3.2 People and Places

Students learn about the ways in which writers and speakers present narratives about places, beginning with a general focus on broad questions such as:

  • why do people tell stories about places?
  • how do writers and speakers present places, societies, people and events?

Drawing both on their everyday experiences of storytelling in different modes, and on published texts, students learn how language choices help to shape the representations of a place and different perspectives. Students:

  • analyse narratives that construct different views of a particular place
  • produce re-creative work that seeks to find an absent or underplayed perspective in the original text
  • write a critical reflection on the processes and outcomes involved in re-creative work.

Methods of language analysis

In working on this part of the subject content, students will learn about methods of language analysis. They will be required to adopt a close language focus, identifying salient features of language used in the respective texts.

The following list is a guide to the areas of language analysis students are expected to be familiar with:

  • phonetics, phonology and prosodics – for example, the sounds of real speech and the patterns of sound symbolism (rhyme, alliteration, onomatopoeia) that some writers employ
  • lexis and semantics – for example, the connotations of words and phrases, metaphor and idiomatic language
  • grammar – for example, how the use of pronouns can shape narrative viewpoints
  • pragmatics – for example, the assumptions made about listeners/readers by the speaker’s/writer’s language choices
  • discourse – for example, the way different text types use particular features or routines, including aspects of visual design and layout.

Remembered Places

Students study the AQA Anthology: Paris. The anthology includes a wide range of text types with a particular emphasis on non-fiction and non-literary material.

In this part of the subject content, students explore speech and other genres. They study a wide range of linguistic and generic features, as well as related issues around questions of representation and viewpoint in texts taken from a range of time periods. The anthology offers opportunities for detailed exploration of the ubiquitous nature of narrative and systematic study of the representation of place. In studying, thinking, and writing about the anthology, students consider:

  • the ways in which writers and speakers present places, societies, people and events
  • the metaphorical nature of representation: the ways that narrative itself can sometimes be seen as a personal journey for writers and speakers
  • the influence of contextual factors such as time period, race, social class and gender on the content and focus of narratives
  • the affordances and limitations of different media
  • different generic conventions and different purposes for communicating ideas and viewpoints about travel, people and places
  • how people and their relationships are realised through point of view, attitude, specific registers, physical descriptions, speech and thought.

Re-creative Writing

In this part of the subject content, students develop the skills to adapt and shape the original material (the base text) to respond to different re-creative tasks. These skills include awareness of:

  • the nature of monologue and dialogue
  • how changing point of view, genre, context, purpose, audience or mode can re-shape meanings
  • how aspects of the narrative might be developed further
  • the importance of specific moments in time or descriptions of place.

Critical commentary

Drawing on their studies in 'Re-creative Writing', students learn how to write a critical commentary to evaluate their writing. They do this by identifying specific examples of language in their writing and explaining their reasons for using them.

Students develop the skills to explain the what, the how and the why of the construction of the new text, focusing on the critical decisions made to achieve it and the adaptation of the base text. The aim is to demonstrate conceptual understanding of the choices made and the effects created, as well as demonstrating an understanding of the original text.