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  Year 11 English Language Course  
     
  Units 1 & 2 Course Overview  
     
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Metalanguage for Unit 1 & Unit 2

Each of the English Language units requires students to understand linguistic concepts and use metalanguage appropriately to describe and analyse language in an objective and a systematic way. Metalanguage underpins the key knowledge and key skills and provides students with the means to discuss elements of linguistic study. Students are required to understand and use the metalanguage contained in the unit and area of study introductions, the key knowledge and skills, and the following lists.

The subsystems of language
The subsystems of language are the essential organising tools with which students become familiar: phonetics and phonology (the study of the sounds of language); morphology and lexicology (the study of the structure or forms of words); syntax (the study of how words are combined into sentences); semantics (the study of meaning in language); and discourse (the study of how written and spoken texts of two or more sentences are organised).

In Units 1 and 2, students use metalanguage associated with the following five subsystems:

Phonetics and phonology
• the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)
• speech sound production: voicing, place of articulation and manner of articulation
• sounds in connected speech and connected speech processes: assimilation, vowel reduction, elision, insertion
• prosodic features: pitch, stress, volume, tempo and intonation.

Morphology and lexicology
• word  classes: nouns, verbs, auxiliary verbs, modal verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, pronouns, conjunctions, determiners, interjections
• function words and content words
• affixation: prefix, suffix, infix
• inflection and derivation
• root, bound and free morphemes
• word loss; word-formation processes: blends, acronyms, initialisms, shortenings, compounding, contractions, collocations, neologisms, borrowing, commonisation, archaism
• morphological over-generalisation.

Syntax
• phrases, clauses and sentences
• sentence structures: sentence fragments; simple, compound, complex and compound-complex sentences;
ellipses; and coordination and subordination
• sentence types and their communicative function in texts: declarative, imperative, interrogative, exclamative
• basic functions in clause structure: subject, object, complement, adverbial.

Discourse
• code-switching (the practice of alternating between two or more languages or dialects in conversation)
• paralinguistic features used in spoken texts: facial expressions, body gestures, body language, eye gaze.

Semantics
• the relation of meaning and sign
• semantic fields/domain
• semantic over-generalisation and inference
• etymology
• broadening, narrowing, elevation, deterioration, shift, denotation and changing connotation.

Other metalanguage
The following terms  are not confined to one particular subsystem of language:
• function, field, mode,  setting,  context,  relationships between participants
• register
• critical period of language development
• theories of child language acquisition including behaviourism, innatism, interactionism
• first- and additional-language acquisition, bilingualism, multi-lingualism
• Indo-European language family
• standardisation and codification
• prescriptivism and descriptivism
• Lingua franca
• linguistic relativism and determinism
• pidgins and creoles
• language maintenance, shift and reclamation.

UNIT 1: The Nature and Functions of Language

In this area of study students explore the nature of language and the various functions language performs in a range of contexts. They consider the properties that distinguish human communication as unique, the differences between modes of spoken and written language, and the relationship between meaning and the rules that govern language use. Students are introduced to the theory that language is a system of signs and conventions and that while the relationship between words and meanings may be arbitrary, our use of language is rule-governed and informed by accepted systems, such  as word order and affixation.

Meaning can be conveyed through a range of modes: speech, writing and sign. Languages allow for communication through actions, whether it be producing speech sounds and graphic symbols such as letters, or giving non-verbal signals through systems such as sign language. Each mode can combine with other modes for the purposes of communication. Students also consider the role of paralinguistic features in conveying meaning.

Students learn that language  choices  are always influenced by the situational and  cultural contexts in which they occur and are based on the conventional understandings and traditions that shape and reflect our view of the world. They come to understand that language is never a neutral and transparent means of representing reality, and that it can encode social and cultural understandings.

Students learn that the situational elements of a language  exchange, such as the function, field, mode,  setting and relationships  between participants, influence language  choice.  Cultural factors,  such  as the values, attitudes and beliefs held by participants and the wider community, also affect people’s linguistic choices.

