Topic outline

  • Preparing for A-Level English Language

    Welcome to A Level English Language at L6FC

    An introduction to A Level English Language with Kerry Logan

    Quick Links

    Email Kerry Logan(

    Email Ann McGovern (

    Follow us on Instagram (opens in a new window)(@l6fc_engdept)

    Follow us on Twitter (opens in new window)(@SixthLanguage)

    Awarding Body: AQA

    Visit AQA website for information on A-Level English (opens in new window)

    If you have any questions about the course or anything to do with college life, please email

  • Becoming a Student of English Language

    1. Becoming a Student of Language
    What does an A Level in English Language involve and what does it mean to be a great student of English Language?
    This activity will help you find out what’s involved in the A Level and beyond and the ways of learning that will help you succeed in your exams and non-exam work, but more importantly than all that: how to enjoy and get the most out of the course. You might be in for a surprise or two along the way…

    • Use the table in the Word document below to get a sense of what might be involved in the A Level English Language course. Tick the things that sound like you might find them interesting and then tick any that you have already studied or learned about at some point in your education (whether at Primary, Secondary or just out of your own interest).

    • Select three of these areas for language study that you most want to study in greater depth. Write a paragraph or two explaining what you already know (either through study or general knowledge), and a paragraph explaining what you would like to know more about and why.

  • Activity 1: Forensics Linguistics: Language Fingerprints

    As you learn more about language use, you’ll start to see that everybody has their own unique language style. Lots of things influence this – where we’re from, how old we are, the type of work we do and our interests, our family backgrounds and our own individual personalities – but we all have what’s called an idiolect (an individual language style). It’s not quite the same as a fingerprint, but there are some similarities. And while detectives can use fingerprints to track down individuals, forensic linguists can also use this idea of individual language style to identify people, or aspects of a person’s background. This activity puts you in the role of a language detective trying to solve a crime. The police need your help to work out who might have sent an abusive social media message from an anonymous account to a local politician. They have three suspects in custody and your job is to offer a view on which one you think is most likely to have sent the message, based on possible language clues.

     • Read Exhibit 1, the abusive message that the police are investigating. Is there anything that stands out in this message as being potentially interesting about how language is being used? • Social media messages about the same issue which were used to identify three suspects. Read through these in turn, again making a note of anything that strikes you as interesting about how language is being used.

    • Based on this small amount of data, have you got any suggestions about who might have sent the abusive message? Write a short police report explaining your thoughts. Try to pin your thinking down to specific bits of language evidence in the data.

     • You can check your ideas against our suggestions in the file  below -  "Answers and Links to Further Study”. This is a very simplified version of the kind of analysis forensic linguists sometimes do.


  • Activity 2: Accents

    3. Which Accents?

    Everyone has an accent. You might not think you do, but it’s a linguistic fact. Accents are normally associated with particular regions and places but can also be linked to a person’s social class – how ‘posh’ they sound, for example.

    In this taster activity, you will access to the 10 audio clips below ( Here you will find 10 examples of different people from around the British Isles reading the same bit of text.

    • Listen to all 10 of them and use the map on the next page to mark where you think each speaker might be from.

    • Write a quick comment (maybe just a few words) about each accent and how it sounds to you.

    • Check the map (Map: answers) to see if you were right about where the speakers were from.

    • Now use the text of the extract and listen to three of the recordings (of your choice) again. Write down the numbers of the accent clips you have chosen in the relevant spaces. As you listen, use a highlighter to note the sounds that you notice as being different to how you might pronounce them.

    • Think about the sounds that you have highlighted for each recording and see if you can notice any patterns in them. Make notes on your map, perhaps you will notice that some accents with particular sounds are close to others and the accent can be explained because of migration; others you might need to think a bit harder about and look into the history of the area!