A level english literature or langauge?

(41 Posts)
waikikamookau Sun 14-Jul-13 18:26:32

dd can't decide.
she had a taster session for English language, and enjoyed it,

is it a good a level?

is it new, I only know of English literature a level,

she likes poetry, btw and has only recently got interested in reading books so perhaps literature is not such a good choice?

CorrieDale Sun 14-Jul-13 18:33:04

The language a level has been around for ages - I fancied doing it myself, 25 year ago. The teacher talked me out if it but i still think it might gave been fun. Literature is the harder and more highly regarded option.

waikikamookau Sun 14-Jul-13 18:35:34

yes, I like the thought of language myself.
thanks anyway.

Leeds2 Sun 14-Jul-13 19:36:18

Literature is perceived to be the "better" option, I think. May be important if she wanted to study at a RG university, for example.

If she wanted to study linguistics at uni though, I would've thought language would be a better choice.

Should add that at DD's recent A Level Options Evening, the Head of English told her that she was a strong candidate, therefore should only consider doing literature. Fwiw.

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Sun 14-Jul-13 19:41:17

I did English Language at A level. The literature course studied Chaucer. We did Bronte. I would have learned both but I wasn't allowed. sad Sorry, this doesn't help. I am a writer now though so I suppose the A level helped. confused

PeriPathetic Sun 14-Jul-13 19:48:03

I did both lit and Lang A levels in about 1993 as a mature student. I loved both, but by far the most interesting was Language. I was under the impression it was a fairly new option, but I guess I was wrong.
It's a lot more academic than the Lit, need to really know all the grammar rules etc. I studied all the different types of English from Pidgin to Creole. And a whole heap more besides!

wordfactory Sun 14-Jul-13 19:49:26

Literature is considered the more rigorous.

eatyourveg Sun 14-Jul-13 19:50:39

It is possible to do a joint lang/lit A level. Check that if she opts for uni, that the course she wants, accepts language. I'd go for literature or the joint lang/lit if she is undecided on a particular course

englishteacher78 Mon 15-Jul-13 06:46:44

I studied both separately and at my last school taught the joint. The joint is really not enjoyable - bad combination.
Literature is the more rigorous. You would not need Language at A Level to study Linguistics at university. AQA are introducing a Creative Writing A Level in September which looks like an interesting additional study.

chestnut100 Mon 15-Jul-13 07:00:28

I did literature and loved it. I think it's such a brilliant course and will set her up well for whatever future choices she makes. I went on to study law. I found that the skills I developed via my literature, such as structuring a well balanced essay, critical thinking, and being able to pick key points out of a text made higher level studies really quite straightforward.

Frenchvanilla Mon 15-Jul-13 07:05:01

I did both.

The literature is the more artsy one. Language is more social sciencey- literally a study of the English language ie linguistics. It'll be very different to anything she's studied in English before.

Can't she do both? There was no content overlap in mine.

Caitycat Mon 15-Jul-13 07:08:38

The idea that lit is more rigorous is outdated and rather snobby! Lang is interesting and complex but more related to linguistics than English as a university study. If she wants to do English at university I would advise doing lit as it is better preparation for this course (although there is nothing wrong with doing both). Otherwise she should choose whichever she finds more interesting I have not encountered any university that does not value Lang as a "proper" academic subject and that includes Oxford, Cambridge and the other Russell group ones!

englishteacher78 Mon 15-Jul-13 07:16:27

You may consider it snobby but it certainly feels less rigorous to me. Also, you need English Lit to do a Lit degree Lang is not necessary. It is not, I believe an 'enabling' A Level. That said, if we are discussing the choice for fourth subject then I'd always go for the subject you'd enjoy most/get the best grade in.

WaitingForMe Mon 15-Jul-13 07:22:56

I did English Language in 1999 and went to an RG university to study social sciences. It was a brilliant foundation and really enjoyable.

Caitycat Mon 15-Jul-13 07:27:53

I'm sorry Englishteacher I didn't mean to be rude to you and I agree (as I said in my post) that it is necessary for the further study of lit at uni but it is an "enabling" subject and is highly regarded by every university I have encountered (and I have encountered many many universities!) as long as you aren't trying to use it as the basis for studying English.

englishteacher78 Mon 15-Jul-13 07:35:50

My other worry with Lang and Lang/lit is the students see it as an easy option (they speak it after all). This can often lead to difficult class dynamics. My own English Language A Level was a strange group (I switched after a term and a half after realising I really didn't care enough about plants to do Biology any more). My Lit class was a much better experience. My own school only does Lit, it is definitely still preferred to Lang if given the choice. BUT an A* in Lang would obviously be better than a B in Lit

celticclan Mon 15-Jul-13 08:21:47

I studied joint English language/Literature at A level and I hated it with a passion. I had loved English at GCSE level and was considering it at degree level but A level well and truly put me off. I had enjoyed the practical and creative writing aspects of English at GCSE however there was hardly any of that at A level, it was very theoretical and as dull as dishwater. I enjoyed the literature side more even though that wasn't a strong area for me.

cavell Mon 15-Jul-13 10:34:08

English Literature is more highly regarded and is a facilitating subject for RG universities:

"In our list of facilitating subjects, English refers to English Literature. However, individual universities will have their own admissions policies, and entrance requirements will vary by courses within institutions. In general, English Literature or a combined English Language and Literature course is required at advanced level for entry to study English at university. A few universities will also accept English Language without a Literature qualification."