Key Knowledge
  • the properties that distinguish human communication as unique

  • language as a meaning-making system that can be both arbitrary and rule-governed

  • the primary modes of language: spoken, written, sign

  • major functions that language serves when used in a given context

  • the influence of context  on language  choice

  • features that characterise speech and writing

  • the structure of language, from morphemes to lexemes, to phrases and clauses, to sentence structures and types

  • the ways in which language encodes social and cultural understandings

  • metalanguage to discuss aspects of the nature and functions of human language.
Key Skills
  • define key linguistic concepts as they relate to the nature and functions of language;

  • use key concepts and metalanguage appropriately to describe and analyse language use in an objective and systematic way;

  • compare written texts with transcripts of spoken English and analyse the nature and functions of each.


Outcome 1

On completion of this unit the student should be able to identify and describe primary aspects of the nature and functions of human language.

Formative Assessment
Completion of all coursework tasks is essential to meeting the Outcome achievement. These include specific tasks related to:
• oral and written responses
• folio of annotated texts
• analysis of written and spoken texts
• short answer questions
• short analytical responses
• research and investigation tasks

Summative Assessment—SAC 1
Ability to identify and describe primary aspects of the nature and functions of human language as demonstrated through analysing texts with short answer questions. 

 

UNIT 1: Language Acquisition

This area of study focuses on the developmental stages of child language acquisition. Students explore how in addition to words and their meanings, children learn to use the phonological and grammatical conventions of the language, as well as the appropriate use of these conventions in different social situations. As children acquire language, they can be seen to change their language system gradually in response to the language use of others. At different stages, children’s language develops across a range of subsystems allowing for increasingly complex communication and a greater range of functions.

Students are introduced to different theories that attempt to explain how children acquire language and research the so-called ‘critical period’, the window of opportunity during which language must be acquired. Students examine case studies that show what can happen when a child is deprived of the opportunity to learn a language.

Students also examine the similarities and differences between first- and additional-language acquisition. They consider differences in the language acquisition process in children who are brought up bilingual with those who learn additional languages as they grow up.

Key Knowledge
  • the nature and the developmental stages of child language acquisition

  • the major theories of child language acquisition

  • commonalities and differences between learning a language as a young child and as an adult, including first- and additional-language learning

  • bilingualism and multi-lingualism

  • phonological, morphological, lexical, syntactic and semantic development in children

  • metalanguage to discuss how language is acquired.

Key Skills
  • define key linguistic concepts as they relate to the acquisition of language

  • use key concepts and metalanguage appropriately to describe and analyse language use in an objective and a systematic way

  • investigate what children need to acquire as they develop as users of spoken language from babyhood to early adolescence, including how they acquire language knowledge and how they learn to use language for a range of functions

  • read a phonetic transcription of English, using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).
Outcome 2

On completion of this unit the student should be able to describe what children learn when they acquire language and discuss a range of perspectives on how language is acquired.

Formative Assessment
Completion of all coursework tasks is essential to meeting the Outcome achievement. These include specific tasks related to:
• oral and written responses
• folio of annotated texts
• analysis of written and spoken texts
• short answer questions
• short analytical responses
• research and investigation tasks

Summative Assessment—SAC 2
Ability to analyse a range of perspectives on how language is acquired demonstrated through a sustained written commentary on an unseen oral transcript.

UNIT 2: English Across Time

This area of study examines the changes that have occurred in English over time. Students investigate the factors that bring about language change, including those that come from within the language itself, from social transformation, and from contact with other languages. They explore language change across all subsystems, as represented in texts that traverse the history of English.

Students examine the origins of English as a member of the Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family, tracing its development from Old through to Early Modern English and to the establishment of a standard language in the eighteenth century. Students explore the development of Australian English as a distinct national variety, the impact of technological advancement and the possibilities for the future of English.

Students examine the general concept of standardisation and the notion of 'correct English'. While some language changes are denounced by the wider community, with linguistic change often viewed as indicative of declining standards, others occur without widespread acknowledgement. The role of prescriptivist attitudes in establishing and maintaining standard language is considered in this unit, as are descriptivist approaches to language change.

