Literature and Stylistics for Language Learners

243 Pages · 2010 · 629 KB · English

  • Literature and Stylistics for Language Learners

    Literature and Stylistics for

    Language Learners

    Theory and Practice

    Edited by

    Greg Watson and Sonia Zyngier Literature and Stylistics for Language Learners Also by Greg Watson

    DOIN’ MUDROOROO: Elements of Style and Involvement in the Early Prose

    Fiction of Mudrooroo


    Also by Sonia Zyngier


    Stylistics, and the Acquisition of Literary Skills in an EFLit Context

    DEVELOPING AWARENESS IN LITERATURE Literature and Stylistics for

    Language Learners

    Theory and Practice

    Edited by

    Greg Watson

    University of Joensuu, Finland


    Sonia Zyngier

    Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    Foreword by Ronald Carter Selection and editorial matter © Greg Watson and Sonia Zyngier 2007

    Foreword © Ronald Carter 2007

    Individual chapters © the contributors 2007

    All rights reserved. No reproduction, copy or transmission of this

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    Patents Act 1988.

    First published 2007 by


    Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 6XS and

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    PALGRAVE MACMILLAN is the global academic imprint of the Palgrave

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    ISBN–13: 978–1–4039–8799–0

    ISBN–10: 1–4039–8799–8

    This book is printed on paper suitable for recycling and made from fully

    managed and sustained forest sources.

    A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

    Literature and stylistics for language learners : theory and practice / edited

    by Greg Watson and Sonia Zyngier ; foreword by Ronald Carter.

    p. cm.

    Includes bibliographical references and index.

    ISBN 1–4039–8799–8 (cloth)

    1. Language and languages–Study and teaching. 2. Style, Literary–Study

    and teaching. I. Watson, Greg (Greg J.) II. Zyngier, Sonia.

    P53.L538 2007

    418′.0071–dc22 20006045538

    10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

    16 15 14 13 12 11 10 09 08 07

    Printed and bound in Great Britain by

    Antony Rowe Ltd, Chippenham and Eastbourne Contents

    Foreword by Ronald Carter vii

    Preface xii

    Notes on the Contributors xvii

    Part I Theoretical Perspectives

    1 Stylistics in Second Language Contexts: A Critical 3


    Geoff Hall

    2 On Teaching Literature Itself 15

    Peter Stockwell

    Part II New Approaches

    3 When the Students Become the Teachers: A Practical 27


    Joanne Gavins and Jane Hodson

    4 ‘The Shudder of the Dying Day in Every Blade of Grass’: 37

    Whose Words? Voice, Veracity and the Representation of


    John McRae

    5 Analysing Literature Through Films 48

    Rocio Montoro

    6 Discourse Stylistics and Detective Fiction: A Case Study 60

    Urszula Clark

    Part III Corpus Stylistics

    7 Corpus Stylistics as a Discovery Procedure 79

    Donald E. Hardy

    8 Literary Worlds as Collocation 91

    Bill Louw

    9 Investigating Student Reactions to a Web-Based Stylistics 106

    Course in Different National and Educational Settings

    Mick Short, Beatrix Busse and Patricia Plummer

    v vi Contents

    Part IV Stylistics, Grammar and Discourse

    10 From Syntax to Schema: Teaching Flannery O’Connor in 129

    the Persian Gulf

    David L. Gugin

    11 Non-Standard Grammar in the Teaching of Language 140

    and Style

    Paul Simpson

    12 Language Teaching Through Gricean Glasses 155

    Judit Zerkowitz

    Part V Awareness and Cognition

    13 Attention-directed Literary Education: An Empirical 169


    David Ian Hanauer

    14 What Reading Does to Readers: Stereotypes, Foregrounding 181

    and Language Learning

    Willie van Peer and Aikaterini Nousi

    15 Revisiting Literary Awareness 194

    Sonia Zyngier, Olivia Fialho and Patricia Andréa do Prado Rios

    Index 211 Foreword

    ‘A hard coming we had of it.’

    —T.S. Eliot, Journey of the Magi

    Stylistics has always had a hard time of it. As an academic discipline it

    has always been seen, pretty much throughout the twentieth century,

    as neither one thing nor the other, or, much worse, as all things to all

    men and women, as sitting uncomfortably on the fence between the

    linguistic and the literary, and as a bit uneasy within either domain,

    building bridges that never quite stretch far enough across dividing

    waters and always, as here, resorting to retreat, repair and reconciliation

    metaphors of bridges, unfilled gaps and spaces, crossing contested terri-

    tories, unhappy marriages and paths not taken. In the 1960s and 1970s

    this was in part to be expected for an essentially inchoate interdiscipli-

    nary endeavour. Linguists felt stylistics was too soft to be taken too seri-

    ously and tended to introduce irrelevant notions such as performance

    data and interpretation; literature specialists felt that stylistics was too

    hard, too mechanistic and too reductive, saying nothing significant

    about historical context or aesthetic theory, eschewing evaluation for

    the most part in the interests of a naïve scientism and claiming too

    much for interpretations that were at best merely text-immanent. And

    many linguists and literary critics continue to this day to give stylistics a

    hard time. But, for better or for worse, stylisticians have stayed together.

    There have been few divorces or major disagreements within the family.

