Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Exam Board Guidance on English language work

Summary of the AQA Exam Board Guidance on language work for A level (16-18 years). 

For AS and A level, learners can analyse texts by exploring four functions of language:

  • the expressive function – how a text represents its writer or producer and conveys their attitudes and values

  • the experiential function – how a text represents people, institutions and events

  • the relational function – how a text creates an ideal audience position, creating a power relation between producer and audience, and shaping the audience’s response

  • the textual function – how texts create coherence and cohesion

Linguistic Frameworks


alliteration, assonance, rhythm, rhyme

the forms and functions of non-verbal aspects of speech


denotational and connotational meaning, figurative language, structural semantics (semantic fields,
synonyms, antonyms, hypernyms, hyponyms), jargon, levels of formality


nouns: proper/common; singular/plural; concrete/abstract

adjectives: comparative/superlative; attributive/predicative

adverbs: manner, place, direction, time, duration, frequency, degree, sentence

verbs: infinitive; mood (imperative/interrogative/declarative/exclamative);

main/auxiliary/modal auxiliaries; present and past participles; person; tense; voice; aspect (progressive/perfective),

pronouns: personal (person, number and function); interrogative; demonstrative


determiners: definite/indefinite articles; demonstrative adjectives; numerals

conjunctions: co-ordinating, sub-ordinating

sentence functions: statement, command, question, exclamations

sentence types: minor, simple, compound, complex, compound-complex

clause types: main, sub-ordinate , co-ordinate

clause elements: subject, verb, object, complement, adverbials


text structures

cohesion (lexical, grammatical and graphological)

the forms and functions of graphological features  of texts

discourse features of texts (eg speaker switches and the management of turn-taking; the nature and purpose of feedback)

Language Development

For this topic candidates should study how children go through the initial phases of language acquisition and how they develop writing skills.

Candidates should study:

  • the functions of children’s language

  • the development of phonological and pragmatic competence, lexis, grammar and semantics

  • the relationship between children’s spoken and written language

  • the development of the conventions of writing and multimodal texts

  • theories about language development: imitation, innateness, cognition, input, socio-cultural, genre theory

Useful References

Helpful ideas about ways of approaching textual study, the use of re-writing and textual interventions, and how ideas about language are generated can be found in:

Fairclough, N. (1989) Language and Power,

Pope, R. (1995) Textual Intervention, London: Routledge.

Crowley, T (1989) The Politics of Discourse: The Standard Language Question in British Cultural Debates, London: Macmillan.

Dr Ian McCormick is the author of The Art of Connection: the Social Life of Sentences
(Quibble Academic, 2013)

No comments:

Post a Comment