Language A: language and literature

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The language A: language and literature course introduces the critical study and interpretation of written and spoken texts from a wide range of literary forms and non literary text-types. 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 three areas of exploration and seven central concepts, and focuses on the study of both literary or non-literary texts. Together, the three areas of exploration 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 literary forms, periods and places
  • Students study a range of non-literary texts and bodies of work that include a wide variety of text-types
  • 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, text-types and literary forms 
  • Students are assessed through a combination of formal examinations and oral and written coursework and oral activities
  • The formal examination comprises two essay papers, one requiring the analysis of unseen non-literary text, and the other a comparative response to a question based on two literary works studied
  • Students also perform an oral activity presenting their analysis of a literary work and a non-literary body of work studied
  • HL students comply with an additional written coursework requirement which consists of writing a 1200 - 1500 word essay on one of the works or bodies of work studied.

Language A: language and literature subject brief

Subject briefs are short two-page documents providing an outline of the course. Read the standard level (SL) and/or higher level (HL) subject brief below. 

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Language A: language and literature SL & HL (PDF, 40 KB) pdf