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MHS Library | English Language Year 11

Studying English Language in year 11 (Units 1&2)

This year you will be investigating, exploring and analysing the nature, functions and evolution of English.

You will:

  • explore the features of written and spoken texts
  • investigate language acquisition 
  • delve into the history of the English language
  • look at the spread of English across the globe 
  • analyse the features of our own Australian variety of English

Unlike English and Literature, there are not any set novels for English Language. Instead you are encouraged to start taking notice of and saving a wide range of contemporary and historical texts in a variety of forms over years 11 and 12. Some of the texts will be examples of the various varieties of English and others should be texts about language and linguistics. From now on, when you hear English spoken (eg. TV, podcasts, Youtube, conversations) or see it in written form (eg. media, advertising, social media) you will save these examples (where possible) and start looking at the way language works in them. As you build your metalanguage glossary, you will be able to analyse these examples using the metalanguage like a linguist!

The basis of all our assessment in English Language is the metalanguage. The metalanguage is the language we use to describe language. Some of the metalanguage will be familiar to you from English but other aspects will be new. We categorise the metalanguage into the subsystems: 

  • lexicology
  • morphology
  • semantics
  • syntax 
  • phonetics & phonology
  • discourse analysis

Understanding the subsystems and metalanguage is vital to experience success in English Language. 

Key skills you will require to be successful in this subject.

In order to do well in this subject, you must:

  • Understand and use the metalanguage - at first you may use descriptive language to analyse what you see in a text - the thinking and observation are most important. Gradually you will be able to substitute the 'lay language' with metalanguage in order to demonstrate your fulfilment of the outcomes.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with each of the subsystems of language
  • Know your word classes and sentence types and structures
  • Build your knowledge of the distinctive features of different varieties of Australian English in terms of phonetics and phonology (eg. Broad vs. General vs. Cultivated accents), prosody (eg. rising intonation), lexicon (eg. Australian slang such as dunny) and morphology (eg. shortening and diminutives such as brekkie, servo and Maccas), sytax (eg. ending but in some varieties if Australian English, as in I didn't do it, but), semantics (eg. fanny in Australian English is not the same as in American English), and discourse features (eg. Australian English discourse particles such as yeah-no)
  • Be able to explain how different types of language contribute to the purpose or aim of the speaker/text
  • Be able to explain the differences between different text types (eg spoken and written language, formal and informal language) in terms of the subsystems
  • Give a concrete example for each point you make, including the line number - this vital. Marks cannot be awarded if you do not clearly indicate both the example and its location.
  • Be able to use Standard Australian English creatively and effectively in your own written work
  • Abandon your prejudice and preconceptions about the different ways people speak and write. Realise that your opinion is not the point - your observations and analysis are!

English Language resources by year level

Welcome to the MHS English Language page for Units 1/2. If you need help locating or using English Language resources, you can contact me (Tania Sheko) in Teams or email me tania.sheko@mhs.vic.edu.au.