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Articolo Dal n° 47:

Introduction: The power of poetry
Poetry can offer the reader or the listener not only entertainment, instruc- tion, intellectual emotions and a variety of aesthetic pleasures, but also inter- cultural, metalinguistic and communicative competences. Widdowson in Ex- plorations in Applied Linguistics affirms that poetry although usually considered either irrelevant to the learning of foreign languages, or as a kind of light entertainment which practical peo- ple need not take seriously, may serve to stimulate interest and can be incorporated as an integrative element into a language course and properly presented, it can serve as an invaluable aid in the de- velopment of communicative competence...

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Englishes numero 47 Englishes n°47
Englishes numero 46 Englishes n°46
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...In the same book Widdowson argues that the difference between the interpetation of poetic and other kinds of discourse is not that we use different procedures, but that in the case of poetic discourse we are more conscious of them: “Interpretation is more problematic and so we are inevitably more aware of the process involved. It is this which gives poetry its potential importance in lan- guage teaching.”2 This faith in the communicative resources and pedagogical potentialities of the rhythmical language is shared by many poets. T. S. Eliot, for instance, states:
I have found sometimes that a piece of poetry, which I could not trans- late, containing many words unfamiliar to me, and sentences which I could not construe, conveyed something immediate and vivid, which was unique, different from anything in English – something which I could not put into words and yet felt that I understood. And on learning that language better I found that this impres- sion was not an illusion, not something which imagined to be in poetry, but something that was really there.

For Peter Levi:
Poetry can do whatever the language can do: a poem is nothing more than someone’s particular human speech in which the pressure of rhythm, alliteration and formal repetition have set up a counterpoint between the movement of his thoughts, his own presence and a smell and linguistic habits, and a certain iron musical phrasing. A poem can work in any area of life and any area of language.

The didactic valencies of poetical texts, are tied mainly to the hold that po- etry has on memory. This is particularly evident in mnemonic verse that can be used in foreign language teaching. The process of memorization is due to many factors and above all to rhythm, rhyme and sound devices...

anteprima articolo dal n°47
Giuseppe G. Castorina

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