Language is the blood of every culture, tradition and society. It plays a vital role in establishing social relations through effective communication and interactions and provides identity in a society. The absence of this can be felt only by the people with speech or hearing disabilities who participate but only partially in social interactions. In India, we have English as a common language that bridges this gap.
The Indian government has framed curricula to include and teach English from primary level onwards but a few states are still reluctant to adopt English at primary level. Other states have introduced the teaching of English at all levels. In order to facilitate easy ...view middle of the document...
According to Onukaogu (1999) literature is categorized into four, namely fiction, fact, content area text and newsreel. Fiction consists of poetry, prose and drama.It has been observed that literature has been seen from different perspectives by literary writers and experts.Pearse defines literature as written or oral composition deriving from and mirroring a society and the historical experiences of the society and its people. Corbin (1996) sees it as an experience and imagination. Some other researchers see it as a body of written texts produced by a culture and highly valued within that culture over a period of time as part of its literary heritage (Sivasubramaniam, 2006). Hence, in offering English literature as a subject, works of writers such as Shakespeare, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Tagore etc. become the essentials in the understanding of English language as a second language as such literatures clearly represent the traditions, customs and cultural heritage of people.
Problems of learning ESL in India
We had been using English language for the past three to four centuries but still, it is considered as a foreign language and therefore, a crucial decision has been taken to include English language in the curriculum of all levels of education primary, secondary and higher institutions.Despite these efforts, learning of English Language has remained a colossus task, especially in rural areas. There is an increase in English language proficiency among students of urban areas but condition is still the same in rural areas because when it comes to the use of English language in schools and colleges their awareness and competence is far from the expectations.
Language and Literature: Two Sides ofa Coin
The reading of literature is an interesting activity and an active process where learner develops his/her vocabulary, knowledge and comprehension skills. This promotes innovative learning as the learnersare free to take significant stand towards interpreting meanings which makes them see literature as a personal experience and take responsibility of their learning.
If the purpose of learning a language is communication and literature is communication, then the two are two sides of a coin, which are not separable (Adesuyi, 1991). When people speak, read novels, newspapers, etc., language is being used to express their thoughts and experiences. The language of a people replicates their idiosyncrasy as part of anarea, society or a country, which is emulated in their norms, beliefs, customs, traditions, culture, tastes and preferences. These are very well expressed in literary texts, especially fiction. A language therefore, is both a component of culture and a central network through which other components are expressed (Lado, 1964).
Experts are of the firm opinion that the knowledge of literature primarily prepares the foundation for language learning. Literature does not confine its area to entertainment, but enhances students’ general use of...