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Be as up-to-date as you can on material here.  General “reading around” about language will benefit you hugely in A Level assessments.

See this excellent blog for language news of the week, maintained by a teacher of A Level English Language.

Other useful links are collected here.

This term refers to the standardisation of dialect that we are now seeing.  Traditional rural dialects are dying out and more complex urban varieties are on the rise (e.g. Estuary, Posh Scouse etc).  

Reasons for this are:

Greater proportion of people are university-educated- the uni experience itself mixes people from many regions (most still leave home to go, although that is lessening)

 

In the new specification, you may also need to think about global levelling.  It seems likely that a new Global Standard English will emerge, which will probably be different from UK Standard English.  Reasons we can ascribe to this are:

Rising economies and markets in the developing world wanting to trade with the US and other countries

Dialect Levelling