Why Literature in a Language Department?
Chung-hsuan TungAbstractThis paper aims to explain why literature is taught in a language department. Three great reasons are given in it. First, a literature course is “practical” in a language department, since the language usedin literature is usually not quite different from the language used in ourdaily life. Literary fictionality is not equal to impracticality; the speech acts in literature resemble the speech acts in real life. Second, a literature course is pleasurable as well as practical, since literature is to delight and instruct at the same time. A literary work can indeed help teach a language through its delightful form and content. Third, aliterature course can be more holistic than a linguistics course or a language-training course, since it provides us not only with literary knowledge but also with general knowledge in life and for life. A literary text can be used to teach grammar, rhetoric, and pragmatics at once. It contains truth, beauty and goodness. It can help develop the students’ linguistic competence, literary competence, and communicative competence. Confucius knew the importance of literature to language education a long time ago. Modern language teachers are following Confucius if they stress the importance of literature and use literary texts as language-teaching material. Keywords:1. literature 2. language-teaching 3. holistic 4. linguistic competence 5. literary competence 6. communicative competence