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A recitation in a general sense is the act of reciting from memory, or a formal reading of verse or other writing before an audience. [1] [2]


Academic recitation

Caesar, Bellum Gallicum 1,1, spoken by a German, exaggerated to hear the stressed syllables.

In academia, recitation is a presentation made by a student to demonstrate knowledge of a subject or to provide instruction to others. [3] In some academic institutions the term is used for a presentation by a teaching assistant or instructor, under the guidance of a senior faculty member, that supplements course materials. In recitations that supplement lectures, the leader will often review the lecture, expand on the concepts, and carry on a discussion with the students. [4] [5]

In its most basic form, a student would recite verbatim poems or essays of others, [6] either to the teacher or tutor directly, or in front of a class or body of assembled students.

In classes involving mathematics and engineering, a recitation is often used as the vehicle to perform derivations or solve problems similar to those assigned to the students. [7]

Scientific classes, such as biology, chemistry, and physics, often employ the use of recitation sections to help students clarify subject matter that was either not fully understood or inadequately addressed in the limited time of lecture. These recitation sections may be conducted by the professor or a student teaching assistant. These sections provide students with an opportunity to receive additional instruction on confusing subject matter or receive personal assistance with problems or questions assigned as homework in the lecture section. [8] Some universities may require attendance at regularly scheduled recitation sections in addition to any required labs. [9] Recitations may also provide students with additional opportunities for receiving grades for the lecture portion of the course. Despite mandatory attendance and additional time spent in the classroom, these sections usually do not count towards university credits required for graduation, but may significantly increase a student's ability to understand important concepts required to pass the course.

Religious recitation

Recitations of holy scriptures and prayers are common in the liturgies of Abrahamic religions. [10] [11] [12] [13]


Quran literally means "recitation". [14] [15] The 1924 Cairo Quran, the Quran that is in "general use" throughout almost all the Muslim world today, is based on the "Ḥafṣ" version ("qira'at") based on ʻAsim's recitation, the 8th-century recitation of Kufa. [16] ۞ [17] It uses a system of additional symbols and an elaborate system of modified vowel-signs and for minute details, not identical to any older system. [18]

Recitation as a performing art

Recitation is practiced as a performing art especially in Bangladesh and India. Nowadays it is a popular art form in Bengal. The reciters recite Bengali poems on stage and electronic media. Shambhu Mitra, Kazi Sabyasachi, Pradeep Ghosh, Partha Ghhosh, Gauri Ghosh, Utpal Kundu are great reciters from West Bengal. Reciters like Samiran Sanyal, Bratati Bandyopadhyay, Bijoylakshmi Burman, Pinaki Chattopadhyay, Sutapa Bandyopadhyay, Urmimala Basu, Samya Karpha to name a few, are contributing significantly in this field. There are many such organizations of recitation, with most located in Bangladesh.

It was often popular for a poet to recite his or her newly-created poetry to an audience. In the early twentieth century, recitation developed into an autonomous art form.

Recitationes were a common way for Roman poets to test and publicize their works.


  1. "recitation". (11th ed.). Collins English Dictionary. Retrieved December 7, 2012.
  2. "Recitation". Collins COBUILD Advanced Dictionary (New Digital ed.). HarperCollins Publishers. 2008.
  3. "Leading Recitation - UCAT". Retrieved 2018-07-18.
  4. "Optimizing Recitations | MIT Office of Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming". Retrieved 2018-07-18.
  5. Schaedel, Sydney. "Recitations are a balancing act for students and professors" . Retrieved 2018-07-18.
  6. Pierpont, John (1832) "Preface" The American first class book, or, Exercises in reading and recitation Carter, Hendee & Co., Boston, Massachusetts, pages 3-6 OCLC   12151137
  7. "The Advantages of Recitations in Large Lecture Courses". Retrieved 2018-07-18.
  8. "College Courses and Time Management". ASC Honors. 2015-04-09. Retrieved 2018-07-18.
  9. "Registration - Academic Advising Program". Academic Advising Program. Retrieved 2018-07-18.
  10. Kuipers, Cornelius (1944) "Preface" Christian dialogs and recitations: dialogs, recitations, readings, pageants Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, page 1 and following, OCLC   9054621
  11. Denny, Frederick Mathewson (1989) "Qur’ān Recitation: A Tradition of Oral Performance and Transmission" Oral Tradition 4(1/2): pp. 5-26, page 1
  12. "Encounters with Christ" page 247 In McGinn, Bernard (2006) The essential writings of Christian mysticism Modern Library, New York, pp. 246-250, ISBN   0-8129-7421-2
  13. Martin, Richard (2005). "Tilāwah". In Jones, Linsay (ed.). Encyclopedia of Religion. 13 (2nd ed.). Detroit: Macmillan Reference. p. 9200. ISBN   0-02-865982-1.
  14. Cambridge dictionary: koran
  15. Cambridge dictionary: quran
  16. Böwering, "Recent Research on the Construction of the Quran", 2008: p. 74
  17. Q2:26 Commences with ۞ (1/199) ( rubʿ al-ḥizb ), an Islamic symbol
  18. Stefan Wild, "Reading" The Quran: an Encyclopedia, Routledge

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