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Linguistic models and short story analysis: approaches to literature in teaching English as a second language

By J K Holst


This thesis sets out to apply procedures and concepts derived from\ud contemporary linguistics in the analysis of short stories. The goal is\ud to arrive at an approach to the teaching of literature within the context\ud of English language teaching. Theory is drawn from the French structuralists\ud and Russian formalists, and from contemporary stylistics.\ud The opening section is concerned with various theoretical approaches to\ud literary study as they relate to three levels of analysis. The focus,\ud initially, is on the underlying structures of narrative and the attempts\ud of structuralists to isolate these and relate them to patterns and\ud conventions discernible in literature as a whole. The advantages and\ud limitations in such an approach ore discussed. chapter 2 deals with\ud discourse structure in the light of Genette's categories of time, mode\ud and voice, and Uspensky's planes of perspective. The formalists' views\ud on the devices of composition and the estranging function of literature\ud are considered in this context. The third approach surveyed focusses on\ud the language of narrative texts, and some contemporary stylistic studies\ud of prose are discussed.\ud The middle section is practical, and demonstrates an eclectic methodology,\ud derived from those reviewed, in extensive analysis of nine stories in the\ud Penguin collections. Several different starting points for analysis ore\ud tested. First, an approach to story is demonstrated, using propositional\ud analysis along the lines suggested by Todorov, and, subsequently, structuration\ud of action sequences as described by Barthes. Chapter 5 focusses on\ud discourse structure, and examines time relations and other dominant\ud structural elements in stories. The last chapter in this section explores\ud linguistic features foregrounded in the text, and shows how analysis can\ud progress from this point to more abstract levels of organization in the\ud works exomined.\ud The final section of the thesis argues for the place of literature as on\ud integral part of the language teaching programme, offers practical\ud suggestions about how the approach demonstrated here might be implemented\ud in the classroom, and concludes with a tentative,graded teaching sequence\ud which, it is suggested, could form the basis of a literature programe

Year: 1984
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