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RUNNING HEAD: Non-native Literatures in English as a Resource for Language Teaching

Critique on Non-native Literatures in English as a

Resource for Language Teaching


By Prof. Jonathan Acua Solano
Sunday, June 7, 2015
Twitter: @jonacuso
Post 174

Brumfit (1986) describes an attempt to reject set books approach to teaching


literature and suggests to develop with students an attitude to works of literature. The
problem with Brumfits idea is that, though he wants to give learners freedom of choice
when it comes to selecting literary pieces, he continues to circumscribe students within
the idea that we should teach real English literature (Kachru, 1980), an idea that many
literature instructors hold. However, Kachru (1986) proposes a very different way of
dealing with literary studies: the use of non-native English texts in the classroom.
What are the benefits of using a corpus of literary works that include non-native
English texts? For Kachru (1980), the inclusion of non-native texts imply relevant areas
Prof. Jonathan Acua Solano

RUNNING HEAD: Non-native Literatures in English as a Resource for Language Teaching

of ethnography of communication, language pragmatics, and the sociology of language.


In the eyes of Kachru (1980), nativization or the use of English by non-native speakers
to write literature can also expose non- and native readers to lexical innovations,

translation equivalences, contextual redefinition, and rhetorical and functional styles.


The use of such non-native literary texts, then, provides a challenge not only to the nonnative teachers and learners, but also to teachers and learners who use English as their
native language (Kachru, 1980).

If non-native literary texts were included in a course syllabus or school curricula,


would it have an impactful effect? The imminent result of the use of this kind of literatures
is that learners can also be trained cross-culturally or even intra-culturally. In the case of
the Costa Rican teaching context, several pieces have been written by members of the
Afro-Costa Rican community that can enrich our mestizaje heritage. For example, Dixon
(2004) focuses on the literary contributions of Afro-Costa Rican writers and how their
treatment of place, language and nation configure a cultural identity that is no longer
West Indian and is in contestation with the dominant Europeanized culture of Costa Rica.
The promising of using non-native literary texts is immense and potentially fruitful in
many senses.
As Kachru (1980) concludes, the use of this kind of literatures provides learners,
a repertoire of resources for providing linguistic and cross-cultural explanations.
Students can then be exposed to how English is modified, innovation in writing styles and
its effect on comprehension, and what is meant by acculturation on English in nonEnglish social and cultural contexts (Kachru, 1980).

Prof. Jonathan Acua Solano

RUNNING HEAD: Non-native Literatures in English as a Resource for Language Teaching

Brumfit, C. (1986). Wider Reading for Better Reading: An alternative approach to


teaching literature. Literature and Language Teaching. Edited by Brumfit & Carter.
Oxford: OUP
Dixon, K. (2004). Mestizaje and Racial Categories as Hegemonic Forms of
Representation in Costa Rican Literature. A Contra Corriente. Spring 2004 at
http://www.ncsu.edu/acontracorriente/spring_04/Dixon.pdf
Kachru, B. (1980). Non-native Literatures in English as a Resource for Language
Teaching. RELC Journal December 1980 11: 1-9, doi:10.1177/003368828001100201

Prof. Jonathan Acua Solano