A Level English Language: Summer Work for Incoming Year 13

Studying A Level Language in Year 13 next year? Here’s your summer transition work:

1. Make sure you have a copy of the AQA English Language Student Book.

We will be making regular use the textbook in class next year, and you will be expected to bring it with you to every lesson.

It’s available on Amazon here, or you can buy it from the library and save a few pounds.

You should make detailed notes on how the A Level is assessed next year.

Here are some questions to help guide you:

  • What are the Assessment Objectives for the course?
  • How many exams are there?
  • What’s covered in each exam?
  • What do you have to complete for the coursework element?

2. Create a language timeline.

Using the video below, we’d like you to create a language timeline.

You can find an exemplar timeline below that will give you an idea of what we’re after.

Timeline

3. Watch this Intelligence Squared debate and make notes on the arguments presented by both sides. At the end of the debate, decide whether you’d vote for or against the motion, and explain your decision in 200-300 words in a comment on this post.

 

4. Listen to Stephen Fry’s interview of Deborah Cameron below, and make detailed notes on what they both say.

 

When you’ve done that, write a 300-400 word response to the following question:

Do men and women communicate differently?

________________________________________________________

And that’s that!

You need to bring all of your work, completed, to your first lesson back after the break.

If you’ve any questions over the summer, email Mr Shovlin: s.shovlin@lc.leics.sch.uk.

Enjoy the holiday!

 

70 comments

  1. Holly Bailey x

    Prior to watching the debate, I did not think that the English language was “going to the dogs” and it’s safe to say that even after watching it, I still stand by my opinion. The speakers who were in favour of the motion both made fair points but they didn’t actually provide any solid proof that the world is somewhat going to go into some sort of meltdown if we don’t follow a certain set of rules for language. So, for that reason, their argument is pointless and did not change my perspective on the situation in the slightest. However, I was very impressed by Oliver Kamm and agreed with a lot of the things he was saying to support his argument. Personally, I think that the way in which language has developed throughout history has made it so much more diverse and the human race has yet to offer many more opportunities for it to be added to and improved upon in the future. I especially agree with Kamm’s point about changes in language creating a freer and more tolerant nation and society. I don’t think that ambiguity is a bad thing to have when it comes to the English language and even though the “sticklers” may not tolerate it, communication can thrive and still fully function without people having to completely understand the conventions of Standard English through and through. There are endless possibilities as to what may happen next in the world of the English language, so let’s support that change and make the world a better place.

    #TrumpYouListeningBabe

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  2. James ward

    After watching the debate, I mainly stand against the notion that our language is “going to the dogs”. Although i respect the views of the people who are for the motion. I view language as multi-functional in the respect that whilst the primary purpose is communication, its role in personal expression cannot be ignored. The so-called language ‘rules’ act restricts the way we use language and limits how we use it. Language should be used creatively and change should be encouraged, not condemned. While some older members of society may dislike the use of slang by the younger generation, change is natural in language so it’s better to embrace the change instead of resenting it. However, I do realise the importance of Standard English when it comes to formal settings such as job interviews in order to represent yourself as educated. Without enforcing some of these rules I understand that important pieces of writing such as CV’s and Applications may not be very coherent and clear and may have elements of ambiguity. But,is it always nesseracy to be always formal? Shouldn’t language be open to interpretation and encourage debate? However, the debate also highlighted to me that many of these ‘rules’ are nothing more than complete nonsense. For example, Oliver Kamm referred to the ‘split infinitives’ which are irrelevant in todays world but are still debated and argued. Overall, I believe that while it is important to maintain rules on how we use our langauge, if the context allows, creativity should be embraced. After all, I believe that we should control our own language and how we speak. not the other way around.

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  3. Victoria Hawkins

    Before watching the debate I was torn on which side I would be on. On one side, language does seem to be more basic and seemingly lack intelligence yet to oppose this surely change is natural; everything else changes surely language should too. Whilst watching the debate I was swaying side to side however the comments that drew my attention was at the end made by Beard about latin changing and “exceptions”. Language is evolving that’s why it is so hard to study, there is not one set of right or wrong. Kane made a point about different registers for different situations and I feel that is a key part of the argument. People do not talk the same all the time, instead they adapt to different people. Which is what I felt the in favour side were missing. Of course the key part of language is to communicate which the for side repeated it language is multi-functional, that is not its only purpose, what about self expression and creativity are there not also functions of language. Another thing that they failed to provide was factual evidence that there is a decline, instead personally opinions, which I admit can sway people, yet this is not solid evidence to base their assumptions on.
    So in conclusion I am against the motion and instead language is just evolving.

