What is English Language?

English Language is a fascinating subject that includes studying the varieties of the English language, as well as its acquisition and use. Students will learn about children’s language development and will pay attention to language diversity and change. Moreover, students will develop their writing and research skills while enjoying applying methods of language analysis across a variety of activities. They will learn to appreciate the variety and richness of the language, and will develop a solid basis for other studies.

How is it studied?

AQA A-Level English Language is taught within the two-year, five-term and one year A-level programmes.

Students studying English Language at Oxford Sixth Form College engage with a subject that involves the study of the English language from its origins to the present day. The course covers changes and developments in vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation. This involves studying examples of English from the seventeenth century to the modern era, and analysing them using the terminology of linguistics. Apart from the theory, the subject includes practical studies of authentic written and spoken English from a broad range of sources.

The AQA specification encourages students to develop their subject expertise by engaging creatively and critically with a wide range of texts and discourses.

In their first year of study, students will explore key language concepts, and will be supported by experienced teachers to pursue their own views, critical analysis of texts, and engagement in debates.

In their second year of study, students will further develop their creativity and analytical skills, reflecting critically on their own work. They will  have the opportunity to choose and research topics of their own interest for writing in the non-exam assessment.

OCR and Edexcel A-Level English Language are available as one year and two-term retake programmes. 

How is English Language assessed?

Exam board: AQA

Paper Modules Weighting Format
1 Language, the Individual and Society 40% Written exam: 2.5 hours
2 Language, Diversity and Change 40% Written exam: 2.5 hours
3 Non-exam assessment: language in action 20% Students produce:

• A language investigation (2,000 words excluding data)

• A piece of original writing and commentary (1,500 words total)


What do I need?

To study this subject at A-Level, a minimum of a C (4) grade in GCSE English is necessary, plus an interest in the English language in its many forms, both written and spoken. This subject will benefit from students with an enquiring mind and attention to detail.

The skills used will build on those gained at GCSE English Language: reading and listening to different varieties of English, reproducing them in set tasks, and being able to comment on them in a coherent and analytical manner.

What should I study with English Language?

English Language A-Level works well with a very wide range of subject combinations. For students wishing to pursue a career in creative media, a combination of A-Level English Language, A-Level Media Studies and A-level Photography is very appropriate.


What can I do with English Language A-Level?

The study of English Language will be invaluable for any career that involves communication skills, both written and spoken, and requires a comprehensive understanding and knowledge of the English language.

English Language will be an asset when applying for university entry in arts subjects, and is especially useful for anyone looking for a career in advertising, journalism and the media. Beyond A-Level and university, students will take with them an appreciation of the variety and richness of the language, not only in terms of linguistics, but also in terms of psychology, philosophy, anthropology and literary criticism.

Questions about the course

Can I study A-Level English Language as a one year A-Level?

As an A-Level English Language retake student, yes.

A-Level English Language can also be studied as a new subject, one year A-Level, often in combination with one year, new subject, A-Levels such as A-Level Media Studies and A-Level Photography.