The Specification (or Syllabus) This course has been designed to give you a full and thorough preparation for the AS level or A-level English Language 2700 specification, set by the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA).
The Subject Code for entry to the AS only award is 1701.
The Subject Code for entry to the A2 (A level) award is 2701.
NB There is also a ‘B’ specification (2705) for which this course is not appropriate. Be sure to enter for the right one!
Please be aware that the A level examination includes coursework.
Although the coursework is supervised by Oxford Open Learning and marked by AQA, you must ensure that your exam centre makes
the appropriate examination entry for your coursework unit(s) in addition to the written paper entries. Without this you will not be graded.
The AQA specification is open to private candidates. Private candidates should contact AQA for a copy of ‘Information for Private Candidates’.
Arrangement of Lessons
Module One: Discovering Language Lesson Title 2nd ed Gardiner reading refs
1 An Introduction to English Grammar pp. 9-19
2 Words and Meaning - Part One: Semantics pp. 20-23, 26-27
3 Words and Meaning - Part Two: Figurative Language and Phonology pp. 24-25
4 Language Use in Context - Some Key Ideas pp. 42-45 Tutor-marked Assignment A
5 Introduction to Spoken English pp. 35-41
6 Non-Verbal Aspects of Speech and Non-Verbal Communication
7 Conversation Structures pp. 47-57
8 Types of Spoken Interaction (pp. 42-45)
9 Conversation Theories pp. 58-61
10 Spoken Language Transcription pp. 28-31; 64-69
Tutor-marked Assignment B
11 The Acquisition of Language pp. 123-148
Tutor-marked Assignment C
Module Two: Language and Representation
12 Representation and Language pp. 112-115
Tutor-marked Assignment D
13 Styles of Writing: The Language of the Media pp. 73-83
14 Styles of Writing: Literary and Informational Language pp. 84-85; 116-117
15 Coursework Piece 1: Investigation -
Tutor-marked Assignment E
16 Coursework Piece 2: Production -
17 How to Write the Commentary -
Tutor-marked Assignment F
Glossary for AS course p. 192
Module Three: Language Explorations
Lesson Title Gardiner - reading references:
18 The Idea of the ‘Standard’ (pp. 40-41); pp. 93-95
19 Interaction, Class and Gender pp. 62-63; 114-119; 102-103
20 Regional Variation pp. 93-97
21 Social Variation and Societal Attitudes to Variation pp. 98-101
Tutor-marked Assignment G
22 The English Language: Development and Use pp. 149-157
23 Contemporary Language Change: The Last Fifty Years pp. 158-165; 170-71
24 Texts from Different Times pp. 166-169
Tutor-marked Assignment H
25 Language in the News (1): the Aberrant Apostrophe pp. 177-191
26 Language in the News (2): Uptalk -
Tutor-marked Assignment I
27 Language in the News (3): Texting pp. 86-89
Tutor-marked Assignment J
Module Four: Language Investigations and Interventions
28 Language Investigation Preparation -
Tutor-marked Assignment K
29 Language Variation pp. 106-111; 114-119; 60-61
30 Working with Data - Tutor-marked Assignment L
31 The Language Intervention - Glossary for A2 Course pp. 192-195
Are Additional Textbooks Needed?
Although the course provides most of the information you will require, it is also important to get hold of the following textbook to
augment topic coverage and to provide the necessary variety of perspectives and approaches:
Gardiner, Alan. Revision Express English Language, Pearson, (2nd ed, 2008). ISBN: 978-1408206539 (Approx. £13.99).
There are references to suitable sections in Gardiner for supplementary reading throughout the course.
Although detailed references are not given in the course, it is also recommended (but not compulsory) that you acquire the following
Daniel Clayton & Beth Kemp: AQA English Language A AS: Student's
Book (AQA Language for AS), (Nelson Thornes, 2008) ISBN: 978-0748798483
Sara Thorne: Mastering Advanced English Language (Palgrave Master) (ISBN: 978-1403994837)
With any A-level subject, it is vital that you gain as many different perspectives as possible if you want to do well. Look out for other
new books that will help your studies.
As you work your way through this course, you will encounter a number of technical terms which are used in the study of English
Language. Some of these may already be familiar to you; others you will find explained as you go along. You will, however, need to look
up the meaning of some of the terms yourself – this will help you to acquire the habit of checking meanings and roots of unfamiliar
The glossaries at the back of some of the modules will help but you will need a good dictionary. We would recommend The Concise
Oxford Dictionary, 11th edition (2006) (ISBN: 978-0199296347). It would also be helpful for you to be able to refer to The Shorter
Oxford English Dictionary (2 volumes) or the complete Oxford English Dictionary from time to time. One easy way of acquiring
accompanying textbooks is through the Oxford Open Learning website (www.ool.co.uk).