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  4. Ben Field

    After watching the debate, I do not think that the English language is “going to the dogs”. Both sides made great points but i believe language should have different roles for personal use and that the English Language is multi-functional. The English Language should be used creatively, even though older generations condemn the idea of slang, it represents that the English language is evolving and should be encouraged. There are things which need to be considered when using different language types. For example, in a formal setting where you need to compose your language in order to come across as educated and clever. whilst talking to your parents and family members, you might talk differently in a more calm and civil manner. There are situations however where you can be informal, for example, with friends you can use taboo and slang terminology. The changes in language for today’s younger generation is adapting and changing all the time, but our language has adapted over centuries. Each generation has/had a form of slang which was looked down upon by the generation before them. Yes we have to speak a certain way in a certain situation, but the English language is evolving and will constantly evolve.

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  5. Caitlin Meredith

    Caitlin Meredith Candidate Number 2356
    Centre Number 25274

    Prior to watching the debate, I didn’t validate the idea that the English language was “going down the dogs” as the way in which a person communicates, whether it contains slang terms and abbreviations’ that don’t necessarily make sense or in the ‘traditional’ way, didn’t affect my ability to withhold a conversation therefore I found myself conflicting with the idea that maybe the English language was deteriorating as generations evolve. However, upon watching the debate and respecting both sides of the admiral argument- in my opinion the theory that language is dying isn’t foreseeable but instead is being influenced by individuals influences in expanding the language to make it a more adaptable to learn and without having a language growth the way in which we as a society communicate with one another. Although many of those supporting the motion share valid points outlining why things could be interpreted in a negative way; John Humphreys proposed that in order to grasp the capability of understanding the English language, the ‘rules or grammar’ need to be used consistently however people who are not using the rules properly are still able to form some kind of respectable conversation therefore a clear question of relevance can be heard. These rules of proper grammar have been enforced to many from birth and have been respected and acknowledged to those who use English are their primary or secondary language, even though evolutionary influences like social media formats like Facebook have dominated generations of young to old exposing new ways to pronunciation, spell and write traditional and modern language; which could indicate a decreasing language but the fact that indicates of these metaphorical ‘rules’ do have greater influence in the way everyone in the diverse popularity we live in correspond. Despite certain new technological and cultural creating conflict about the way we communicate; in my opinion individuality and creativity defect any opposing argument suggesting that the English language is going to the “dogs” as factors are benefitting the development of our community as it breaks stereotypes and promotes acceptance.

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  6. Chelsea Hulcoop

    Before watching the debate I was unsure as to whether I had agreed with the motion or not. Once I had watched it and taken both sides in consideration I don’t believe that our language is “going to the dogs”. Humphries and Heffer do make some relevant and important points but Kamm and Beard had made a lot more convincing and encouraging points to prove that our language is changing over time but this is because new generations are coming in and new languages will also continue to come a long. These words can develop in a way that an individual or group choose to do so .This creativity can show a lot more about people and who they’re, which I believe should be allowed. We do have certain rules and structures for our language and grammar but still, this will change as well which Kamm and Beard had helped us to understand that’s its alright for these rules to be broken as it allows for our language to develop. Because of this, younger generations will use completely different language to what older generations would have used as we tend to use a lot more slang. This proves even more that our language has developed dramatically in society and will continue to do so.

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  7. Tom Clift

    I would strongly refute suggestions that our English Language is metaphorically ‘going to the dogs’, and believe that this school of thought arises simply from an older generation who fear change. Language has evolved enormously in recent years, especially due to rapid developments involving technology and the ways in which we’re now able to communicate, thus meaning that we have new influences on the ways that we speak. This is not necessarily a new ‘issue’, although I doubt that several hundred years ago academics were over-analysing the effect that new Norman was having on the Anglo-Saxon language. However because we are now in a period where the divide between the older and younger generation, in terms of language use, is possibly at it’s highest in recent history, this is becoming scrutinized and put into the public eye more extensively. In my opinion, language should be allowed to naturally flourish without the interference of scholars who seem to believe that they’re qualified to dictate how others are meant to speak.

