English Language and Linguistics

What is it about?

"We analyse the use of the language and how it is able to fulfil certain purposes/ bring across messages and how language is used in society, how it affects different people in society etc." --- Senior A(ACJC)

"Paper 1- the study of the technical aspects of language and how these tiny details can create meaning. It’s like looking at a sentence, and breaking it up using linguistic tools to derive underlying meanings and interpret what a speaker may mean exactly by also taking into consideration the context.
Paper 2- the study of language use in society, and how language varies and changes, we also study the reason behind why certain varieties are more accepted by society, for instance, the “Received Pronunciation” which refers to the British Accent is conferred a higher status than other varieties such as the cockney accent which is stigmatised. " --- Senior T(RI)

"ELL (English Language & Linguistics) explores the nooks and crannies of the English language, examining the many different aspects that make up this very integral part of our lives. " --- Senior G(HCI)

Why did you choose to take this subject? Is it what you expected it to be?

"To be honest i didn’t intend to take ELL, I just didn’t want to take any science subjects and I was deciding between literature or ELL as I initially thought they were similar subjects but no, literature and ELL are VERY different subjects. They vary in the analysis part of the subject. For literature you’re using literary devices (symbolism, imagery etc) but not in ELL. Instead we use linguistic devices to analyse sentences (personal pronouns, marked themes etc) for paper 1. " --- Senior A(ACJC)

"I took ELL because I just thought it would be more refreshing that the usual arts subject such as history and I also found it interesting how a simple construction could have so many underlying meanings. A lot of the things I’ve learnt are also applicable in real life as we study both written and spoken forms, so in interactions with people I become more sensitive to details and it’s always interesting when I pick up information that other people didn’t mean to convey from the way they speak, for instance, hesitations, intonation etc

ELL turned out to be more difficult than I thought because paper 2 involved being able to remember many linguistic studies and being able to apply and tie it in coherently with my essays while still maintaining the question’s focus which I found challenging but nevertheless still interesting!" --- Senior T(RI)

"Honestly I didn’t really know about this subject until I accidentally went for IP workshop at the start of the year...but I guess it was meant to happen! I have always loved English from a young age so it really appealed to me. Being able to study what I love was the more important factor for me so I went for it! Given my unfamiliarity with the subject previously, it was much more than I had expected it to be, but in the best way..." --- Senior G(HCI)

What do you do during lessons? What is it like taking the subject?

"There are 2 papers, paper 1 is about analysing the linguistic differences of the provided texts and writing about it. Paper 2 is writing about "issues" that are present in the provided texts. I would say that paper 1 would be more on the technical side of the subject while paper 2 is more interesting in a sense as you can somewhat relate to parts of the content and these are real things that people experience.

Different schools have different ways of teaching but for my school we have lectures most of the time to cover content, might get a little dry as there is a lot of new content (syntax, morphology, lang use etc.) that is needed for your analysis in p1. The department gives us notes and many case studies and readings for us to use in paper 2. For tutorials we mostly go through our assignments. My tutorial group only has 10 students so the small class size makes it easier for our teacher to facilitate discussions and us to contribute ideas." --- Senior A(ACJC)

"Lessons are very much like any other subjects, we have tutorials and lectures and the teacher just goes through them, one exception might be the phonology chapter for paper 1 when the teacher had to articulate different sounds which was quite funny and a break from the usual lessons! " --- Senior T(RI)

"We learn a great variety of things about the language - how it is used to achieve different purposes, to get different messages across etc. We started with the more technical things like Morphology (formation of words), then zoomed out to focus on bigger aspects like analysing speech, and eventually learnt to spot differences in spoken and written text. Moving on to Year 2, as we start to learn about sociolinguistics and other things, there is surely much more we have yet to be fascinated by. ELL prompts analysis and non-stop questioning about almost anything to do with English, really. If you share a deep love for learning and the English language, moments of epiphanies are not rare, especially when you realise something that you’ve never noticed before! Exploring the subject along with like-minded people and passionate teachers, lessons are hardly dull and you’ll get to learn something new each time. " --- Senior G(HCI)

How easy/difficult is it to score?

"For my school you’ll need an A for olevel english and pass a proficiency test to be offered the subject. But i wouldn’t say that having an A1 for olevel english will guarantee good grades in ELL because what you learn in english is probably only 10% of what you’ll be learning in ELL. Having an interest in the english language can also help make the subject less exhausting as there is ALOT of content for both papers. The subject is hard to study for too since there aren’t many resources or TYS that you can refer to so you really need to rely on your teachers and classmates. Different teachers have different marking styles so there isn’t a so called “standard” marking scheme that teacher follow. Your cohort might also affect the score since very few people take the subject. Personally i found it difficult to score as i didn’t really know what the markers were looking for when i did my first few assignments but after a while you’ll get a gauge of what you need to improve on from your teacher’s comments/consults/analysis during tutorials so you can make the changes from there. Despite this i think ELL is still an extremely interesting subject as we learn about why certain things happen in society and how language affects the outcome of things." --- Senior A(ACJC)

"I think it’s difficult to score, in the sense that getting an A would be difficult but it’s definitely easy to obtain a passing grade or get Cs and Ds as it requires one to read widely which is difficult for J1s as we have yet to accumulate sufficient knowledge and experience. (Qn 2 also answered a bit of this)" --- Senior T(RI)

"First of all, one has to be familiar with the various linguistic devices taught throughout the year. However, in order to do well, you need to be able to apply these things amidst close analysis, questioning and sharp comparison. As it is a written exam, putting all of it into a smooth essay will be the last piece of the puzzle. These are skills that you will slowly be equipped with and have many chances to hone. Therefore as can be seen from the things mentioned above, scoring well in this subject may not come naturally but it would definitely be the fruit of hard work and practice. Oh, and of course, staying curious." --- Senior G(HCI)