Other Suggested Reading
We would strongly encourage you to do as much background reading as you can, in order to deepen your knowledge and understanding. But with so many books available, where do you begin? This list will hopefully be helpful in giving you a starting
point and narrowing down the field a little. It is not intended that you buy every, or even any, book on this list! Most will be readily
available in libraries so you can refer to them when you need to You’ll probably find that these books vary considerably in depth and
difficulty but they’re well worth looking at. You might want to ‘dip into’ them or use them as a reference source rather than reading
them from cover to cover. Those marked with an * are those we would particularly recommend.
Carey, J [ed.] The Faber Book of Reportage (Faber and Faber, 1987, ISBN: 978-0571141630).
Cheshire, J, Graddol, D and Swann, J Describing Language (Open University, 1987, ISBN: 978-0335193158).
*Crystal, D The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of English Language (CUP, 1997, ISBN: 978-0521596558).
*Crystal, D The English Language (Penguin, 1998, ISBN: 978-0141003962).
McArthur, T [ed.] The Oxford Companion to the English Language (OUP, ISBN: 978-0192806376).
The books in this section are usually more easily digestible. At the same time they’ll provide you with a closer look at specific aspects of
Rain, F and Rain, R The Grammar Book (National Association for the Teaching of English,1996).
Crystal, D Discover Grammar (Longman, 1998).
Freeborn, D Varieties of English (Second edition, Macmillan, 1993).
Goddard, A et al English Language ‘A’ level: The Starter Pack (Framework Press, 1991).
Hudson, R Language Workbooks (Routledge, 1994).
Jago, M Language and Style (Hodder and Stoughton).
Keith and Shuttleworth, Living Language (Hodder and Stoughton).
Salkie, R Text and Discourse Analysis: Language Workbooks (Routledge, 1995).
Stilwell Peccei, J Child Language: Language Workbooks (Routledge, 2003).
Thorne S Mastering Advanced English (Macmillan, 1997).
Trudgill, P Dialects: Language Workbooks (Routledge, 1994).
Wainwright, J & Hutton, J Your Own Words (Nelson, 1992).
You might find the following websites helpful.
List of web-based resources for English A’ level support: www.revisiontime.com/alevel_english.html
Oxford English Dictionary: www.askoxford.com
BBC English AS Guru: http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/asguru/english/language.shtml
‘A’ Level Qualifications
The Advanced Subsidiary (AS) Level Advanced Subsidiary (AS) courses may be used in one of two ways:
As a final qualification, allowing candidates to broaden their studies and to defer questions about specialism;
As the first half (50%) of an Advanced Level qualification, which must be completed before an Advanced Level award can be made.
Advanced Subsidiary is designed to provide an appropriate assessment of knowledge, understanding and skills expected of
candidates who have completed the first half of a full Advanced Level Qualification.
The Advanced Level (AS + A2)
The Advanced Level examination is in two parts:
Advanced Subsidiary (AS) - 50% of the total award;
A second examination, called A2 - 50% of the total award
‘A’ levels allow for considerable flexibility in the taking of exams.
The two most popular options are: English Language 'A' level General Introduction
AS is completed at the end of one year and A2 at the end of the
AS and A2 are completed at the end of the same year.
Grading and Shelf-Life
The AS qualification will be graded on a five-point scale: A, B, C, D and E. The full A Level qualification will be graded on a six-point
scale: A*, A, B, C, D and E. To be awarded an A* candidates will need to achieve a grade A on the full A Level qualification and an A*
on the aggregate of the A2 units.
For AS and A Level, candidates who fail to reach the minimum standard for grade E will be recorded as U (unclassified) and will not
receive a qualification certificate. Individual assessment unit results will be certificated.
Unit results remain available to count towards certification, whether or not they have already been used, as long as the specification is
still valid. Candidates may re-sit a unit any number of times within the shelf-life of the specification.
The AQA Syllabus
This information is correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change. Prior to the examination, students should
contact the exam board for the latest information.
This course is designed to match the requirements of the AQA 1701 (AS) and 2701 (‘A’ level A2) specifications. The exam consists of two
units at each level (four in all). At each level, one unit is assessed by written exam and one by coursework.
Specification: Assessment Structure
AS Course (AQA AS 1701)
Unit 1 – Unit code: ENGA1 Seeing Through Language
60% of AS, 30% of A Level
2 hour written examination 90 marks
Language Analysis task and Language Development essay
Unit 2 – Unit code: ENGA2 Representation and Language
40% of AS, 20% of A Level
Coursework 60 marks