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  8. Imogen Rudge

    Whilst I agree with some of the points raised by Humphrys and Heffer, I do not believe that the rules of grammar are conventions of its usage and should dictate over each utterance spoken in the English language regardless of context. Stylistic preference is often confused with grammar; according to Pinker ‘language is an instinct’, and within this instinct children learn perhaps the most important conventions, such as the addition of an ‘s’ to pluralise words, and yet do not seemingly have this instinct for issues such as split infinitives, that some believe to be necessary. Although they have no concept of ‘rules’ such as this, they are still able to communicate, and we are able to understand, negating the statement from Heffer that grammatical misuse has stopped communication.
    However, I do agree with Humphrys when he states that controlling language can indeed control what we think, and that we need this tool to perhaps succeed more in life, for example in the gaining of higher level qualifications and job applications, due to the prejudice placed upon how we communicate. This brings forwards a point made by a member of the audience, that we should first learn grammatical rules as a key part of the English language, and then after this, we can decide for ourselves when and how to apply them if necessary – context plays a major role and we should be equipped to deal with situations that require a certain usage, such as a job application. As Beard correctly states, ‘language is ours, it doesn’t own us, we own it’, therefore we have the freedom to change and break these ‘rules’.

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  9. George Dax

    Whilst the English language requires grammar to maintain accuracy when (for example) applying for a job, I agree with the second speaker that we should have a basic understanding of the conventions of English language.

    Creativity should be paramount in communication and writing as it is only that which makes language such a powerful tool. The ability for a writer to be able to paint an image for the reader, using simply language, is a skill that should not be lost by a militaristic regime such as the teaching of language in France. The ambiguity of the English language allows poets, writers and playwrights to leave their work open to the interpretation of the public, shaping different meanings within a single sentence.

    The language is alive and growing, evolving and changing, much like society. We wouldn’t attempt to enforce order on the diversity of a country, so why should we treat the diverse nature of language with hostility? New words that allow younger generations to communicate with speed and individuality should be celebrated not shunned. It represents creativity and a desire to innovate and change societal norms, which have continually changed in the past and should continue to do so.

    In response to the statement ‘the English language is going to the dogs’ I believe that the language is in fact hurtling it’s way in the other direction.

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  10. Charlie McGowan

    I agree with the first speaker that everyone needs to grasp a basic understanding of how grammar works to be able to communicate with others. However I do not believe that the English Language is ‘going to the dogs’. This is because I do not believe that people have to speak using perfect grammar all of the time. This would be boring, I think it is refreshing to see the English Language constantly evolving as old words are being recycled for new words. These new words make the language exciting. It also interests me how that certain words are invented in specific regions by scousers or Geordies, so the language that you hear may differ depending on where you are. Although I believe that we should not have to talk using correct grammar all of the time including when we are with our friends and peers I still understand that we need to be able to use correct grammar in certain situations. This includes during interviews, your C.V or personal statement because you want to show the person who is reading these documents that you are able to use correct grammar because this helps to make you appear as being intelligent. However, I do not believe that we should try to manually manipulate the English Language, I think that it should be left to carry on evolving naturally.

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  11. Jashan Purewa;

    Whilst the English language requires grammar to maintain accuracy when for example applying for a job, I agree with the second speaker that we should have a basic understanding of the conventions of English language.
    Creativity should be paramount in communication and writing as it is only that which makes language such a powerful tool. The ability for a writer to be able to paint an image for the reader, using simply language, is a skill that should not be lost by a militaristic regime such as the teaching of language in France. Kane made a point about different registers for different situations and I feel that is a key part of the argument. People do not talk the same all the time, instead they adapt to different people. Which is what I felt the in favour side were missing. Of course the key part of language is to communicate which the for side repeated it language is multi-functional, that is not its only purpose, what about self-expression and creativity are there not also functions of language.
    The language is alive and growing, evolving and changing, much like society. We wouldn’t attempt to enforce order on the diversity of a country, so why should we treat the diverse nature of language with hostility? New words that allow younger generations to communicate with speed and individuality should be celebrated not shunned. It represents creativity and a desire to innovate and change societal norms, which have continually changed in the past and should continue to do so. One thing that they failed to provide was factual evidence that there is a decline, instead personally opinions, which I admit can sway people, yet this is not solid evidence to base their assumptions on. So in conclusion I am against the motion and instead language is just evolving.

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  12. Sam Pardoe

    After watching the debate, I believe that our English language is not ‘going to the dogs’ however I do believe that are language is forever changing and evolving with the new introduction of different styles of social media including the ever-growing use of social-media. Whilst the views of the favouring side have valid points, we cannot ignore the fact that the language is in a constant change and so when new terms and phrases are introduced by the younger generation, the older generation are, of course, going to believe that that these new words are changing the language for the worse, and I would imagine this has been present for hundreds of years as a recurring pattern as the youths often want to deviate from their parents. Many of these changes in language will be due to the age gap between the older and younger generation and the use of social media. Many young people nowadays often want to ‘rebel’ against their parents to show their individuality and so by changing the language used within socialising in person and online, it allows them to differ from their parents by creating new terms that will not be understood by the parents, therefore giving them a sense of freedom. I can also imagine that if you asked the grandparent generation about the language used by their children, they would have very similar opinions to now. Finally, as Mary Beard states ‘the English language is ours, it doesn’t own us, we own it’; this means that we can change, alter and adapt our language however we please.

