English Language Unit 3 and 4
In this unit you will investigate English language in contemporary Australian settings. You will consider language as a means of interaction, exploring how through written and spoken texts we communicate information, ideas, attitudes, prejudices and ideological stances.
You will examine the features of formal and informal language in both spoken and written language modes and learn how to describe the interrelationship between words, sentences and text and explore how texts present message and meaning.
As you continue through the course you will come to see how language can be indicative of relationships, power structures and purpose. You will see how choices are always influenced by the function, register and tenor, and the situational and cultural contexts in which they occur. You will learn that the situational elements of a language exchange, such as the field, language mode, setting and text type, influence language choice, as do the values, attitudes and beliefs held by participants and the wider community.
In this unit you will focus on the role of language in establishing and challenging different identities.
There are many varieties of English used in contemporary Australian society, influenced by the intersection of geographical, cultural and social factors. Standard Australian English is the variety that is granted prestige in contemporary Australian society and, as such, has a central role in the complex construct of a national identity. However, the use of language varieties can play important roles in constructing users’ social and cultural identities. You will identify and examine a range of texts in exploring the ways different identities are imposed, negotiated and conveyed.
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. You will explore how language can distinguish between ‘in’ and ‘out’ groups both creating solidarity and reinforcing social distance.
Who is it for?
VCE English Language Units 3 and 4 is one of the English subjects you can undertake in order to qualify for a VCE certificate. It is highly recommended that you have completed English Language Unit 1 and 2 to prepare you for this course, however, it is not a strict pre-requisite.
English Language is considered a more difficult English subject than standard English, however it is an incredibly rewarding subject. Students particularly adept in English may choose English Language alongside other VCE English subjects. Check the VCE requirements around English subjects prior to choosing your program.
This subject is for students who want to understand the ‘science’ of language. This subject will equip students with tools to dissect language and so many different aspects of language that most find utterly fascinating. What are the linguistic cues that hide behind a casual conversation? Learning English Language, or linguistics, really does open up the world in very new and exciting ways.
Knowledge of how language functions provides a useful basis for further study or employment in numerous fields such as arts, sciences, law, politics, trades and education. The study supports language-related fields such as psychology, the study of other languages, speech and reading therapy, journalism and philosophy. It also supports study and employment in other communication-related fields, including designing information and communications technology solutions or programs.
What do you do?
- Analytical Commentaries; where you subject a piece of text to analysis using the metalanguage of the subsystems
- analysis of transcripts using linguistic concepts
- investigative Reports
- english Language Essays
- creating transcripts of written and spoken texts
- language Journal exercises
- grammatical exercises and application of grammatical knowledge.
What skills do you need?
- A basis of linguistic knowledge and the subsystems
- a curiosity about language and the way it works
- the ability and patience to memorise a lot of linguistic terms
- the ability and patience to complete quite a bit of background in grammar to equip you to dissect text like a linguist
- you will need to be able to read a range of media texts independently to search for sources for your language journal
- if you are returning to education or have had an interrupted study experience, you will be supported to acquire the study habits needed to be successful in this subject.
What skills do you develop?
Students will learn to read and evaluate written and spoken texts using their knowledge of the requirements of an Analytical Commentary.
Students will develop a deep knowledge of the five subsystems of linguistics and be able to apply this knowledge to an analysis of written and spoken texts.
Students will acquire the ability to understand words in terms of their sound, shape, history and cultural significance.
Students will learn how to write an English Language essay.
Students will learn the process of reading widely and keep up and English Language Journal.
Students will learn to process the language in their every day world as a sociolinguist.
Text Book: K. Fox’s, English Language for Senior Students: A guide to Metalanguage (Insight Publications)
Things to think about
This will help you to strengthen all aspects of your language skills and let you understand how to analyse written and spoken texts like a linguist.
You will be required to keep a language journal. This means you should take notice and record, in your language journal, items from social media, the news, and other sources that relate to language and society.
Look at the other English courses available at VSV and consider whether you are best suited to the rigours of English Language, which is known to be more challenging than standard English. If you are not sure, speak to a year level coordinator at VSV.
English Language Units 1 to 4 is one of the English subjects you can select in order be eligible for a VCE certificate.
Things you can do now
You could start a language journal. Look at ways in which the media and social media use language. Save the articles and make notes on them.
Start collecting news items where politicians, celebrities and other public figures have caused a stir with their language choices.
Be on the lookout for new words or phrases that come into fashion. Why have they appeared? What do they reflect about our culture?
Tune in to the world of language around you. How do people use language to express their identity? How do you, and others use language flexibly and differently in different contexts?
Pay attention to advertisements, particularly ones that promote ideas or stereotypes about Australian identity.
Consider the way you use emojis, text talk, game speak and other graphemes in social media/gaming/online world etc. How do these new forms of language create and reflect new ideas or identities?
Watch Australian shows that examine and parody the dynamics of language and power such as Utopia and Gruen on ABC iview.
The internet is full of parodies of Australian culture: for example ‘Aussie Man Explains’ on YouTube, Australian stand-up comedians such as Carl Barron, Jimmy Rees, Kitty Flanagan, Hannah Gadsby and Julia Morris.
Things to have a look at
Look at the Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year website:
Read ‘Because Internet’ by Australian linguist Lauren Gawne: