Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Language discourses

The excellent MacMillan Dictionary blog has a great post on it about the role of dictionaries in debates about language change. For any A2 students starting to look at ENGA3 Language Discourses it's a must read, so have a look here. And in the article Michael Rundell makes reference to a recent classic: Jean Aitchison's Reith Lecture on language change, which you can find here.


Language student said...

Thanks for the blog post and links - really helpful.
I'm a private candidate studying A2 English Language and whilst I am ok with Language Change and Variation, I struggle a bit with Language Discourses as I don't know exactly what debates I should be looking at.
Just wondered if you could give some advice. Should I be looking at wider debates or should they be very specific?
I have looked for guidance on the main debates to cover but have not found much...:/ Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Dan said...

Hi, glad it's useful.

The discourses are linked to ENGA3 topics of change and variation. The specification has this to say:

For Section B Language Discourses candidates should study discourses about:
• international, regional and social accents and dialects
• language change
• gender and interaction
• political correctness.
Candidates should study a range of popular texts aimed at a non-linguistic audience which discuss language topics and issues. They should be able to analyse how the writers use language to convey
their ideas about language.

Candidates will need to evaluate both the ideas and how they are presented.

In the past, I've tended to cover things like attitudes to PC and imposed language change, attitudes to new words/textspeak/technological language change, attitudes to accents and dialects, arguments about male/female conversational differences. World Englishes could well turn up too, so there might be arguments about whether we should have a World English or local variations.

I did a couple of articles for emagazine last year on different discourses and the opposing sides to them, so if you can get your hands on issues 48 and 49 they might help. Try the EMC link on the main page if you haven't got access through a centre - tricky if you're a private candidate!

Language student said...

Thanks for your response. :)