VCE English

VCE English Language explores the ways in which language is used by individuals and groups and reflects our thinking and values. Learning about language helps us to understand ourselves, the groups with which we identify, and the society we inhabit.


English Language builds on students' previous learning about the conventions and codes used by speakers and writers of English. Informed by the discipline of linguistics, it provides students with metalinguistic tools to understand and analyse language use, variation and change. Students studying English Language understand that uses and interpretations of language are nuanced and complex, rather than being a series of fixed conventions. Students come to understand how people use spoken and written English to communicate, to think and innovate, to construct identities, to build and interrogate attitudes and assumptions, and to create and disrupt social cohesion.


The study of English Language enables students to understand the structures, features and discourses of written and spoken texts. It promotes systematic and objective deconstruction of language in use.



The study of English Language enables students to further develop and refine their own skills in reading, writing, listening to and speaking English. Students learn about personal and public discourses in workplaces, fields of study, trades or social groups.


In this study students read widely in order to develop their analytical skills and understanding of linguistics. Students are expected to study a range of texts, including publications and public commentary about language in print and multimodal form. Students also observe and discuss contemporary language in use, as well as consider a range of historical and contemporary written and spoken texts.


Knowledge of how language functions provides a useful basis for further study or employment in numerous fields such as arts, sciences, law, politics, trades and education. The study supports language related fields such as psychology, the study of other languages, speech and reading therapy, journalism and philosophy. It also supports study and employment in other communication-related fields, including designing information and communications technology solutions or programs.



The study is made up of four units:
Unit 1: Language and communication
Unit 2: Language change
Unit 3: Language variation and social purpose
Unit 4: Language variation and identity


Each unit contains two areas of study.


Metalanguage underpins the key knowledge and key skills in each of the four units. Metalanguage associated with the five subsystems (Phonetics and phonology, Morphology and lexicology, Syntax, Discourse, Semantics) is shown in Metalanguage for Units 1 and 2, and Metalanguage for Units 3 and 4.



There are no prerequisites for entry to Units 1, 2 and 3. Students must undertake Unit 3 prior to undertaking Unit 4. Units 1 to 4 are designed to a standard equivalent to the final two years of secondary education.