Year 11 English Language Units 1 and 2
Unit 1: Lanaguage Communication
In Unit 1 Area Study 1 The Nature and Functions of Language you will understand the properties of language in both written, spoken and sign form. You will be acquainted with the subsystems of language which are: phonetics and phonology, morphology and lexicology, syntax, discourse and semantics.
In Unit 1 Area Study 2 you will focus on the developmental stages of language acquisition and what children need to learn as they develop from babyhood to early adolescence. You will explore different theories of how language is acquired. Is language part of our human nature or is it a process of learning and the result of nurture?
UNIT 2: Language Change
In Unit 2 Area Study 1 English Across Time, you will be introduced to the idea of language families, in particular the Indo-European language family, of which English is a member. You will examine the origins of English as a Germanic language and trace its development from Old through to Early Modern English. The general concept of standardisation and the notion of ‘correct English’ are examined, emphasising that standard languages do not arise because of any inherent quality, but more as geographical and historical accidents.
In Unit 2 Area Study 2 Englishes in Contact you will learn about both the development and decline of languages as a result of English contact. You will explore factors that contributed to the spread of English in the past, such as trade and colonisation, and factors that continue to contribute to the spread of English today. Students consider the consequences of the growth of English as an additional or a foreign language, including the development of English-based pidgins, creoles and other varieties, and its effect on indigenous languages around the world.
Who is it for?
VCE English Language Units 1 and 2 is one of the English subjects you can undertake in order to qualify for a VCE certificate. English Language is considered a more difficult English subject than standard English, however it is an incredibly rewarding subject. It is recommended that you complete English Language Units 1 and 2 prior to enrolling in the Unit 3 and 4 subject at Year 12. 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
- 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 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 Investigative Report and an English Language essay.
Students will learn the process of reading widely and keep up and English Language Journal.
Kate Burridge & Debbie de Laps, Love the lingo: VCE English language, Units 1 and 2 (2nd edition) Boobook Education, 2015
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 you can select in order be eligible for a VCE certificate.
Things you can do now
You could start a language journal. Look at trends in new words, look at ways in which the media and social media use language. Save the articles and make notes on them.
You could purchase and read ‘Word Spy’ a fun little linguistic book by Ursula Dubosarsky, published by Puffin, 2011. This is not required, but it is very fun introduction into aspects of linguistics.