While I'm doing posts about Section B of Paper 2, I'd better mention the kinds of texts that appear here and that you have to analyse and respond to. They're often (but not always) articles from newspapers and online sources, but can also be book extracts or something like, as was the case of the 2019 paper, an article from an accent tutoring website. I've summarised a few of the others below:
- An extract from an online piece equating political correctness with ‘thought control’ and a blog post complaining about ‘Orwellian’ language reform.
- A feature article from the Mail Online focusing on young women’s speech and a feature article from The Guardian complaining that young women won’t be taken seriously unless they change the way they speak.
- An extract from The Telegraph reporting on the use of emojis in writing making people appear ‘incompetent’ and an extract from an online student newspaper complaining about emojis ‘destroying’ the language.
- An extract from a 2002 Independent article about English as a world language and an introduction to a book from 2017 complaining about American English.
What you'll probably see from these texts is that many of them come from a position of criticising or complaining about an aspect of language change or diversity, often with a prescriptive slant to them, and that they are often open to linguistically-informed criticism and challenge. Not all of them are totally unreasonable rants; in fact some of them are carefully assembled to foreground opposing and contrasting views. The 2022 paper even had a text that included a 'head to head' style article as one of its texts, where two opposing language commentators argued their cases.
Bear in mind too, that you're being assessed using 3 AOs in Question 3, so you'll need to be approaching these texts from a few different angles, such as:
- what aspects of language the texts are focusing on
- what arguments and views about language are being presented to the readers and what we might be supposed to make of that
- how these views about language might fit into the bigger picture of language discourses we see in debates about language out there in the world all the time
- how the text producers are using language to represent the issues
- how the text producers represent themselves and try to convince the reader of their views
- how the texts might be connected: how are they handling the theme, approaching it similarly/differently etc?
- James Innes-Smith of The Critic website complains about Angela Rayner's language, with a focus on standard English and class.
- The Mail Online's Julie Henry lays into university academics who now claim "there is no such thing as correct language". This one is less an opinion piece and more like a new story with a clear line of attack. You might also find the comments worth exploring as mini-examples of language discourses in action. This is one we talked about on Lexis episode 23 in the Lang in the News segment.
- Michael Deacon in The Daily Telegraph: an article about accent prejudice and social class. We discussed this here on Lexis in the Lang in the News segment if you want some pointers. If the Telegraph one is paywalled for you, here is the press reader version.