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16/04/2018 22:04 # 1
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[Fshare]Intended to explore the discourse features of English fables

“Language is surely as complex a phenomenon as humans have ever wanted to understand, and so far we haven’t even come close. We have been retarted in this pursuit by what seems to be a scholarly drive to contract, rather than to expand, the field of vision.As soon as one looks beyond sentences one finds oneself forced to stop dealing with artificial data concocted to suit one’s purposes, and to look instead at language in use." (Chafe 1990:21, cited in Nunan 1993:iii) It is obvious that acquiring a language does not merely mean knowing about its pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary. In other words, being able to produce a grammatically correct sentence is not sufficient to use a language communicating successfully with other people. Language learners are supposed to know how to use our linguistic competence in a larger unit of communication, i.e. language in use, or in other words, a discourse, in order to convey our ideas to listeners as well as to obtain others". Chafe's viewpoint cited above puts great emphasis on the importance of language in use over linguistic knowledge. The concepts of discourse and discourse analysis have been paid much attention to by several linguists, such as Brown and Yule (1983), Halliday and Hasan (1976), Hatim and Mason (1990), Cook (1989) , Swales (1990), etc. In their classifications, discourse can be divided into different genres, which are viewed in terms of a set of features which we perceive as being appropriate to a given social occasion (Hatim and Mason, 1990). Each genre of discourse possesses its own discourse features. A fable is “a traditional short story that teaches a moral lesson, especially one with animals as characters" (Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, 2000:470). Short and simple as fables may be, they own their typical features distinguished from other genres of discourse, such as an article or a speech. English fables, however, have not been paid much attention, despite the fact that they represent great potentials for teaching language to learners, especially learners at the elementary level. Actually, they have not been studied systematically. For these reasons, this research is carried out in the hope that an analysis of the discourse features of English fables is helpful for the application of English fables to teach English to Vietnamese learners. It is also expected that the results of the research are of practical value.



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