Wednesday, June 18, 2008

ENA5 and ENA6

With ENA5 out of the way, it's just ENA6 to go, so good luck for tomorrow.

There are plenty of tips on this blog for how to approach this paper, but remember that reading carefully, annotating well and thinking about the specific demands of each question are the keys to success.

Don't spend too long on parts 1a and 1b: you should be able to get 10 marks for these in about 10 minutes maximum, leaving you about 50 minutes to analyse and evaluate the text for 1c. Remember that you;'re not just feature spotting (although that is part of your job), but you're supposed to be evaluating how the writer of the text represents the issue he or she is talking about. In the texts we've looked at in class (the ones that haven't been past paper questions), think about how the rabidly anti-PC David Gelernter constructed his attack on the feminist "language rapists" as he termed them, or how Michael McCarthy in his "I'm Happy to Boldly Get it Wrong" argued against prescriptive views in grammar and language change. The title of the paper is Language Debates and you will get more marks if you write like you're contributing to , and care about, the debate.

With part 2a, selecting your relevant sources is important: use a range of texts from the paper (and your own ideas and other study) and don't rely too much on the one you've just analysed for 1c. If you feel confident, tie this debate into that of other language topics. PC and Language Change are closely linked. Accents and dialects are changing too - they could be linked into Language Change. It's a synoptic paper, so look for links with other areas. But, be careful not to confuse your reader. You will be writing for a non-specialist audience, so take care to explain technical ideas and don't assume they will know who particular linguists are.

As for my top tips for which topic it might be, I suspect (based on previous papers and topics, not any inside information obviously) it will be either Political Correctness/ Language and Representation or something about Accent and Dialect. For the latter, I'd say look at ideas like dialect levelling and the ways in which new varieties of English have grown - MEYD, Estuary English etc. I got it right last year (attitudes to Language Change) but hopelessly wrong the year before (the speech of chipmunks and cheerleaders) so don't bet everything you have on my predictions.

Good luck.

6 comments:

Student From Leicestershire said...

Oh.My.Gosh. This blog is INCREDIBLE! I was searching for last-minute tips on writing "letters to the editor" this morning... but I certainly didn't expect to uncover this goldmine blog tucked away in the google search results! I've spent all day in front of my computer, looking through your posts. I suspect my brain's probably expanded with all the great hints and tips I've read. The students at your college are sooo lucky to have these resources, and such tirelessly helpful teachers! The English department at my college don't post any online resources (although I will loyally say that they are amazing teachers, and it's true). Thanks so much for giving me a huge boost of confidence for the exam tomorrow... I feel brilliantly prepared now! :-)

Dan said...

Well thank you for your kind words and good luck tomorrow!

Lisa said...

Omdz sir you don't understand how nervous I am about question 2a on tomorrow's paper! In our mock before study leave, I didn't do that well on this question and it was only a radio script. I hope they don't ask for something like an instruction guide or web article :-(
Thanks for all your help sir, especially this year and with this blogspot. It's been really helpful.

Dan said...

Hi Lisa, don't panic - you will do well, I know it!

Just try to think about how to make the topic accessible for a non-specialist audience: it's always broadly the same audience regardless of the form you're asked to write in.

Explain difficult ideas as clearly as possible, try to engage in the language debate and try to engage your reader/listener.

Piece of cake... :-)

Anonymous said...

Wow you must be an increidble teacher to go to such effort for your students. My teacher is awful she didnt even give us a mock exam!
ENA5 tommorow although im nervous about ENA6 next week!
Thanks for all your great links on your blog.

Dan said...

You're very kind, but tragically i'm just a language nerd and not all lessons are as exciting as this blog might suggest!

Good luck with the exams