Studies in Literature, Drama, and Film
Chapter 5. Shakespeare and EFL: A Personal Experience
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SHAKESPEARE AND EFL
A Personal Experience
This paper is based on my experience of teaching Shakespeare to non-native speakers of English in universities in three different Arab countries—Iraq, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates. It tries to explain some of the approaches and areas through which this experience may be of use to others.
Shakespeare’s works are one of the most stimulating and productive vehicles for teaching English as a foreign language. In spite of the initial apprehension of many students of the “difficulty” of Shakespeare’s “old” language, he remains, after those early fears are dispelled by the joy of the full contact, one of the most popular authors in English, surpassing, in this context, even such widely read modern writers as Hemingway or George Orwell.
For EFL purposes Shakespeare’s works cover at least three key domains: the linguistic, the poetic, and the conceptual.
Language registers, the Latinate and the Germanic mix in Shakespeare’s language, his inventive vocabulary, and his store of quotable statements, are only some of the linguistic topics that may be covered in an EFL class. Poetic parallelism and poetic deviation, the myriad uses of metaphor, the genres of poetry and the compact art of the sonnet are entries into the realm of poetry through Shakespeare’s works that have proved to be of immense value in uncovering the pleasant secrets of the English language. ← 45 | 46 →
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