By Hu Wo (Cuckoo’s Song)
In this day and age, languages are widely studied from three points of view: (1) literature, based on the written form or history of a language, (2) language, relying upon the listening, speaking, reading, writing or thinking skills of a language, and (3) linguistics, underlying the scientific study or criticism of a language. Of these points, literature is still the most common field of study for advanced learners in universities as far as I know. In the eyes of the literature, not every written work such as notices in towns is literature, even though the English word `literature´ is derived from the Latin word `litteratura´, which has `writing´ in meaning. Of course, any literature to the core has taken in such long-lasting effects on readers that they would like to read it on and on or again and again at any time. Nowadays literature will die out very quickly only if most readers except for a few devotees of literature have forgotten or not read it, I reckon. At the bottom literature is worth studying for whatever purpose. So, I am going to share two general types of literature, many literary devices, some approaches to literature and the reason why literature should be studied here.
Generally speaking, there are only two genres of literature from the point of view of the written form: poetry and prose. Poetry is mostly a short-in-length piece of written work that contains a fixed number of syllables or stanzas, rhymes and rhythmic patterns. On the other hand, the prose is a commonly long piece of writing which does not need a limited number of words, paragraphs, rhymes or rhythms at all – in other words, it can be composed quite freely. From a subject-matter point of view, literature may be categorized as fiction or non-fiction. In general, fiction includes novels, novellas, stories, short stories, classics, tales, fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, science-fiction, mysteries, fantasies, romances, fables, myths, and legends; non-fiction consists of biographies, autobiographies, textbooks, reference books, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and atlases. Some literature is found to consist of a mixture of poetry and prose, for example, drama, which has four major types _ comedies, tragedies, tragicomedies, and melodramas, to the best of my knowledge.
From Oxford, poetry says poems in general, where the English word `poem´ comes from the French word `poeme´ or the Greek word `poiein´, which means `to make or create´. By Oxford, the word `poem´ is termed a piece of writing in which the words are chosen for their sounds and the images they suggest, not just for their obvious meanings; the words are arranged in separate lines, usually with a repeated rhythm, and sometimes the lines rhyme at the end, depending on how to write poems. What is more, the word `poem´ is defined as a piece of writing that expresses emotions, experiences, and ideas, especially in short lines using words that rhyme or have a particular pattern of sounds, according to Longman relying upon what subject matter is involved in poems. A poet’s choice of words is of vital importance in writing a poem so as to point up his feelings, thoughts and the like to the best of his ability. To my eye, the chosen and written words of a poem seem like the nectar of a flower both of these contain sweetness, that is. Accordingly, a poem can be literally referred to as a bank of nectar.
The prose is of two main forms: the spoken form and the written form. It is reasonable to assume that spoken words existed earlier than written forms just because human beings could possibly speak to each other with sounds and then words many moons ago. Like poetry, the prose is not always short and to the point; its writing is prominently dependent on a few of the five common ways _ descriptive, narrative, imaginative, expository, or causative. In prose are significantly essay writing, article writing and story writing regarding sorts of writing styles besides writers’ own styles of writing.
Including any diverse sentence structure, the free-thinking of a writer is broadly allowed in writing prose, whereas poetic licence to change the normal rules of language is fully given in composing poetry. In spite of this, only prose writing has been playing far and away the most influential role in the world of modern literature until now for the reason that prose is actually seen to be more explicit even for the man in the street by comparison with poetry. It is seriously accepted that prose is still the life of every developing literature. That is also why prose always comes first in the teaching of language professional teachers carry out.
As far as I am aware, there are so many recurrent literary devices, in which `literary devices´ denotes linguistic techniques that writers apply to expressing their ideas and enhancing their writing:1) alliteration, the use of the same letter or sound at the beginning of words that are close together, as in sing a song of sixpence, 2) allusion, something that refers to or mentions another person or subject in an indirect way, 3) anecdote, a very short story that is told to make a point, 4) assonance, the repetition of vowel sounds in non-rhyming words, such as cold and killed, 5) consonance, also the repetition of final consonants of accented syllables or important words, like strong and string, 6) flashback, a scene that happened earlier in time than the main story, 7) foreshadowing, hints or clues in a narrative to suggest what action to come, 8) hyperbole, an exaggeration of facts for seriousness or comic effect, for instance ` His eyes opened wide like saucers.´, 9) imagery, a language that produces pictures in the mind of people reading or listening, for example `The stunning blue waters sparkled with brilliant clarity.´, 10) irony, words that say the opposite of what is really meant, e.g. England is famous for its food., 11) metaphor, a word or phrase in an imaginative way to show that two things have the same qualities and make the description more powerful, e.g. She has a face of jasmine., 12) motif, a subject that is repeated or developed, 13) onomatopoeia, words containing sounds, e.g., cuckoo, 14) oxymoron, a phrase of two words that seem to the opposite of each other, e.g., a deafening silence, 15) paradox, a statement containing two opposite ideas that make it impossible or unlikely, although it is probably true, e.g. More haste, less speed., 16) personification, the practice of representing non-living things as human beings, e.g. grey mist on the sea’s face, 17) satire, a way of criticizing a person, an idea or institution in which humour is used to show their faults or weaknesses, 18) simile, a word or phrase that compares something to something else, e.g. a face like a mask, as white as snow, and 19) symbol, someone or something that represents a more general quality or situation, i.e. Roses have always been a symbol of love.
Perhaps there are four approaches to literature which may be especially done by language learners.
The first approach is literature merely as enjoyment in reading; the second approach is literature as a body of knowledge or as contents; the third approach is purely as language practice material; and the last one is literature as a stimulus for personal development. Whichever approach is made, great works of literature can tell many truths about life, reflect the universal truth that must be accepted by all, represent the majority of people from every corner of the globe, pass alive and kicking through different ages, and even keep world peace. Most but a few language learners tend to find it pretty boring to study literature in that a study on literature is, as usual, so hard to understand the whole lot, particularly due to archaism in this literature, at first; even so, whether or not any literature interests a reader also lies in both his mentor’s method of grasping literature and the subject matter of literature itself. Nevertheless, when some readers have studied literature a lot, they will get that literature very well and enjoy studying literature more than before for certain.
Language researchers, needless to say, should have studied as much literature as they can afford in order to undertake their better research. And everyone must have read a lot of literature with the time of their own so that they will become well-informed readers. Writers also need to read a wide variety of literature, which is written in different languages if at all possible. By doing so, they may certainly get to see their private writing style for the future that is not all the same as those of their former authors. Even translators and interpreters have got to look at more than one literature ad infinitum in order that they will be able to dig up beautiful usages or sentences from various literature, which help boost their writing and speaking. It stands to reason that language teachers had better learn literature as much as they can for it is down to them to capture the essence of the literature about which they deliver a lecture as well. Suffice it to say that it will be worth everybody’s while to read up on colourful literature.