Magazine article English Drama Media


Magazine article English Drama Media


Article excerpt

This is the third in a triplet of editions of EDM to contain a focus on the themes of language variety and investigating language. The two previous issues have covered Corpus Linguistics, the OED, the English Project and GCSE Spoken Language Study. In this edition, we turn our attention to Accent and Dialect, Slang, Grammar, and Language Games.

Investigating Language

The articles in this edition--especially when taken in combination with those in the two previous editions--together form a strong argument for models of language study throughout the English curriculum which have at their heart the idea of language as a dynamic, changing force, and as an interesting object of study in its own right--a vision which currently only has a secure hold at A Level English Language. Such a model particularly lends itself to dynamic pedagogies of language investigation, in which students themselves become active participants in defining language in use; it also points to more enlightened approaches to the teaching of grammar for reading, writing and talk than currently pertain.

Dan Clayton (until recently a prolific A Level English Language teacher at a London Sixth Form College, and now a research fellow at University College, London, working on applications of the Survey of English Usage for KS3 to KS5 Grammar teaching--see Briefing for further details) contributes an article which is partly about the teaching of slang as an element of language variety, partly about the power of language investigation in teaching about language, and partly about the way in which such language investigations can powerfully constitute actual interventions by students into debates about language.

Jonnie Robinson, curator of Sociolinguistics and Education at the British Library, introduces us to one of the most valuable online tools that students can use for making language investigations--the British Library Sound Archive. Its treasury of recordings of accents and dialects has been made available for educational use through the wonderful interactive website Sounds Familiar, as well as through the Voices of the UK project. Robinson also gives us a preview of a fascinating project about children's playground games and songs, using the Opie Collection of recordings of children's rhymes, held at the BL, which will eventually produce a similar online treasury.

David Kinder, Head of English at Godalming College, has become well known for his use of language games as a tool for teaching language. Here, he gives an account of a number of games (for teaching grammar and language features) which can be used at A Level and GCSE. …

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