This essay addresses the drastic and detrimental divide between language learning and literature characterizing the study of English in university programs in Italy. It sustains that it is high time for language learning to dovetail with literary studies to allow students to better comprehend and navigate through both the complex phenomenon of the spread of English in this era of globalization and the transcultural nature of English. An English course I taught to English studies undergraduates at the University of Venice Ca’ Foscari in Italy in 2014 exemplifi es one way to approach this pedagogical turn. In examining four literacy stories by J. M. Coetzee, Ngu˜gı˜ wa Th iong’o, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Caryl Phillips, the course had two aims: fi rst, to prove that English, as with any language, is formed in relation to personal identity and the context of use in its specifi c culture, a basic principle often implicitly denied by the widespread structuralist and generative approaches to language; second, the course sought to see the English classroom as a microcosm connected to the social and cultural dynamics of the English-speaking world at large by using stories set in ex-colonial scenarios as mirrors casting refl ections that could be illuminating for learners of English as a foreign language.

Literacy Stories for Global Wits: Learning English Through the Literature-Language Line

R. Cimarosti
2015-01-01

Abstract

This essay addresses the drastic and detrimental divide between language learning and literature characterizing the study of English in university programs in Italy. It sustains that it is high time for language learning to dovetail with literary studies to allow students to better comprehend and navigate through both the complex phenomenon of the spread of English in this era of globalization and the transcultural nature of English. An English course I taught to English studies undergraduates at the University of Venice Ca’ Foscari in Italy in 2014 exemplifi es one way to approach this pedagogical turn. In examining four literacy stories by J. M. Coetzee, Ngu˜gı˜ wa Th iong’o, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Caryl Phillips, the course had two aims: fi rst, to prove that English, as with any language, is formed in relation to personal identity and the context of use in its specifi c culture, a basic principle often implicitly denied by the widespread structuralist and generative approaches to language; second, the course sought to see the English classroom as a microcosm connected to the social and cultural dynamics of the English-speaking world at large by using stories set in ex-colonial scenarios as mirrors casting refl ections that could be illuminating for learners of English as a foreign language.
literacy, literature, English, grammar, ex-colonial world
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/342548
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