courses I was interested in doing at University.

    The only reason I changed was because the college I moved to didn't offer it.

    It isn't written off, even by Oxbridge, it just (wrongly in my opinion) isn't as respected as English Lit or English Lit Lang. Your other subjects are strong so if you want to take it and are given the opportunity, do what you think is best for you (what you will enjoy - doing A Levels you don't like only leads to trouble).

    English Lit Lang is not the same at all. It is completely different from both Lang and Lit as it is an intergrated course that demands its own type of skills. Personally, I like the fact you can write your own stuff which is a skill you can lose with English Lit. The way you assess Literature is different also (in some ways harder) as you go into great depth regarding the specific lexical and syntaxical devices used. It is rewarding though and there is half a module at AS for speech analysis (on the current AQA Spec A course) - you get an unseen transcript (or multiple transcripts) in the exam and have to write an essay about the way the language used expresses feelings about a certain issue.

    It is good to be thinking about things now but things change so just keep your eyes open for things that you think are interesting.

    =D
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    (Original post by pink_pixie)
    It is very interesting, because you do learn in depth about the structure of words, how the work, how they can influence people and situations, how speech is influenced by social statues ect. and the history of words. But i will be truthful and say that unless you have a natural flair at english it is very hard. I used to be quite good at english lit in GCSE but lang is a different kettle of fish; it's the kind of subject where you can work on it, but some of the time either you understand it or you don't.
    I really enjoy English and am doing well in my coursework. I've done 3 pieces so far and have scored 17, 20, 19 (out of a possible 20) and my orals are of a similar pattern. The topics you say seem very interesting; I take a natural interest into what I've highlighted in bold. I'm my skills in English litrature are great too, but I don't enjoy it as much.


    (Original post by Jhawkins)
    I think that Philosophy would be better than Psychology as Psychology is classed, by some, as a science so to have your three sciences AND an arts subject shows that you're versatile and able to do both art and science.
    Thanks for the feedback. A few of my friends in y12 have echoed similar stuff about the issue with literature getting more weighting. I see your point of view in terms of choosing philosophy. I also quite like the concept of it being a very open subject yet being very academic as well. From what I've heard you've got be very good at English to be able to articulate yourself well in Philosophy otherwise you can almost kiss the higher grades goodbye.


    Thanks a lot to the both of you, pink_pixie and Jhawkins for your insights.
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    (Original post by affinity89)
    Personally, I like the fact you can write your own stuff which is a skill you can lose with English Lit.

    [...]

    It is good to be thinking about things now but things change so just keep your eyes open for things that you think are interesting.
    That is exactly why I love language! I don't mind litrature, but if you can't get into the piece of text you are studying, you won't do as well. I just love being able to express myself and Eng Lang allows me to do that.

    The course you showed me looks very interesting. I'm going to have to look around to see if I can find somewhere that does it

    I too agree about the difference of how eng lang is regarded compared to eng lit.


    Thanks for the information
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    As having done AS EngLit and EngLang as well as doing Bio, Chem, Maths (plus some more):

    EngLit is a better preparation for English (Literature) at university, because that was traditionally what using language was about - analysing how the things that were portrayed by the language acted in a world carved out by language, with a bit about how the language showed these concepts and characters [using traditional techniques of rhetoric, so a lot of contrast between figurative and literal].

    EngLang however is very good preparation for Linguistics at university however, analysing instead the system of the language, and how it is used in (mundane) life. Plus there's actually writing and editing text, which actually doesn't count for as much as the media portrays it (it is not "A-level Creative Writing"). I would think it helps with analysing your own use of language...but then again I like philology and linguistics.

    I don't do EngLangLit, but at my current sixth form college I often help those who do. That tries to combine the two, using both Lit and Lang (but to much less depth - there isn't much linguistic {Lang} theory, and not much critical analysis {Lit} theory either).