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  13. Bella

    After i watched this debate it has led me to believe that the English language isn’t ‘going to the dogs’; I do believe, however, that the english language is constantly changing and it evolves when society evolves. For example, with the use of social media in the present a lot more initilaism is used and even coinage with Joey Essex’s famous ‘reem’. It is the influence of the media impacting the English language, not changing it but expanding it. Their are valid ideas on both sides of this debate but we cannot ignore the fact that the language is in a constant change and so when new terms and phrases are introduced by the younger generation, the older generation are most likely to believe that that these new words are changing the language in a negative way. There has been a great acceptance of originality in the present days which could suggest that the younger generation are also being original with the english language to show that they can be different and original. Through generations and generations language has and will always change and that should be accepted because it will not stop anytime soon and whilst we possibly should use the correct forms of the english language, i personally think that would become highly boring and the younger generation would not be able to show originality. As Mary Beard states ‘the English language is ours, it doesn’t own us, we own it’; this particular quote shows that we can alter and adapt our language however we would like to and it should be accepted.

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  14. Becky Gmerek

    In my opinion i completely disagree as we speak completely differently to the way we would of years back. this is obviously not an issue yet there are many sources which can represent a change in our language. Our language has evolved enormously over the recent decade due to developments in technology and a change in societies choice of communication such as texting, calling, emailing etc… these new ways of communicating will obviously affect our language and possibly change the ways in which we communicate yet it doesn’t mean it is a negative thing. With most things in modern day society, we encourage individuality and with this we aspire for the young society to be ‘different’. Such as the way we talk and communicate using the english language. The same way no two people have the same hand writing, we don’t speak the same either. This is not a negative thing.

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  15. Ellena Holdridge

    I have watched the debate and noted down each key point to help me conclude that I am against the motion. English is ever-changing as both parties addressed however I believe the changes are for the better. In this world a lot of people don’t come from standard English speaking backgrounds and I would like to think we are trying to accept all sorts of different people now. I truly believe it is wonderful to hear different accents and slang dialects as it makes up a huge part of who we are. John Humphrys highlights the lack of ambiguity see in the BBC for example ‘A suicide bomber struck again’ as well as emphasising the way euphemisms are dulling down the severity of acts. I do agree with what he says in that language must be used correctly to create ‘clear meanings’. Whereas Simon Heffers seemed to present more rules with language. A lot of the ‘rules of grammar’ he created where later dismissed by the other panellists. For example Oliver Kamm persisted the ‘conventions of usage’ should take priority over the rules of grammar and later describes one of Heffers grammar rules as ‘rubbish’. Kamm suggested that some rules where made up to ‘create prejudice’ rather than to help understand the text. Mary beard believed the rules where there to be broken and that we should embrace the changes in English and relish in words ever-changing meanings. Both sides make valid points especially when Humphrys talks about a columnist who wrote a column without punctuation which was difficult to understand. I agree punctuation is needed in order to create grammatically correct sentences and to allow easier communication of ideas. I also believe language should be free and new words will always be and always have been created by young people, but this doesn’t mean English language is going to the dogs. Overall I believe context is key to what language is acceptable and when we have mastered context we can master communication.

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  16. Olivia Wilson

    When I watched the debate, in my opinion I think that the English language isn’t ‘going to the dogs’. From watching the debate I saw that both sides did have good points, but I do think that the English Language is evolving to different styles through things such as the media and that language can be used for personal use. Nowadays the English language has almost been adapted in a ‘creative’ way for example making up new words or creating slang. However this new creativity isn’t accepted by everyone as older generations aren’t keen on the ‘new’ language and almost don’t understand it. The most likely reason that the older generation aren’t taking to the change is because English language has always been the same for many years and all of a sudden words are being changed or created and the older generation don’t want this to be added to their vocabulary. The gap in the use of ‘new’ language is caused by age gaps, for example the older generation don’t use the internet as much as the younger generation and that’s where most of the ‘new’ language comes from . Even though language is always evolving, there is still a sense of what language is appropriate in different situations. Such as formal language at school or work, and informal language in front of friends. People may also use their language to express themselves, for example people may adapt their language to rebel as they know their language is different to others. Social groups may have new words in their language as part of their dialect and to be more connected as a group. People may change their language to fit in with their surroundings and the people they are with so they don’t stand out. Either way the English Language will always continue to evolve even if not everyone likes it.