Students develop an understanding that languages will continue to change to meet the needs and reflect the values of their users. They apply their awareness of Australia's linguistic heritage to consideration of possibilities for the future of English.

Key Knowledge

  • the historical development of English from Old English to present-day Australian English and factors influencing language change

  • the relationship of English to the Indo-European languages

  • the codification and the making of Standard English, focusing on the origins of the English spelling system

  • changes in phonetics and phonology, in particular types of sound changes and symmetry of change

  • changes in semantics, morphology and syntax

  • changes in the lexicon through word addition and word loss, with particular reference to words in Australian English

  • attitudes to changes in language including prescriptivism and descriptivism

  • metalanguage to discuss language change.

Key Skills
  • define key linguistic concepts as they relate to the changing nature of English

  • use key concepts and metalanguage appropriately to describe and analyse language change in an objective and a systematic way

  • trace etymologies in appropriate sources, such as databases and etymological dictionaries

  • analyse changes in the English language over time as reflected in texts

  • apply knowledge of the evolution of English to hypothesise possibilities for the future of English.



Outcome 1

On completion of this unit the student should be able to describe language change as represented in a range of texts and analyse a range of attitudes to language change.

Formative Assessment
Completion of all coursework tasks is essential to meeting the Outcome achievement. These include specific tasks related to:
• oral and written responses
• folio of annotated texts
• analysis of written and spoken texts
• short answer questions
• short analytical responses
• research and investigation tasks

Summative Assessment—SAC 1
Ability to examine language change as represented in a range of texts and analyse a range of attitudes to language change demonstrated in a written analysis.  

UNIT 2: Englishes in Contact

In this area of study students consider the effects of the global spread of English by learning about both the development and decline of languages as a result of English contact, the elevation of English as a global lingua franca and the cultural consequences of language contact. Students explore the ways English is used as an expression of culture in a range of literary, transactional and popular-culture texts.

Students 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. Students become familiar with the distinctive features of a number of national, ethnic and regional varieties of English and explore the ways that these varieties show the effects of intensive contact with other languages. They examine the ways that multilingual speakers use code-switching to mark identity and as a means of inclusion or exclusion. Students explore how change to a language effects its users’ cultural identities and world views, as evidenced by the indigenous and migrant language reclamation and maintenance movements in contemporary Australian society. Students build on their knowledge that language encodes social and cultural understandings by exploring the concepts of linguistic relativism and determinism.

Key Knowledge
  • factors in the development of English as a world language

  • distinctive features of national and regional varieties of English

  • distinctive features of pidgins, creoles and English as a lingua franca

  • the role of language as an expression of culture and world view, including representations of world view in texts

  • the concepts of linguistic relativism and determinism

  • the processes of language maintenance, shift, and reclamation

  • cultural and social changes in language use, including everyday use, with particular reference to Australian Aboriginal languages

  • metalanguage to discuss the global spread of English.
Key Skills
  • define key linguistic concepts as they relate to the development of English as a world language

  • use key concepts and metalanguage appropriately to identify, describe and analyse the different varieties of English that have developed as a result of the spread of English

  • explore and analyse the effects of the global spread of English as reflected in texts.



Outcome 2

On completion of this unit the student should be able to describe and explain the effects of the global spread of English in terms of both conformity and diversity, through a range of spoken and written texts.

Formative Assessment
Completion of all coursework tasks is essential to meeting the Outcome achievement. These include specific tasks related to:
• oral and written responses
• folio of annotated texts
• analysis of written and spoken texts
• short answer questions
• short analytical responses
• research and investigation tasks

Summative Assessment—SAC 2
Ability to examine language change and attitudes as represented in different texts demonstrated in short answer questions and a comparative analysis.

 

Examination

Ability to analyse the effects of the global spread of English in terms of both conformity and diversity through short answer questions and an analytical commentary.

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Last up-dated 8 November, 2019
Website constructed and maintained by G. Marotous, 2004
© George Marotous. Melbourne High School English Faculty

 
     
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