Resources for Dealing Directly with Specialist Language Style

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Resources for Dealing Directly with Specialist Language Style As previously detailed, there are numerous problems for students attempting to access the specialist language of English. One of the most difficult problems for students to overcome is the language and style of William Shakespeare’s plays. The three biggest problems that students face when reading Shakespeare are the Elizabethan language, the use of iambic pentameter and the use of themes. It is important that teachers develop resources and strategies to assist students in overcoming these language barriers. To overcome the language barriers of Elizabethan English, teachers must provide students with the greatest possible opportunities for understanding. By using a Shakespearean glossary such as that featured in the appendix, students are able to gain knowledge of the meaning of frequently used words in Shakespearean texts such as anon and doth. When students learn the meaning of these common words, much of the ambiguity of the language and its overall meaning is taken away. A number of teaching strategies could be used to introduce this resource to students. One of the most effective ways is to turn the resource into a trivia game. By putting students into groups of four, calling out a word from the Elizabethan English list and asking students to respond with the words meaning from modern English, students are given the greatest opportunity to learn the words’ meanings. Students are also given a cooperative, motivated and enjoyment focused learning environment. The use of iambic pentameter, while adding much to the meaning of Shakespeare’s texts, is extremely difficult for students to read. If the beats and punctuation of writing are read incorrectly, it could change the meaning and interpretation of much of the play. For this reason, it is essential that teachers provide students with activities and exercises that will increase their knowledge of how to read this difficult rhyming pattern. Resources such as ‘rules for reading Shakespeare’ and ‘how to read a poem’, found in the appendix, are ideal for students to learn how to go about reading Shakespeare.
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