Shakespeare as a prompter of language awareness : stylistics as a way of reading between/beyond the lines
This study responds to a double call. Firstly, it aims to develop an empirical and pedagogical perspective on the integration of language and literature teaching. Secondly, it attempts to construct a language awareness (LA) assessment tool to keep pace with developments in reading. To this end, the study investigates the extent to which a stylistic exploration of Shakespeare's language can enhance EFL students' language awareness, which is defined for the present purpose in terms of a number of stylistic devices (e.g. metaphor) which potentially contribute to the 'literariness' of a text. Pedagogical materials and activities were designed accordingly in order to raise awareness of a group of 22 Taiwanese university students over a 10-week period of intervention. Extracts from Shakespeare's sonnets and plays were used as the medium to sensitise students to various linguistic devices and their literary functions. Further non-Shakespearean materials, both literary and non-literary (e.g. advertisements, newspaper headlines, political speeches) were drawn upon as backup resources to consolidate the stylistic exploration done in the classroom. At the end of the course, students' LA development is demonstrated qualitatively in their course diaries, quantitatively in the researcher-developed LA Test, and different forms of questionnaires students filled in. The study concludes with suggestions regarding the refinement of assessment tools, with implications for future research into the scholarship of teaching.