Learning
English Language

Why Study English Language?

The study of English Language enables students to further develop and refine their own skills in reading, writing, listening to and speaking English. Students learn about personal and public discourses in workplaces, fields of study, trades or social groups.

In this study students read widely to develop their analytical skills and understanding of linguistics. Students are expected to study a range of texts, including publications and public commentary about language in print and multimodal form. Students also observe and discuss contemporary language in use, as well as consider a range of historical and contemporary written and spoken texts.

Structure

The study is made up of four units.

Unit 1: Language and communication

Unit 2: Language change

Unit 3: Language variation and social purpose

Unit 4: Language variation and identity

 

Unit 1: Language and communication

In this unit, students consider the way language is organised and explore the various functions of language and the nature of language as an elaborate system of signs. The relationship between speech and writing as the dominant modes of language and the impact of situational and cultural contexts on language choices are also considered. Students investigate children’s ability to acquire language, and the stages of language acquisition across a range of subsystems.

Area of Study 1

The nature and functions of language

Outcome 1

On completion of this unit the student should be able to identify and describe primary aspects of the nature and functions of human language.

Area of Study 2

Language acquisition

Outcome 2

On completion of this unit the student should be able to describe what children learn when they acquire language and discuss a range of perspectives on how language is acquired.


Unit 2: Language change

In this unit, students consider factors contributing to change over time in the English language and factors contributing to the spread of English. They explore texts from the past and from the present, considering how all subsystems of the language system are affected.

Students also explore. They consider how the global spread of English has led to a diversification of the language and to English now being used by more people as an additional or a foreign language than as a first language. Students consider the cultural repercussions of the spread of English and the various possibilities for the future of English.

Area of Study 1

English across time

Outcome 1

On completion of this unit the student should be able to describe language change as represented in a range of texts and analyse a range of attitudes to language change.

Area of Study 2

Englishes in contact

Outcome 2

On completion of this unit the student should be able to describe and explain the effects of the global spread of English in terms of both conformity and diversity, through a range of spoken and written texts.


Unit 3: Language variation and social purpose
(Units 3 and 4 will not be offered until 2017)

In this unit students investigate English language in contemporary Australian social settings, along a continuum of informal and formal registers.

Students examine the stylistic features of formal and informal language in both spoken and written modes. Students learn how to describe the interrelationship between words, sentences and text as a means of exploring how texts construct message and meaning.

Students consider how texts are influenced by the situational and cultural contexts in which they occur. They learn how language can be indicative of relationships, power structures and purpose through the choice of a particular variety of language, and through the ways in which language varieties are used in processes of inclusion and exclusion.

Area of Study 1

Informal language

Outcome 1

On completion of this unit the student should be able to identify and analyse distinctive features of informal language in written and spoken texts.

Area of Study 2

Formal language

Outcome 2

On completion of this unit the student should be able to identify and analyse distinctive features of formal language in written and spoken texts.


Unit 4: Language variation and identity

In this unit students focus on the role of language in establishing and challenging different identities. Students examine both print and digital texts to consider the ways different identities are constructed.

Students explore how our sense of identity evolves in response to situations and experiences and is influenced by how we see ourselves and how others see us. Through our language we express ourselves as individuals and signal our membership of particular groups. Students explore how language can distinguish between ‘us’ and ‘them’, creating solidarity and reinforcing social distance.

Area of Study 1

Language variation in Australian society

Outcome 1

On completion of this unit the student should be able to investigate and analyse varieties of Australian English and attitudes towards them.

Area of Study 2

Individual and group identities

Outcome 2

On completion of this unit the student should be able to analyse how people’s choice of language reflects and constructs their identities.


Assessment

Satisfactory completion

The award of satisfactory completion for a unit is based on a decision that the student has demonstrated achievement of the set of outcomes specified for the unit. This decision will be based on the teacher’s assessment of the student’s performance on assessment tasks designated for the unit.

Levels of Achievement

Units 1 and 2

Emmaus College students complete graded Assessment Tasks and Semester Examinations as part of the Assessment process for Units 1 and 2. 

Units 3 and 4

The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority will supervise the assessment of all students undertaking Units 3 and 4.

Percentage contributions to the study score in VCE English Language are as follows:

Unit 3 School-assessed Coursework 25%
Unit 4 School-assessed Coursework 25%
End-of-year examination 50%