Frenchvanilla Mon 15-Jul-13 18:27:31

Yes, obviously, you need literature a level to study English lit at uni.

Same as you need English language a level to study english language at uni.

Obvious, surely.

They're both as prestigious as each other.

Frenchvanilla Mon 15-Jul-13 18:28:23

"English" at uni level tends to refer to literature, though.

englishteacher78 Mon 15-Jul-13 18:31:27

You don't need English Language at A level to study it at Uni though. You need essay based subjects.

Helpyourself Mon 15-Jul-13 18:31:33

Sorry French, that's plain wrong.
What other A Levels is she thinking of OP?

lainiekazan Tue 16-Jul-13 13:38:06

That's an interesting point about English Language possibly attracting less able students, englishteacher78. Is the A Level easier than Literature?

The joint LangLit A Level is the WJwotsit board: does this mean this A Level is poorly regarded by top universities? I have spoken to one teacher who said that this board has less academically rigorous courses and universities are aware of this.

englishteacher78 Tue 16-Jul-13 17:14:32

The joint is not particularly good in my opinion - it really doesn't know what it's meant to be. I found Language to be a MUCH easier A Level than the Literature but that might just be me.

JedwardScissorhands Tue 16-Jul-13 17:19:06

When I went to uni (late 90s), language wasn't accepted by some RG Unis.

Oblomov Tue 16-Jul-13 17:22:47

This is fascinating. I did both Lit and Lang.
It is totaly interesting how things have changed and how they are now perceived.

LizzieVereker Tue 16-Jul-13 17:36:49

I've taught both and worked as an Examiner for both at A Level. Both are very engaging, Literature is still perceived as more rigorous by Unis, especially the RG. IMO the wider reading required to gain a top grade in Literature does make it more challenging. Lang tends to attract less able students at the bottom end IYSWIM.

However, I think Lang can be challenging and really fascinating if it's taught well. Lang is more like linguistics, and has elements of psychology and sociology to it. Standards within the subject are rising, as teachers and students are better prepared for it now that there is a spoken language unit at GCSE. I think it's a really solid option, but will not give access to a good Lit degree course - yet.

waikikamookau Tue 16-Jul-13 17:37:06

hi thanks.
she is thinking of Art, Histology, Psychology, (art being her main love)
and has decided against sociology in favour of English. and, we think, probably language

waikikamookau Tue 16-Jul-13 17:37:44

oops history

Rummikub Tue 16-Jul-13 17:41:35

What does she want to do? Uni? What degree?

waikikamookau Tue 16-Jul-13 18:08:17

she doesn't know her final plan,
just embarking on A levels,
loves art.
but who knows.

Rummikub Tue 16-Jul-13 18:16:57

It probably doesn't really matter which one she opts for then. Pick the one she enjoys and is likely to get a high grade in.

Art, history, psychology and either Lang or lit is a good combination.

A level English Lang is quite different to GCSE English Lang.

Will they allow your dd to sit both classes, time tabling dependant, for a couple of weeks before finally deciding?

waikikamookau Tue 16-Jul-13 18:19:07

thanks rummikib
I spose there is no harm in asking.

Rummikub Tue 16-Jul-13 18:20:36

It's always worth asking. Is it a school 6th form or FE college?

LaTrucha Tue 16-Jul-13 18:26:10

I was asked to teach the joint one (WJEC) and I thought that a lot of the language side was plain wrong and very confusing. I asked DH who has further degrees in linguistics and he said it was indeed wrong so I am very wary of it.

englishteacher78 Tue 16-Jul-13 20:29:33

If she wants to do psychology I would really recommend Lit rather than Lang so she does 3 'approved' A Levels.

nagynolonger Wed 24-Jul-13 04:45:24

All my older DC did maths and sciences at A level. The youngest has decided to do maths, physics, chemistry and english language in year 12.
DH thinks it's a strange combination. He wants him to do the extra science but I think DS should do what he wants. Is it a bad choice with maths and science subjects? The only other subject he has considered for his forth AS is french if he gets A*/A at gcse.

nagynolonger Wed 24-Jul-13 04:49:11

Sorry fourth.

EatYourCrusts Wed 24-Jul-13 05:11:06

Nagy - probably better to start your own thread in future because though you have brought this one back to life, lots of people will just read the OP, and reply to them.
I think your son should do the English if that is what he wants to do. You don't need all sciences for many courses at uni', in fact some admissions tutors will like to see that he can use a different part of his brain.

OP, I thought language was less well received, but I did both and find them both interesting, back in the day.

englishteacher78 Wed 24-Jul-13 06:19:58

Nagy - as long as he Maths and Chemistry he can get on any science course. Doing a contrasting A. Level as a fourth is actually what the current AS system was set up to encourage. But then I'll always encourage people to do English grin

nagynolonger Wed 24-Jul-13 09:05:35

Thanks for the replies! Maybe I should have started a new thread but I was awake early and just passing the time reading some older posts. DH always struggles with the 'arts'. In his day pupils chose arts or science in the sixth form and there was never any mixing the two.

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