Here's last June's post about Language Discourses. Since then, we've had two more ENGA3 papers.
- June 2011: A problem page response by Virginia Ironside to a worry about class and accents, and an advertisement for an “accent reduction” company.
- Jan 2012: Newspaper articles about Political Correctness.
World English/es. This hasn’t cropped up yet and could appear as it’s on the spec. What could be asked about this? Well, there have been quite big debates around the world about the role of Standard English and whether we should be imposing World English (one variety) or showing awareness and understanding of different varieties (World Englishes) and how English changes thanks to local language and culture. There are also several interesting historical angles about why English has spread and whether this will continue in the same way. A particular variety might be looked at – American English, Australian English etc. – so be prepared to discuss specifics too. World Englishes have cropped up in Section A - a South African newspaper, some Jamaican-influenced English and a Hinglish text - but not in Section B.
Gender and variation. This has appeared once, but only in a January paper (where the number of students sitting the paper is very small). The big debates recently have focused on those who argue men and women are hard-wired to use language in certain ways and those, like the mighty Deborah Cameron, who argue that gender is just one factor among many many others. We've covered this topic in detail on this blog, so try some of these links for help:
Changing varieties of English. There’s been quite a lot of discussion about how regional accents are thriving and local accents dying out, as well as new ones (like MLE/MEYD/”Jafaican”) emerging, and whether this is a good or a bad thing. Dialect Levelling might be an interesting one too, because there have been many articles about the supposed death of cockney and the rise of regional super-dialects.