Call for new A-level

4th May 2007 at 01:00
Academics are talking to exam boards about launching an A-level in linguistics.

A team of experts from British universities are urging the OCR and WJC, the Welsh board, to offer the subject.

Currently, pupils are not able to gain qualifications in linguistics and must start from scratch in the first year of university.

The subject involves the detailed study of grammatical structures and sound systems of languages around the world.

Dick Hudson, emeritus professor of linguistics at University College London, said the subject could be very appealing for pupils and would also boost recruitment to university linguistics courses.

"Bright pupils can be very frustrated by the treatment of language in schools, as some are looking for a more systematic approach," he said.

"The literary approach, especially for boys, can be too vague, and linguistics offers clearer tasks, with measurable progress."

He said the aim of the A-level would not be to rival English language, as it would take a detailed look at a variety of languages.

He said he hoped the new qualifications could be launched in the next five years.

"We would hope to offer an AS level as well, so pupils can see how they get on with it before doing the full qualification," he said.

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