Saturday, May 10, 2014

Heteroglossia and Novel

It is interesting to examine the relationship between the nature of language in novel from Bakhtinian heteroglossia perspective and its applied values.

In John Holcombe (2012)’s Discourse in the Novel, the author explained heteroglossia as the multi-layered nature of language and he also pointed out that a novel consists of a variety of voices with their different community of discourse. The speeches in a dialogue can not only shape a vivid image about the contexts, but also build avenues for readers to know the inner world of the characters involved and the connections among them. I am thinking about my personal learning experience as an English major student when I was in the college. We read Oxford Bookworms Series when we were freshmen. I think it was fun and helpful, because the exposure to the authentic input and the engaging plots makes language learning meaningful.
Reading novels has been regarded as one of the best ways for language learners to improve their literacy. I think Bakhtinian heteroglossia canmaximum the outcomes of reading novels in foreign language learning and teaching. First, it helps learners to improve their speech skills. The characters demonstrated various speech genres under certain social-cultural contexts, and what they say reflects their experiences, motivations, thoughts, and demeanor. Hence, language learners may have a chance to learn how they people talk in the novel and they can gradually express their intention more effectively by using the appropriate manners. Second, it helps learners to improve communication skills. The discourse input in novels expose readers to an authentic language environment, where they activate their brains to conversation mode. They may learn how to understand the interlocutor accurately, how to deliver their messages appropriately, and keep the conversation flow back and forth. Last but not least, it helps readers to develop logic thinking skills. Reading a novel, readers may find the connections and conflicts among the characters. Also, they may question and reason why so-and-so decided to say something in certain way, which requires deeper thinking by considering the contexts and relationships between the interlocutors. In sum I think Bakhtinianheteroglossia perspectives have lots of practical values in foreign language teaching classrooms, which can guide our future curriculum designing.
Friends, if you are a language teacher, how will you use Bakhtinianheteroglossia approach to teach reading?

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