    (Original post by purplefrog)
    Do you think it's realistic if I attempted to try and sit the AS level outside school?
    Actually, that's what I'm doing. I think you have to do either AQA A or Edexcel for AS, and only AQA A for whole A-level (I'm on AQA A) because there's no coursework in those boards. I'm quite enjoying it (although my most recent EngLang exam was a disaster). For AQA A, you'll do a lot of textual analysis (as with all English), and representation (the language used to speak about genders, races, disability, political correctness, and some linguo-philosophy and linguo-psychology in reflectionism/determinism) or child language acquisition (how language is developed in children - lots of linguo-psychology, including Skinner, Piaget, Chomsky, Bruner, all except Chomsky being important figures in A-level Psychology); also there'll be some writing your own text (plus commenting on it), and 'interaction' (alias 'conversation': how people speak, how they speak to reflect their context, male/female speech, as well as a lot of linguistic theory - Grice, Lakoff, etc. on how people speak).

    For A2, there is a language investigation exam, which is just the hardest piece of analysis, a very interesting unit on change and variation - changes through time (though only until past Shakespeare's time - no Chaucer or Venerable Bede) and by dialect, whether regional, social, occupational. Finally the synoptic is quite big; one topic comes up including lots of analysis of small examples of language, some methodology issues about how you would analyse an example of X (e.g. attitude towards an accent speaking Standard English), an analysis of an article, both about its arguments of the issue and the language it uses; plus a text of your own, plus a commentary.

    (Original post by purplefrog)
    I'm thinking either Psychology or Philosophy. Any recommendations?
    Both of those have LOTS to remember. As having done both of those to AS only, I thought Psych was easier because it was more scientific and remembering all those theories and studies came more naturally. But Philosophy I could get away with remembering less. To be honest, I was more interested in Psychology, but Philosophy was intriguing. There is also a bit about language in Philo, under religious language, and a bit if it comes to concepts and how they are conceived. Psych does have a bit more on child lang. development, depending on your spec, and may have something on mental disorder and language (Broca's and Wernicke's areas in the brain and all that).
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    Be aware that English Language AS Level is not really like GCSE, it's more like a linguistics course in many respects.
    It's not as highly regarded as Literature (I take both) but universities definitely won't hold it against you or dislike it, so if you have an interest in it, go for it.

    And there are two sets of about 20 people who take Language AS level in my school; it's probably the fifth most popular subject after Psychology, Literature, Maths and History. Michaelyus described it pretty well, but if you have any more questions, feel free to ask.
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    Im doing a combined lit and lang a level and honestly the lit bit is so much more intersting. I dont think it helps that my first teacher used to just make us highlight sheets for the lang bit and now my second teacher just cleans cupboads and dont teach but i find lit is a lot more like GCSE where as lang is like starting a whole new subject and you have to learn so much like all this speech stuff.
    Overall i also find lang harder that lit to be honest!
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    I think that if you aren't particularly interested in taking English at University, go for Lang, yeah.
    But the thing is, as people have said, Lit is far more respected and does open up more opportunities. I wish I'd have taken it as well, because now it'll be harder for me to get into English teaching (having not taken Lit as well).

    You could always change your mind as well. I know someone who had their heart set on medicine, but then changed and went totally the opposite direction academically.

    I'm not entirely sure, but maybe you'd get more out of lit in terms of respectability and opportunity, but more out of lang for your own interest.
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    (Original post by michaelyus)
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    As having done AS EngLit and EngLang as well as doing Bio, Chem, Maths (plus some more):

    EngLit is a better preparation for English (Literature) at university, because that was traditionally what using language was about - analysing how the things that were portrayed by the language acted in a world carved out by language, with a bit about how the language showed these concepts and characters [using traditional techniques of rhetoric, so a lot of contrast between figurative and literal].

    EngLang however is very good preparation for Linguistics at university however, analysing instead the system of the language, and how it is used in (mundane) life. Plus there's actually writing and editing text, which actually doesn't count for as much as the media portrays it (it is not "A-level Creative Writing"). I would think it helps with analysing your own use of language...but then again I like philology and linguistics.

    I don't do EngLangLit, but at my current sixth form college I often help those who do. That tries to combine the two, using both Lit and Lang (but to much less depth - there isn't much linguistic {Lang} theory, and not much critical analysis {Lit} theory either).


