Language Investigation

Jo Elson

Member
I'm doing English Language for my A-levels (i know i need my head seeing to or i will after i've finished), this year i have to produce an investigation on anything to do with language, but something original.
I am having loads of trouble in finding something that i can do. A good one was comparing the language on grave stones of different religions but its been done an i don't really fancy taking pictures of peoples gravestones. Have any of you got any ideas cos they will be gratefully recieved. :D
 
Don't worry, your not the only mad one, i ended up doing English Language for A level.

some of the projects that people decided to do included:

A comparision of the language from the King James Bible and a modern day one (historical change, and language of the Church)

A comparision between different sports commentaries

Looking at the different language and approach between broadsheet and tabloid papers.

The function and use of language in advertising.

Think the list could go on forever, but this is all I could remember.
 

PeterBale

Moderator
Staff member
What about a comparison between English and American usage, and how they continue to use some forms (such as "gotten") that are no longer current over here. Plenty of source material available via newspapers, films, internet etc
 

Okiedokie of Oz

Active Member
so are you saying since leaving the monarchy, their english has "gotton" worse??? lmao....

Seriously, it's a good one. Maybe you could also look at a question some asked in here the other day, about words being used in different ways these days??
 

Keppler

Moderator
Staff member
Okie, you mean "it's only after getting worse.. "
;)
a valid language construct over here..
 

WhatSharp?

Active Member
You could do "Swear words which were frowned upon and are now very much in common usage".

or

"Text Message language, teaching kids how not to spell"
 

bruceg

Active Member
Don't know much about what's expected in A levels (I'm a product of the Scottish education system) but maybe you could investigate the crossover between actual language usage and artificial intelligence research into natural language interpretation.

There's a wealth of material available online and through contacting the universities (the University of Edinburgh has a particularly active Department of Artificial Intelligence http://www.inf.ed.ac.uk/ ).
 

Jo Elson

Member
Cheers guys you give me something to think about anyway. At least i can go to the lesson with something. If you get anymore good ideas let me know! :)
 

MoominDave

Well-Known Member
How about a comparison between Chaucer and Shakespeare? This period covers the invention of the printing press, and the subsequent beginnings of 'standard' English, which was, as I understand it, pretty much brought about by the availability of printed books - this was a time of huge flux for the English language, and there is a relatively large amount of source material about.

Or how about: (similar to Steve's suggestion) 'The evolution of English swear words through the ages'? It's intriguing how words can rise and fall in terms of profanity - who would be offended by 'Zooterkins!'? Elizabeth I might not have been too happy, for one... On the other hand, Chaucer uses the 'C word' in the Canterbury tales.

On this and related subjects, I can wholeheartedly recommend Bill Bryson's 'Mother Tongue' (ISBN 0-140-14305-X) - it's very informative and readable, and also mercifully non-academic.

Dave
 
Language Acquisition is always a good one. Very difficult to get through ethics though as often involves working with children. If you like children it's a really interesting area and there are loads of theories and material for you to use.
 

Jo Elson

Member
Kari Anson said:
Language Acquisition is always a good one. Very difficult to get through ethics though as often involves working with children. If you like children it's a really interesting area and there are loads of theories and material for you to use.
Yeah. The only problem with that is that you have to tape them and therefore have to have their parents consent to do it and they have to understand what you're doing too, which makes the data slightly unrealistic. And the exam board said they're fed up with this cos so many people do it.
 

bruceg

Active Member
MoominDave said:
On this and related subjects, I can wholeheartedly recommend Bill Bryson's 'Mother Tongue' (ISBN 0-140-14305-X) - it's very informative and readable, and also mercifully non-academic.

Dave
An excellent read even if you don't decide to use it as a reference for your eventual chosen subject.
 
Jo Elson said:
Kari Anson said:
Language Acquisition is always a good one. Very difficult to get through ethics though as often involves working with children. If you like children it's a really interesting area and there are loads of theories and material for you to use.
Yeah. The only problem with that is that you have to tape them and therefore have to have their parents consent to do it and they have to understand what you're doing too, which makes the data slightly unrealistic. And the exam board said they're fed up with this cos so many people do it.
I got an A in this section of my A-Level English Language coursework - which was done on language acquisition. Perhaps after reading mine they thought that no-one else quite met my standards so started to get sick of it then 1998! :wink:
I actually find it thoroughly interesting and even have progressed this interest into degree level - for my second year psychology project I'm doing "Do better readers make better communicators" and am doing this amongst 6-7 year olds testing their reading ability and language ability and examining any correlations ans regression.
 
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