    More recently, however, in the 1980s and 1990s the offence mecha-

    nisms have become stronger as traditional linguists began to feel threat-

    ened by developments in discourse and pragmatics that (augmented by

    the dialogic philosophies of Bakhtin and Vygotsky) generated fuller

    accounts of language in use and in context and as traditional literary

    critics began to feel threatened by the linguistic turn in the humanities

    and social sciences. There has been, often in response to demands to

    make courses accessible and ‘relevant’ to high-fee paying international

    students, a growth in ESOL, significant developments in classroom

    research in second and foreign language studies, and a not unsurprising

    growth in pedagogic stylistics. The pedagogic turn has also given buoy-

    ancy to the language dimension of English studies, accelerating under

    the impetus of (mainly) sociolinguistic studies in World Englishes and

    vii viii Foreword

    debates concerning the ownership of English. The growth of stylistic

    studies of literatures in English, often within a classroom research per-

    spective, is especially marked. The two decades saw a growth in volumes

    dedicated to these broad pedagogic perspectives (Brumfit and Carter

    1986; Short 1988; Durant and Fabb 1990; Widdowson 1975, 1992; Carter

    and McRae 1996) and a simultaneous growth in classroom-ready text-

    books in stylistics (Leech and Short 1981; Short 1996; Simpson 1997;

    Wales 1990), the latter of which have often exerted real influence in

    schools where a new generation of teachers of English have embraced

    the possibilities offered. This is not to say that the developments have

    not been problematic, as applied, classroom-based pedagogic research

    has always to some degree been seen (universally) as inferior to ‘pure’

    research. But the two decades saw increasing confidence in the field of

    stylistics, alongside institutional power shifts, and an altogether less

    defensive stance.

    The first decade of the twenty-first century is witnessing less concern

    with bridges and dividing lines and more a sense that there is much to

    be done within the interdisciplinary field of stylistics in and for itself

    with no longer any overriding need to explain or to attack or to defend.

    The intellectual excitement of cognitive poetics (with its re-tuning of the

    significance of language processing), the awesome power of corpus lin-

    guistics, the depth and richness of studies in narrative analysis, the ever

    new angles on the literariness of language – all now take place routinely

    alongside developing opportunities for web-based teaching and learning,

    the pedagogic possibilities afforded by hypertexts, more refined rhetor-

    ical-analytical tools, enhanced paradigms for greater empirical investiga-

    tion, more and more successful integration of quantitative and qualita-

    tive methodologies. An ever-greater variety of texts and genres and reg-

    isters is studied stylistically with increasing numbers now feeling more

    comfortable than ever before, as a series of books ranging from mono-

    graphs to dedicated textbooks, internationally refereed journals and new

    courses are established, increased research grants are secured and inter-

    national conferences are hosted by a growing body of national associ-

    ations. It may have been hard but it is no longer as hard as it was.

    Stylistics people are together and together in larger numbers. They have

    a sense, like never before, that they are here to stay and it is no big deal

    now to worry about what part of the linguistic, literary or pedagogic ter-

    ritory they occupy. Although this does not mean that clear orientations

    are not given, it is up to others to worry about where they stand in rela-

    tion to stylistics. Foreword ix

    This volume exhibits much of this new-found confidence. Before

    reading the papers contained here I had doubts and worries, as I always

    do when picking up new books in the field. I asked myself if there is the

    danger that stylistics has become a bit complacent. Should we be hard-

    er on ourselves? Should we be picking more fights with others outside

    the field – and with each other? In terms of the above vastly over-

    simplified history, would there be any significant difference between

    this volume and other pedagogic volumes from the last decade or two?

    With a first word of ‘Literature’ in the title of the book would there be

    enough here of the literary or would the contributions be open to a

    charge of a lack of criticality and reflexivity of the kind that can some-

    times come with an increased strength of identity?

    What I have found both challenging (and reassuring because it is

    challenging) is that this book does not rest on any assumed disciplinary

    or interdisciplinary laurels, be they methodological, ideological, theo-

    retical or epistemological. Collectively, the authors of the chapter in

    this book very clearly manifest a continuing endeavour to address and

    re-address issues surrounding the study of literature and its teaching

    from a language-based perspective. Some key questions are asked about

    the relevance of literary stylistics to the literature classroom and new

    and fresh examples introduced that provide a real stimulus to thinking

    about textual history in relation to textual stylistics; aesthetic questions

    are posed alongside the role of critical linguistics in language and liter-

    ary studies; and the student-centred focus does not eschew difficult

    questions (questions dear to the heart of teachers of literature), concern-

    ing value(s), socio-historical cultures, the student experience of texts

    and the kinds of personal growth made possible by this engagement.

    Throughout, there is a steady focus on the kinds of meanings released

    by careful, systematic and retrievable description of language functions

    and on the classroom practices, both new and tried and tested, that can

    help to foster such releases of meaning. Going back to re-read some of

    the volumes from earlier decades, what strikes me here is a quieter, soft-

    er confidence in the range of available methods, a trust in the analytical

    equipment and a hard-edged belief in the importance of continuing to

    make analysis open, usable and contestable (because retrievable) by


    Above all, though, there is also a collective feeling that more still needs

    to be done. More needs to be invested in new textual theories and ana-

    lytical frameworks to help us to begin to address the more elusive, even

    harder questions which are still discussed in relatively loose and un-

    inspected ways by all concerned with text and discourse – literary

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