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  17. mrshovlin

    Prior to watching the debate I was confused due to the fact that I can understand both sides of the argument. Language has become more simplistic and does contain more slang however; language has become more unique and has evolved alongside us. Although both sides made good points regarding the subject of ‘is language going to the dogs’ I swayed towards no being the answer whilst watching. Language has obviously changed as new words have developed and old words have progressed or have stopped being used by the majority of the population. The for argument that stood out to me and made me decide to fully support the against side was when John Humphreys suggested that in order to understand the English Language the ‘rules of grammar’ needed to be used consistently, however there are people who don’t know, understand, or just disregard the rules who can involve themselves in conversations in some kind of way. The ‘rules of grammar’ are not the only thing that is needed when using the English language. Sticking to these rules constantly doesn’t allow a lot of change within the language which clearly isn’t the case. The English language is constantly evolving with each generation and certain slang terms are either being created or returning from a previous generation, the English language has never stopped evolving and it never will. So how can you claim that it is ‘going to the dogs’ when the English language they are referring to is probably different to the original?

    Aimee Walton

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  18. Taylor Shilcock

    Despite me understanding the views of Jon Humphreys and Simon Heffer, I have to disagree with them. Although the primary purpose of language is obviously for communication, I believe its alternative purposes should not be ignored. It’s my personal opinion that language is multi-functional and this should be utilised. For example, self-expression is another key purpose of language due to it giving people a voice to express their beliefs and opinions freely. Even though it is clear language has various rules for various different circumstances are suitable and required, I believe the rules to be constraints. Furthermore, creativity within the use of language should be encouraged and rewarded rather than rejected. For example, the older generation are constantly speaking ill of the younger generation, my generation, for incorporating slang into circumstances they do not approve of- which considering how racist and sexist the older generation is, is a bit rich! However, I, like many of my peers, do understand when to cut the slang out and can recognise the importance of using Standard English in formal situations such as job interviews to represent myself as an educated individual worthy of the job. In conclusion, I believe that the rules are important and should be maintained, but if the context allows for it, creativity should be encouraged.

    As you were TS x

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  19. Dan Charles

    Prior to watching the debate, I was initially unsure of what side I would take. However, after watching the debate and considering the points raised by both sides, I stand against the notion, despite agreeing with points mentioned supporting the notion. I disagree with statement that the English language is “going to the dogs”, a thought I believe derives from older generations’ fear of considerable change in the English language. Due to advancement in technology and, subsequently, changes in the way in which we communicate, the English language has developed many new words and phrases that previously did not exist. Social media, for example, has allowed people and languages from all around the world to have an influence on each other, changing the way we speak. With the arrival of new technology, new slang and abbreviations have also been created over time as a way to make communicating easier and quicker. I believe that this is one of the main reasons that older generations may believe the English language is deteriorating, as it is something they are – in most cases – not familiar with and do not understand, creating a divide between generations; which I personally believe to be the biggest it has ever been at this current moment in time. I believe that language should be allowed to flourish and develop naturally without interference, but also that children should be taught the conversions of standard English to be used in formal situations, such as an interview or meeting, so that their chances of success are maximised and they are educated. I believe that changes need to be accepted and the English language can adapt in order for as many people as possible to understand and communicate at different levels at formality. I do not think that this is a new issue, but is a bigger deal than it ever previously has been, but as time goes on and generations are raised in a world with social media and technology at their fingertips, this will not be as much of a problem.

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  20. Jasmine Saadat

    Both arguments are very valid in that the English Language has declined but it has also inclined in that their are more words and more meanings with both grammar and vocabulary. The English Language has evolved dramatically to include a wider range of people with different educational backgrounds as well as other factors that play into their language. I wouldn’t refer to the language as ‘going to the dogs’ but I sympathise that it has declined in some aspects. Many people have come up with new phrases and terms to refer to a bigger concept, this results in a slight disadvantage in that some terms no longer sound formal or educational, but instead they sound more ‘dumb’ or illiterate. The ‘rules of grammar’ don’t allow much language evolution in that they are ground rules and have no room to change. Many new phrases that some may view as ‘going to the dogs’ have been made up to make life easier or to adapt to the technology advancement recently. Therefore, language has to change to evolve to the recent periods and it isn’t necessarily ‘going to the dogs’ in that it is just becoming more convenient to the time period.

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