AS Module 2
Of the three AS modules, one is coursework. This will assess your abilities in Using Language for a variety of purposes and audiences. The module is worth 30% of the AS.
A 'Using Language' coursework folder consists of four written pieces:
These pieces have equal mark weighting
- Language Analysis - a detailed analysis of a text - 1000 words.
- Language Production 1 - a piece of original writing which is linked in some way to (i.e. has the same topic/ purpose/ audience/ form etc. as) the Language Analysis text.
- Language Production 2 - a piece of original writing which is entirely open in nature - 1000-1500 words production in total (i.e. both production pieces together).
- Commentary - explaining and evaluating your production pieces - 1000 words.
The Language Analysis piece tests your ability to explain and interpret texts and their features. You will need to show your awareness of:
To do this, you will need to consider and define:
- Influences on the text that add up to its context (writer/speaker and his/her 'background'; implied audience and their 'background' and needs; purpose; mode; situation of use; topic or subject matter; representation in the text - issues of ideology and bias).
- Patterns of language use within the text that are specifically intended to meet the needs of the context (using the 'toolkit' of language frameworks you have).
- Effects of and reasons for the language use (how the audience would be affected by/respond to the text and techniques used within it; an evaluation of the text and its success).
Help with Analysis
To ensure you 'show off' as much as possible in your analytical work, you should try to do the following:
- use the board's Analytical Sentence following the pattern of identify, describe, explain, interpret
- discuss a variety of linguistic features
- use as much technical language as you possibly can
- remain 100% language-focused
You should by now (with a little revision, perhaps...) be able to spot, describe and discuss the linguistic items/features listed below.
Both production pieces are assessing your ability to craft language to achieve a defined set of aims. In the first piece, you will be required to show that you can select from and use source material; the second may draw on sources, or be written using only your own knowledge and imagination.
Your pieces should be as 'real' as possible - i.e. we should be able to believe that they could be found/published in the real world. Clear thoughts on, and specification of, the aims of the piece will help you to achieve this. You should consider and explore extra-textual features as listed below.
Help with Production
To ensure a successful piece of production, you need to match the language you use to the needs and requirements of the audience and purpose of the piece.
- you may be able to do this at least partially by intuition
- BUT you do need to think about it: you can use your analytical knowledge to help you. For instance, since you know a text aimed at pre-school children will need to use simple lexis and grammar, you could select simple lexemes (common, monosyllabic) and simple sentences (short, with lots of co-ordinating conjunctions). See?
- Achieving a match is the surest way to set yourself on the road to success; failure to do so the surest route to the road of ruin!
To give you some ideas for the 'open' piece, here are some that the board have given as examples:
- an instruction manual 'for dummies' for a software package
- a speech given at a meeting debating whether a football club should be taken over by a broadcaster
- a scripted guide available on tape in a museum
- a feature article for The Guardian on asbestos in council buildings
- a dramatic monologue in the style of Alan Bennett
- a fanzine article on a football match
- a section of a history textbook for years 7 and 8 on WWI
Your commentary should be a cross between an analysis and an explanation of your production pieces. Some people find the thought of writing a commentary on their own writing a daunting one. But fear not - it need not (and indeed should not) be so. All it takes to produce a successful commentary is the right approach.
The Right Approach
The purpose of the commentary is to explain exactly what was going through your head as you wrote your coursework. Every little bit of it. You should explain your own work in much the same way as you would analyse someone else's. For each piece, aim to show 'how it works'.
This means the person marking your coursework will:
So. You should try to explain:
Some Good Advice
- Use the best, most formal English you can - set out to impress.
- Be concise. You have 1000 words to illuminate two texts.
- Be clear. Say what you mean, and mean what you say - no-one should be left in any doubt whatsoever as to what you mean.
As W.S.Gilbert wrote, "You must stir it and stump it and blow your own trumpet, or trust me, you haven't a chance!"
Go out of your way to sell your work, your ideas and your talents. There are no marks for modesty or reticence - only obvious and explicit achievement.
- Exactly what your piece is trying to achieve
- Why you chose to do this
- How everything you have written contributes towards achieving your aims
- How successful you think you have been.
- appreciate all the clever things you've done
- see what vast amounts of linguistic knowledge you possess
- see the work in the way you want it to be seen