English Language Coursework


4.3 Language in action

The aim of this area of study is to allow students to explore and analyse language data

independently and develop and reflect upon their own writing expertise.

It requires students to carry out two different kinds of individual research:

• a language investigation (2,000 words excluding data)

• a piece of original writing and commentary (750 words each).

Students can choose to pursue a study of spoken, written or multimodal data, or a mixture of text

types, demonstrating knowledge in areas of individual interest.

In preparation for this, students need to study how to:

• identify an appropriate investigation topic and research questions

• select and apply a methodology for data collection and analysis

• work in greater depth and with greater range

• transcribe spoken data where appropriate

• use language concepts and ideas

• evaluate and draw conclusions on the findings of the investigation

• present findings in an appropriate and accessible way

• reference reading materials correctly

• evaluate the structures and conventions of a variety of genres

• plan, draft and redraft as part of the writing process

• reflect on the writing process using methods of language analysis.

4.3.1 Language Investigation

Students may choose to pursue an area of individual interest. For example, this might include

studies of:

• representations of different individuals, social groups or nationalities

• regional dialect

• gendered talk

• the language of new communication technologies

• children’s language use

• norms and variations in usages of different kinds

• the language of the media

• code switching and mixing between English and other languages

• the language of different occupations or pastimes

• historical changes in English over time.

Students are not obliged to restrict themselves to those areas that are formally taught, as the basis

of the investigation is the value of student-led enquiry supported by open learning. Therefore, any

area seen by supervising teachers as yielding interesting questions about language in use may be

chosen. Students can ask a number of fruitful questions, which can be generated by questions

such as the following:

1. A genre-based investigation: what are the distinctive features of this type of language use?

2. A function/use-based investigation: what is the language used to do?

3. An attitudes-based investigation: how do people feel about this language?

4. A user-based investigation: who uses this type of language?

Students will need to decide what kind of data they collect:

• spoken language


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