Wednesday, June 17, 2009

ENA6 - good luck

There's been nearly 1000 views of this blog today (not that I check...ahem), so I hope it's been of some use to you if you're revising for ENA6.

It's probably worth saying that even though I teach the unit and mark it, I have as much idea as you about what will turn up on tomorrow's paper (honestly!), so even though I've suggested various topics, if they don't come up don't get stressed: just make sure you read the material properly, annotate it sensibly and know exactly what's required on each part of the paper.

Here's what i put on the blog this time last year about what to do...

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!


Jessica said...

Hi Sir,

I was just wondering what will possibly come up as the 1)a question if its on representation & what specifically should i focus on while revising Language Representation!


Jessica said...

also sir what does MEYD stand for again?


Rita Ellouise said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Defi said...

MEYD = "Multi-ethnic youth dialect" or Jafraican or London lingo.

Anonymous said...

I would like to thank you, Dan, for this blog. It's been a great help to my revision over the past 2-3 weeks, I just have one last question. For question 1a how many linguistic features should we give for each example? I was thinking 3as 3 examples is roughly equal to a 3 sentence answer. What do you think?


Deffiance said...

I would write as many sentences as it takes to fulfil the three features. I just wouldn't spend any longer than 10 minutes because it's really easy to get marks on it.
Three sentences is my plan too :)

Dan said...

Hi, glad it's been useful to you.

The question is only asking for 3 features so just write a sentence for each.

e.g. The child has used an overgeneralisation when she says "I felled over"

Anonymous said...

Thank you for all of the articles you've posted and help you've given Dan!

Defi said...

Can I just say, best wishes to Dan and thank you very much to him and his dedicated website. The future of education truly does lie in the hands of those who know how to type articles in the nick of time! This blog has helped me buckets, and whatever grade I get I will happily accredit some to you (unless it's something you don't want!)
Viva la blog!

Nidal said...

Damn...I was doing so weel then I nearly passed out and had to go outside for 25 mins...when I got back I didn't have enough time to read all the sources and annotate and plan so I just rushed an answer...thought this would be an easy A :(

Dan said...

Thanks for all the nice things you've said and the contributions and comments different people have made to the posts here.

Good luck with your results and (I mean this in the nicest way possible) I hope you get the grade you deserve!

Dan said...

@Nidal i'm sorry to hear you had a bad one - hope it turns out ok.

Any reflections on the paper itself? What did people think?

Dave from Gloucester said...

I felt the exam went well. A few students in our class read 2a wrong and wrote the article with the employees as the target audience instead what the question asked (you were supposed to use the employer as the target audience).

I am a bit stressed over 2b though, I think I critically analysed my own essay too strongly, I commented on things I forgot to do rather than what I did well. Though, as with 1a, all features were linked back to linguistics.

Not as confident as ENA 5, but I feel I wrote sufficient analysis and evaluation.

Again, thanks, Dan. This blog is tremendous! They should hand out awards (I've read you like Haribo?) for this kind of work!

Dan said...

Mmmmm Haribo.... sorry, i was lost in a happy place for a moment there.

2b is only a 5-marker, so if you said what you did, labelled and explained the effect, you'll be ok. Lots of people don't even get to 2b so the fact that you've answered it fully is a bonus!

Employer/employee audience might be an issue, but i'm sure that'll only be part of the bigger picture in the marking of 2a: use of sources, style, written accuracy, engagement with the debate will all be big things too.

Dave from Gloucester said...

Yes, of course, I linked language change in with the language variation debate and gave examples of prescriptivism, descriptivism, Sapir Whorf theories, David Crystal analogies etc. Was this on the right 'track', if you like?

As I said, nervous!