    Actually, that's what I'm doing. I think you have to do either AQA A or Edexcel for AS, and only AQA A for whole A-level (I'm on AQA A) because there's no coursework in those boards. I'm quite enjoying it (although my most recent EngLang exam was a disaster). For AQA A, you'll do a lot of textual analysis (as with all English), and representation (the language used to speak about genders, races, disability, political correctness, and some linguo-philosophy and linguo-psychology in reflectionism/determinism) or child language acquisition (how language is developed in children - lots of linguo-psychology, including Skinner, Piaget, Chomsky, Bruner, all except Chomsky being important figures in A-level Psychology); also there'll be some writing your own text (plus commenting on it), and 'interaction' (alias 'conversation': how people speak, how they speak to reflect their context, male/female speech, as well as a lot of linguistic theory - Grice, Lakoff, etc. on how people speak).

    For A2, there is a language investigation exam, which is just the hardest piece of analysis, a very interesting unit on change and variation - changes through time (though only until past Shakespeare's time - no Chaucer or Venerable Bede) and by dialect, whether regional, social, occupational. Finally the synoptic is quite big; one topic comes up including lots of analysis of small examples of language, some methodology issues about how you would analyse an example of X (e.g. attitude towards an accent speaking Standard English), an analysis of an article, both about its arguments of the issue and the language it uses; plus a text of your own, plus a commentary.


    Both of those have LOTS to remember. As having done both of those to AS only, I thought Psych was easier because it was more scientific and remembering all those theories and studies came more naturally. But Philosophy I could get away with remembering less. To be honest, I was more interested in Psychology, but Philosophy was intriguing. There is also a bit about language in Philo, under religious language, and a bit if it comes to concepts and how they are conceived. Psych does have a bit more on child lang. development, depending on your spec, and may have something on mental disorder and language (Broca's and Wernicke's areas in the brain and all that).
    Well thanks for the descript feedback. You've certainly done quite a fair bit with all those A levels! They more or less overlap what I plan to do. What you said was really helpful and I will definitely take a lot of that into consideration when it comes to applying for AS courses. It is up to me now to find places where I actually can sit the AS level out of school and also decide whether I would be able to cope.

    The amount of detail you've gone into has answered quite a few of my questions I never put down and have shed a lot more light onto this area. I'm quite glad I'm asking all this now rather than later down the line.

    Thanks for giving up your time to type all that up!

    Just out of interest, if you are willing to share, which AS/A2 level subjects did you take - (no need to put grades down, just subject names if willing)?
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    (Original post by purplefrog)
    which AS/A2 level subjects did you take
    An embarassingly, insanely high number; I'm only in Yr12 as well.
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    Done:
    French A-level
    Phil AS
    Psych AS
    EngLit AS
    CritThink A-level

    Doing:
    Biology A2
    Chemistry AS-A2
    Maths A2
    Physics AS-A2
    Further Maths AS-A2
    EngLang AS-A2
    Chinese A2
    Music AS-A2
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    English Lang&Lit is great, the coursework is actually quite fun and there is very interesting poetry and literature (fiction and non-fiction) you study - I really recommend it!
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    (Original post by michaelyus)
    An embarassingly, insanely high number; I'm only in Yr12 as well.
    Spoiler:
    Show

    Done:
    French A-level
    Phil AS
    Psych AS
    EngLit AS
    CritThink A-level

    Doing:
    Biology A2
    Chemistry AS-A2
    Maths A2
    Physics AS-A2
    Further Maths AS-A2
    EngLang AS-A2
    Chinese A2
    Music AS-A2
    wow....

    congratulations on what you've done so far, and I wish you the best of luck for the rest of them
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    English Language is fantastic! I am currently fast-tracking an A level in it this year and I'm enjoying it. I have just finished AS Psychology too, which I also really enjoyed and would also strongly recommend. However, the one that beats them both is your other option; Philosophy. I did a Religious Studies A level (which focuses on the philosophy of religion) last year (alongside AS Music, A level Business Studies, A level ICT and A level General Studies) and I can honestly say that out of those 3 subject areas that you mentioned, Religious Studies/Philosophy was the best. I'd probably rank them as follows:

