Saturday, May 17, 2008

ENA5 - Language Change

Now the AS exams are done and dusted, let's have a look at the A2 units. You should still have a good few weeks to revise for ENA5 and ENA6, so there is plenty of time to plug holes and think about the wider issues for each paper and each topic. I've uploaded quite a few files - worksheets, powerpoints and audio - to a separate website (and if you're an SFX student it should all be on Moodle) so you can access various online.

With the first question on ENA5 texts from a different time, there's no real substitute for wide reading. But if you can't face wading your way through long texts, try this link* to shorter extracts.

One idea is to apply the same basic GASP (Genre, Audience, Subject, Purpose) framework to each extract and then use this as a starting point for more detailed study of meaning, attitudes and how the text reflects the period it was written in. This is more complicated at A2 because you might not be as familiar with some of the genres: diary entries were very popular; travel writing was common; sermons, treatises and homilies found their way into print. But as with any genre, there are certain language features you would expect to find, so start looking for things like 1st person pronouns, past and present tense, modal auxiliaries, ellipsis, sentence type variation and sentence functions.

Another complicating factor is that your grammatical labelling must be more in depth: at A2 you're expected to know about tense and aspect (present, past, progressive, perfective), clause and sentence types: simple, compound, complex sentences; subordinate, coordinate and relative clauses, as well as the more basic word classes from AS. You're also being asked to look at the text is an historical document and to place it somewhere along the language change continuum.

So to revise grammar, use either this link or this one.
To get a sense of how language has changed over time, try these language change time lines, but remember that the earliest period you will be assessed on is 1600 (Early Modern English).

*Edited 24.11.10 to fix broken link

Accent attitudes: lessons in discourses

As I posted a day or two back, accent attitudes have been back in the news. Following a report from The Sutton Trust , using research from t...