Language A: language and literature (SL/HL)

The language A: language and literature course introduces the critical study and interpretation of written and spoken texts from a wide range of literary and non literary genres. The formal analysis of texts is supplemented by awareness that meaning is not fixed but can change in respect to contexts of production and consumption. This course is available for study in 17 languages.

The course is organized into four parts, each focussed on the study of either literary or non-literary texts. Together, the four parts of the course allow the student to explore the language A in question through its cultural development and use, its media forms and functions, and its literature. Students develop skills of literary and textual analysis, and also the ability to present their ideas effectively. A key aim is the development of critical literacy.

Key features of the curriculum and assessment models

  • Available at higher and standard levels
  • Higher level study requires a minimum of 240 class hours, while standard level study requires a minimum of 150 class hours
  • Students study 6 works at higher level and 4 works at standard level from a representative selection of genres, periods and places
  • Students develop the techniques needed for the critical analysis of communication, becoming alert to interactions between text, audience and purpose
  • An understanding of how language, culture and context determine the construction of meaning is developed through the exploration of texts, some of which are studied in translation, from a variety of cultures, periods and genres 
  • Students are assessed through a combination of formal examinations, written coursework and oral activities
  • The formal examination comprises two essay papers, one requiring the analysis of unseen literary and non-literary texts, and the other a response to a question based on the literary works studied
  • Students also produce written tasks in a variety of genres, and perform two oral activities presenting their analysis of works read