Literary Language in Development of L2 Competence

Dan Lu

Abstract


Nowadays it is believed that language in daily communication rather than literary language should be the target of learning in L2 education. This is mainly because literary language is said to be uncommon in life. This paper reports on a study in which some Hong Kong ESL learners’ English proficiency was re-examined through literary texts. These learners had reached intermediate or advanced levels of English prior to the study and were generally competent in daily English. However, many of them encountered difficulty in understanding literary language. Their proficiency in general English test could not match their performances in understanding literary works. The findings reveal that learners who are strong in general proficiency may not be good in understanding literary language. Lack of literary language in the curriculum results in a false and distorted picture about the learners’ proficiency. Literary language helps upgrade L2 learners’ real proficiency in the target language.


Keywords


literature, literary language, L2 proficiency, reading competence

Full Text:

PDF

References


Baker, C. (2001). Foundations of bilingual education and bilingualism. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Brumfit, C. J., & Carter, R. A. (1986). Literature and language teaching. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

Byram, M. (2003). On being ‘bicultural’ and ‘intercultural’. In G. Alred, M. Byram & M. Fleming (Eds.), Intercultural experience and education (pp. 50-66). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Carter, R. (2007). Literature and language teaching 1986–2006: a review. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 17(1), 3-13.

Chou, M. C. (2000). A study of rhetorical questions applied by Chinese students in English narratives and arguments. Paper presented at the International Language in Education Conference 2000, May.

Collie, J., & Slater, S. (1987). Literature in the language classroom. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Cook, G. (1996). Making the subtle difference: literature and non-literature in the classroom. In R. Carter & J. McRae (Eds.), Language, literature and the learner (pp.151-165). London: Longman.

Cummins, J. (1984). Bilingualism and special education: Issues in assessment and pedagogy. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Dickens, C. (1954). A tale of two cities. New York: Pocket Books.

Gerber, U. (1990). Literary role play. ELT Journal, 44(1), 199-203.

Ghosn, I. K. (2002). Four good reasons to use literature in primary school ELT. ELT Journal, 56, 172-179.

Hanauer, D. (2001). Focus-on-cultural understanding: Literary reading in the second language classroom. CAUCE: Revista de Filología y su Didáctica, 24, 389-404.

Heath, S. B. (1993). Inner city life through drama: imagining the language classroom. TESOL Quarterly, 27(2), 177-192.

Hirvela, A. (2001). Incorporating reading into EAP writing courses. In J. Flowerdew & M. Peacock (Eds.), Research perspectives on English for academic purposes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hirvela, A., & Boyle, J. (1988). Literature courses and students attitudes. ELT Journal, 42(3), 179-184.

Larsen-Freeman, D. (2000). Techniques and principles in language teaching (2nd edition). New York: Oxford University Press.

Lazar, G. (1993). Literature and language teaching: a guide for teachers and trainers. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Littlewood, W. (1998). Language teaching methods. In J. L. Mey (Ed.), Concise encyclopedia of pragmatics (pp. 2027-2035). Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Low, O. (1991). Proficiency in English course (Revised edition). London: Thomas Nelson & Sons Ltd.

Pachler, N., & Allford, D. (2000). Literature in the communicative classroom. In K. Field (Ed.), Issues in modern foreign languages teaching (pp. 237-251). London: Routledge.

Paran, A. (2008). The role of literature in instructed foreign language learning and teaching: An evidence-based survey. Language Teaching, 41(4), 465-496.

Parkinson, B. & H. Reid-Thomas (2000). Teaching literature in a second language. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Richards, J. C., Platt, J., & Platt, H. (1998). Longman dictionary of language teaching & applied linguistics. Hong Kong: Addison Wesley Longman China Limited.

Rifkin, B. (2006). A Ceiling Effect for Communicative Language Teaching? Modern Language Journal, 90(2), 262-264.

Rycik, M. (1990). A playwriting primer. Instructor, 99(8), 40-42.

Stewart, J. A. & K. A. Santiago (2006). Using the literary text to engage language learners in a multilingual community. Foreign Language Annals, 39(4), 683-696.

Wessels, C. (1991). From improvisation to publication on an English through drama course. ELT Journal, 45(3), 230-236.

Widdowson, H. G. (1982). Talking shop: H. G. Widdowson on literature and ELT. ELT Journal, 1(5), 80-85.

Widdowson, H. G. (1986). The untrodden ways. In C. J. Brumfit & R. A. Carter (Eds.), Literature and language teaching (pp. 133-139). Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/ijalel.v.1n.6p.240

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.




Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2019 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.