Language: knowing about the English language

In the Language strand, students develop their knowledge of the English language and how it works. They learn that changes in English are related to historical developments and the geographical differences of its users over the centuries, and that there are many differences in dialect and accent. They learn how language enables people to interact effectively, to build and maintain relationships and to express and exchange knowledge, skills, attitudes, feelings and opinions. They discover the patterns and purposes of English usage, including spelling, grammar and punctuation at the levels of the word, sentence and extended text, and they study the connections between these levels. By developing a body of knowledge about these patterns and their connections, students learn to communicate effectively through coherent, well-structured sentences and texts. They gain a consistent way of understanding and talking about language, language-in-use and language-as-system, so they can reflect on their own speaking and writing and discuss these productively with others.


Language variation and change: Students learn that languages and dialects are constantly evolving due to historical, social and cultural changes, demographic movements and technological innovations. They come to understand that these factors, along with new virtual communities and environments, continue to affect the nature and spread of English.

Language for interaction: Students learn that the language used by individuals varies according to their social setting and the relationships between the participants. They learn that accents and styles of speech and idiom are part of the creation and expression of personal and social identities.

Text structure and organisation: Students learn how texts are structured to achieve particular purposes; how language is used to create texts that are cohesive and coherent; how texts about more specialised topics contain more complex language patterns and features; and how the author guides the reader/viewer through the text through effective use of resources at the level of the whole text, the paragraph and the sentence.

Expressing and developing ideas: Students learn how, in a text, effective authors control and use an increasingly differentiated range of clause structures, words and word groups, as well as combinations of sound, image, movement, verbal elements and layout. They learn that the conventions, patterns and generalisations that relate to English spelling involve the origins of words, word endings, Greek and Latin roots, base words and affixes.

Sound and letter knowledge: Students develop knowledge about the sounds of English and learn to identify the sounds in spoken words. They learn the letters of the alphabet and how to represent spoken words by using combinations of these letters.


The Language strand is based on concepts drawn largely from historical and linguistic accounts of the English language. These approaches draw attention to the ways in which languages change, and to the distinction between language-in-use and language-as-system. These approaches also acknowledge that students' ability to use grammar will exceed their ability to explicitly reflect on grammar. Young children, for example, will use complex sentences before they can explain how these are structured. These approaches, in describing language, also pay attention to both the structure (syntax) and meaning (semantics) at the level of the word, the sentence and the text. The Australian Curriculum: English uses standard grammatical terminology within a contextual framework, in which language choices are seen to vary according to the topics at hand, the nature and proximity of the relationships between the language users, and the modalities or channels of communication available. This strand informs the planning and conduct of teaching and learning activities in English and provides resources that connect to key concepts and skills in the other strands.