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Aesthetic Response of Language Learners to Stylistic Devices

June Kai Sing Chiang, Malini Ganapathy and Debbita Ai Lin Tan

Pertanika Journal of Social Science and Humanities, Volume 28, Issue S2, December 2020

Published: 18 March 2020

Graded readers, termed Language Learner Literature (LLL), are used mainly for extensive reading. To engage language learners, they rely upon strong plots and readable language. Rosenblatt’s transactional reader response and Miall and Kuiken’s foregrounding theories support the notion that stylistic devices have the capacity to create evocation, which could heighten the reading experience. The use of literary language in graded readers has been a contentious issue, due to its potential of affecting readability. Nevertheless, studies have shown that readers are capable of responding to stylistic devices regardless of their language characteristics. This study, therefore, investigated language learners’ aesthetic response to stylistic devices. Employing an adapted 5-point Likert-scale questionnaire, a survey was carried out on 54 language learners at a tertiary institution to obtain their response towards two versions of a story: one with figures of speech, the other, without. Eight expressions with figures, and their corresponding expressions without them, were also tested on the respondents. The percentages and mean scores generated from the data indicated that stylistic devices do heighten learners’ aesthetic reading experience. About three-quarters of the respondents favoured the version with stylistic devices. The results suggest educators should consider the use of literary language in graded readers.

ISSN 0128-7702

e-ISSN 2231-8534

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