chapter  2
11 Pages

‘The dress of thought’

Analysing literature through a linguistic lens
WithDebra Myhill, Annabel Watson

This chapter will outline how linguistic analysis of text can support young people’s interpretations and critical engagement with literature. In general, literature teachers are very at ease introducing a wide range of literary metalanguage for analysing text: indeed, this is often perceived as an important induction into the discourse of literary criticism. However, teachers are less likely to draw on linguistic metalanguage or to explore how linguistic choices are part of authorial crafting and shaping of text. Drawing on several research studies, this chapter will illustrate the complementarity of literary and linguistic approaches to literature, and signal the social semiotic affordances of close engagement in the teaching of literature with how language makes meaning.