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Students enjoy an English Language conference in London

On Tuesday the 21st March, all the year 12 and 13 English Language students were given the amazing opportunity to travel to London to attend a series of 5 talks from various experts in their language fields.

Read on for a review of the conference from one of the students who attend:

"The trip down south was a gruelling 3 hours on a coach (starting out at 7.30 a.m.!) that could’ve done with some improvement in terms of legroom, but the anticipation of the day made it easy to ignore the discomfort and chat with friends, play cards or (like me) catch up on a TV show. Arriving in London is always exciting to me, as this was only my 4th time travelling there, with the most recent time also being a school trip.

The talks began in a large lecture hall with staggered seating; we were right at the top with a brilliant view of the stage and projector screen, and it was amazing to see so many like-minded students filling the room. First we listened to a lecture by Jessica Norledge titled ‘The language of literature’, during which Jessica spoke on the concept of metaphors and their use in books like “The Handmaid’s Tale”.

The second talk, “What do we notice about accents?”, was more directly related to our A-level content. We were able to listen to three different people reading the same story in order to determine from their accents where they were from - it was a really interesting exercise, and some pronunciations (such as ‘duck’ in a Liverpudlian accent) were almost shockingly different from a more familiar Midlands accent. We were then treated to an intro to by Clare Hardaker to forensic linguistics, a field which we don’t study at school but which I’m sure many of my classmates will now want to go into – I had no idea how many different crime investigations could be solved using the study of linguistics, such as missing person’s cases, corporate espionage and copyright cases.

Then came the moment everyone had been waiting for: Michael Rosen took to the stage to tell us ‘What’s Right about Writing?’, a session which included analysing a series of extracts of different genres. Rosen’s talk was both entertaining and informative, and it was amazing to be so close to a figure who I’m sure many of us are familiar with, either through his poetry, children’s books, or iconic YouTube video recitations.

The final talk of the day was (perhaps controversially) my favourite: “Why Bad Language is Good For You”. Emma Byrne spoke on a range of things in an informative, funny and charismatic way; we learned some really amazing things. Swearing is apparently so in-built in language that even a group of chimpanzees taught to communicate fluently using sign language came up with a way to do it.

Overall it was a fun and educational day out, and I’m grateful to Miss Danks, Mrs Gregory and Mr Bond for organising the trip, providing more insight into the topics discussed, and especially for Miss Danks’ worksheet (because what school trip doesn’t involve one of those?)."