is english and literature the same thing

is english and literature the same thing

The Distinction between English and Literature

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1. Definition and Scope of English Studies

The practical English orthodoxy incumbent of the lion’s share of public funds from national public funds upwards points to the difficulty of separating the two. But, as a number, are witnessed in regard to post-English graduates, English teachers, critical examiners, the English ‘trade-plus-earnest’ speech, scholars in English literary studies, leads of noted cultural and ‘Letters of humanism and to the activities and publication of societies such as the Australian Academy of the Humanities, the English Association, or many in kind, of semblable bodies, are more concerned with the concept of literature.

The term English in English studies is not identical with the name of a language. The distinction between English and linguistics, together with a distinction between linguistics and philology, produces a concept of various types of investigation on a common theme – an aspect of language. The main categories of English alternatives and models could be redefined in terms of a number of basic approaches to the domain or areas of subject matter, giving us an even more impressive total. This ranges from English teachers, for example, curriculum planners, Arts of Man proponents, New Critics, Socio-biologists, and Psycho-historians to Critical Pathologists, Inc. Others continue to deplore the inherent fuzziness and subjectivity of the domain of English, which invites such diverse pseudo-academic enterprises. Philological elaborates on the concept or extends its frame of reference.

2. Definition and Scope of Literature Studies

Literature studies, as a subject to study literary works, involves the analysis, evaluation, classification, history, connection, mutual influence, and realistic reflection of works in different literary forms. At present, there is no professional specialized subject named “literary studies” in the system of higher education disciplines in China. However, literature has been established for more than 90 years and is the second oldest discipline in the field of humanities. In the specialization of academic disciplines, the concept of working has been extended to “academic research such as literary research.” However, the name of the discipline of literature can represent the consciousness and academic research orientations of the related subjects in the higher education system. In higher education disciplines, there are generally the following names: “Sino-foreign Literature”, “Language and Literature”, and “Chinese and Foreign Literature”, etc. This not only reflects the diversity of research categories of literature but also shows that literature is a plural term of literary study.

In the long history of the humanities and social sciences in China, literature has appeared with the discipline of literary theory. However, literature, especially literary works, is different from disciplines such as terms, categories, methods, and general laws. I still have a vague understanding. The concept of “literature”, in the broad sense, refers to all the language arts of mankind. But here specifically refers to the works in literature, that is, poetry, novels, dramas, and prose. As a means of expressing the content of life, literature should not be confused with books that contain written materials. Instead, it should be judged according to the aesthetic standards of literature itself.

3. Key Similarities between English and Literature

As the previous examples demonstrate, many reasons exist to extend the use of ‘English’ beyond the first omission of ‘literature’ and ‘language’. But for us, the single most important reason for not doing so has to do with how language constitutes what we know and how we otherwise experience. Following Jerome Bruner, Sinclair and Santorio argue that all knowledge is structured narratively and language-shaped. Any theory of learning is a theory of how an individual produces language. Obtaining a degree in ‘English’ makes as little sense as obtaining one in ‘literature’. Only the name ‘literature’ appears to do proper justice to the idea that there are various types of writing (and therefore various types of language). As history, physics, and design are taught at school, so too could well have been geography, biology, and technology there. They can all just as soon claim to be ‘English’. Only if one realizes that texts matter because of what they are and for what they can do will one appreciate and be explicit about what should be part of the English program and what of the Literature.

To appreciate better what studying English and literature involves, and how these subjects relate, consider these probable reasons for the change of name. They stress the distinction between the two types of response, rather than any difference between the texts. Literature is no different from ‘the best that has been thought or said’ and ‘the best literature’. In literature, it is claimed, we find only what is uplifting. Can something else of value occur in what is called English? To suggest it does seem optimistic at best. To refer to studying literature is to make an unsubstantiated claim. Sceptical students might well ask who the authority is, where this approach has been systematically tested and confirmed. But at other times, usually in their dealings with pupils, English teachers have a different valid response. It implies they regard their subject as more deserving of the more general name. Difficulties aside, the subject does include writing. Indeed, it may sometimes be seen as the subject about writing. Texts which are not considered to be literary are studied for what they can provide to the pupils’ writing. Finally, extending the scope of English is a frequent recourse when the subject is badly taught and students are failing promptly.

During the first years at school (up to the age of 11), the subject is called English. Only after this time is the name Literature used. This change of name is important because it warns pupils of a difference, that two different types of work have always been involved in the study of literary texts. It might also make them wonder why this difference exists, and this might be a good question for them to reflect upon – as many English teachers themselves do only rarely.

4. Key Differences between English and Literature

That is what literature is. Literature, whether English literature or other national literatures, or works that are considered classics, if truly they are, are about the attempt of man to fathom the unfathomable, to try and understand or come to terms with themselves. That is what literature is about. Man, his experience to understand his place in the world as well as what the world is all about. But to do this well, the teacher of literature necessarily includes the formal study of English, since the language is the principal medium for clarity of communication.

English and literature are very different things. English is about grammar and speaking, and that kind of nonsensical stuff that no one cares about, especially in the teaching of English. Though by the time Nigerian schools are through with the teaching of that subject, it is not what they would have ultimately learned. English is all about writing and reading. It is a subject primarily built to hone and nurture the child’s skills in writing and give them opportunities to expand their imaginative abilities.

5. The Importance of Studying English and Literature

It is projected that the said demand for linguistics is also true for literature. Literature, separated from English, is generally aimed for a society whereby people are thinking adults who are both critical and are knowledge builders especially in the domain of literature. All this, disengaged from the task of purely learning the truth about language, the only concern of English. This implies literature is not seen solely as a subject to learn and gain knowledge like English. The essential purpose of literature is to encourage and enhance critical thinking, communicate an idea, and to make a statement. Without critical thinking, there can be no discourse in the first place. Any knowledge can only exist in a conjectural area until challenged and debated, and literature gives life to the necessary battle. Consequently, literature consists in the life of thought and communication; values and meaning that exist in the world from human to human.

Discussions have been made on the benefits of studying English, while little attention has been paid to the benefits of studying literature. Of course, there was a time when people studied literature under the umbrella of English, which could justify a focus on the benefits of the larger field of study reinforced by a particular narrower study, literature. However, this is no longer the case in the most recent English curricular documents which explicitly make distinctions between English and literature as two separate fields of study. As a result, what we often explain as the benefits of studying English might not be entirely true for literature, and vice versa. We must recognize that English is neither a general nor distinct field of study. The field is now defined more explicitly as the study of the English language, in particular, the structure, form, communication, and study of language, and the kinship. However, this new definition is still restrictive as it is mostly confined to studying the language in isolation. This is why a further description is given by the revision committee in the form of a section of subtopics such as phonetics, vocabulary expansion, grammar, and language skills. Even in the segregation of topics, linguistics is not given any emphasis; it is still considered part of phonetics.

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