    1) Religious Studies - Half Philosophy, half Ethics - fairly well respected subject, useful in most areas of study, good introduction to Philosophy if you have even a vague interest in it.
    2) English Language - Another essay subject, not as well respected as its older brother Literature, but a really good fun course nonetheless and one I would definitely recommend.
    3) Psychology - Another fairly well respected subject. Be warned, the workload is much bigger than the other two, however it is easier stuff to learn so it does balance out. Really interesting course but do some research on the particular specification you'll be doing to avoid disappointment; many people have completely the wrong idea of what A level Psychology is all about!

    Good luck with your choices!
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    Hey, was just doing english Lang revision and thought this website might be useful..it has some stuff about the course (though i think different schools don't do all the units, for example i don't do language aquisition in children), and is really good for explaining terms , so is good revision. It was also give you an insight into the kinda things you would have to learn, so you can see if you like it :

    http://www.universalteacher.org.uk/contents.htm#langa

    (it's called Andrew Moore english website)

    Hope it helps!
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    (Original post by pink_pixie)
    Hey, was just doing english Lang revision and thought this website might be useful..it has some stuff about the course (though i think different schools don't do all the units, for example i don't do language aquisition in children), and is really good for explaining terms , so is good revision. It was also give you an insight into the kinda things you would have to learn, so you can see if you like it :

    http://www.universalteacher.org.uk/contents.htm#langa

    (it's called Andrew Moore english website)

    Hope it helps!
    Thanks a lot! That is a gem I'm going to take a dip into the pragmatics bit now...
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    P.S. Just noticed something I missed before. You could definitely sit it outside of your school - I did the full A level in a year at night classes and I'm not the cleverest of A level students. I'm predicted a B. What specification will you be doing? If you're doing AQA (not sure about the other boards) then go to the AQA website and look under 'current GCE's' - you should find the specification there which will tell you more about the work you will cover. Hope this helps! Tommy
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    (Original post by Tommy The Cat)
    English Language is fantastic! I am currently fast-tracking an A level in it this year and I'm enjoying it. I have just finished AS Psychology too, which I also really enjoyed and would also strongly recommend. However, the one that beats them both is your other option; Philosophy. I did a Religious Studies A level (which focuses on the philosophy of religion) last year (alongside AS Music, A level Business Studies, A level ICT and A level General Studies) and I can honestly say that out of those 3 subject areas that you mentioned, Religious Studies/Philosophy was the best. I'd probably rank them as follows:

    1) Religious Studies - Half Philosophy, half Ethics - fairly well respected subject, useful in most areas of study, good introduction to Philosophy if you have even a vague interest in it.
    2) English Language - Another essay subject, not as well respected as its older brother Literature, but a really good fun course nonetheless and one I would definitely recommend.
    3) Psychology - Another fairly well respected subject. Be warned, the workload is much bigger than the other two, however it is easier stuff to learn so it does balance out. Really interesting course but do some research on the particular specification you'll be doing to avoid disappointment; many people have completely the wrong idea of what A level Psychology is all about!

    Good luck with your choices!
    Cheers. I'll look into what boards offer what and see whats feasible for me to sit outside school and where.
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    The course apparently varies quite a lot according to what exam board you do. I on OCR and doing english lang A2 (on wednesday :'( )

    It has its ups and downs! Its quite 'scientific' and logical, not really like Lit where its about interpretation (I assume). Lang involves a lot of data analysis, particularly in the second year which is quite relentless.

    In the first year, we did features of spoken language, written language and child language aquisition, which I only learned to love during my re-sit! This year we've done Grammar and/or phonology (structural contexts) and Lang Change and Lang and Society (Social contexts). It is quite interesting aslong as you stay focussed, I dont find it particularly challenging but I do French as well which I find helps a lot.

    Good luck if you choose it! (Well good luck with what ever you choose to do!)
 
 
 

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