This is a linear course requiring the study of language use in a wide range of real spoken and written situations. You will also study how the English language has changed over time, how language is used in the media and how children acquire language. You will be exposed to some of the current debates about language use and encouraged to form and discuss your own opinions.

Unit 1 Study: Exploring Language: In this unit you will explore language use in a variety of spoken and written texts for example newspaper articles, transcripts of informal conversations, emails and advertisements. You will learn to use linguistic terminology and concepts in order to analyse unseen texts from a variety of sources in the examination. You will also write a response on a topical language issue such as the impact of technology on the English language.

Unit 2 Study: Dimensions of Linguistic Variation: For this unit, you will study Child Language Acquisition, Language Change and Language in the Media. In the examination you will be given a resource booklet of language texts to respond to and analyse. You will learn some of the theories and concepts behind these topics and draw on them in your answers.

Unit 3 Study: Independent Language Research: This is a coursework unit allowing you the opportunity to pursue an independent language investigation into an aspect of language use. You will research and explore the language use in something that interests you. This could be for example, the language of sport commentary, changes in local dialect, language variety in text messages, changes in language and style of a particular magazine over time or the language of stand up comedy.


There are two equally weighted examinations taken at the end of the two year course, both of two and a half hours. Coursework accounts for 20% of the total qualification.

What Next?

  • Areas of overlap with Sociology, Psychology and Government and Politics
  • Combines well with Modern Foreign Languages in terms of the grammar content
  • Careers in Journalism, Sports Writing, Business, Marketing, Publishing and Media
  • The unit in Child Language Acquisition is good preparation for Primary Education, teaching and any sort of work with children
  • Links well with speech therapy and communication courses

English Language Subject Leader: Mrs Lisa Herbertson

Syllabus: OCR

Course Specification: H470

Qualification: A Level