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 You're also being asked to look at the text is an historical document and to place it somewhere along the language change continuum.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

13 comments:

Dessy said...

you call those short???
we won't get anything that long would we, i mean if we were comparing two texts like those football ones, they'd be short wouldn't they?

Dan said...

It depends on which ones you look at. The early 17th century ones are pretty short, as are some of the 18th and 19th century ones.

Just have a look at the old papers here (AQA A spec, ENA5) http://www.freeexampapers.com/
for examples of length.

Dessy said...

tank u

Dessy said...

by the way, my auntie was telling ma cousin off for using "da" on msn. she calls it laziness, that's prescriptivist right? but what category,

Dan said...

Old person's prescriptivism? Maybe not, she might be younger than me!

Damp spoon syndrome, i would say. Any judgements about "sloppy" or "lazy" language tend to be down to personal taste more than anything else.

Anonymous said...

what do you include in the scripted radio talk?

Anonymous said...

Hello, I wanted to know if it is necessary to include theories by Crystal, Honey etc in part B Language Change section. There is a lot to write in a short amount of time so in the theory/debate section I just want to write about prescriptivism/descriptivism and Atchison’s metaphors

Also, for intialiams is it ok if I talk about phrases such as 'got to go' being abbreviated to 'gtg' when communicating through technology such as email/msn?

Many thanks; this is a really helpful site!

Dan said...

Hi, I think you probably do need a bit of theory to get into the top band of AO4 on Language Change, but it only gives 4 bullet points on the mark scheme: *Conceptualised overview of theories and research.
*Analyses and evaluates alternative views.
*Identifies and challenges standpoints.
*Exploratory/original/evaluative approach.

So, you could bring in Jean Aitchison's models, a bit of Crystal (there's some good points of his in "How Language Works" if you can get hold of it), and a "conceptualised" approach to how language changes i.e. an overall sense of how, why and what happens.

The "selection, codification, elaboration, acceptance" model is quite a good one for looking at how language change spreads through a society. It's mentioned in one of the Graeme Trousdale language change clips on the emag website, but you'll need a user ID to access it.

If I get a chance I'll copy soem notes about it over to the blog later today.

Dan said...

And teh stuff you said about initialisms sounds good to me. It's a good idea to have a few examples for each process, so maybe ones like LOL and ASL are good for initialisms. In south London, KMT (Kissing My Teeth) is popular, or even KMBCT (Kissing my Bloodclart Teeth) - nice bit of patois variation mixed in with language change!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Dan, that was really helpful! For the section A part, I know we have to identify the usual grammar features such as nouns, verbs, adverbs and so on, but I am a bit confused as to whether there are separate 'frameworks' for the old language. I mean, I know we have to identify archaic, orthography if there any in the text, is there anything else?

Also, if I identified orthography, (i.e. if it said wief instead of wife) would I say ‘this is an example of orthographic language.’

Anonymous said...

what is tenor?

Dan said...

You could probably apply exactly the same framework you've always applied - lexis, semantics, syntax, morphology, graphology and now orthography - to older texts. So, you might say something like, the spelling of "quereunto" is an example of orthographical variation. Or you could talk about how the orthography might be inconsistent within a text (i.e. some words spelled in different ways in the same text) because it was from a period during which standardisation hadn't really settled into all areas of the language.

Dan said...

and tenor is usually defined (by me at least) as the tone in which the audience is addressed, so it could be something like a friendly tenor, a distanced tenor, an authoritative tenor etc. That's how i treat it anyway.