Appreciating literature: a focus on lexis in second language reading

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    The appreciation of literature depends on the reader’s ability to understand the author’s use of words — how they are used individually to express explicit and indirect meaning, how they are used in partnership with others to make up set phrases, and how meaning can be distorted for literary purposes by changing a phrase or the order of words in a phrase, all within a specific cultural context. The educated first language reader, familiar with the context, is equipped to read between the lines and achieve a fuller understanding of the text in question. However, for second language readers, lacking that lexical and cultural knowledge, the situation is different and they are at a disadvantage in terms of being able to understand a work of literature. Teachers of English can help their pupils by drawing their attention to words — which words are used and how they are used. Support for this assertion can be found in the research into second language vocabulary acquisition. This tells us that readers need to know at least 95% of words in a text in order to understand that text, and that words must be encountered many times if they are to be learnt. The point of actively working with words over a period of time is twofold: firstly, to increase the reader’s lexical resource in terms of both number of words known and depth of knowledge about them, and secondly, by so doing, to increase the reader’s ability to understand, and therefore appreciate, literary texts. With reference to The Great Gatsby, I will illustrate how teachers of English to university students can extend their learners’ lexical knowledge and appreciation of literature.

    Antal sidor8
    StatusPublicerad - 2014
    EvenemangText Analysis Symposium at Kristianstad University, April 2014 -
    Varaktighet: 1980-jan.-01 → …


    KonferensText Analysis Symposium at Kristianstad University, April 2014
    Period80-01-01 → …

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