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Comparison of the spoken language

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  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 730
  • Category: Language

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People change the way they speak depending on their audience. An example of this would be if a teenager was to speak to another teenager then they are likely to use informal language, if the conversation is between an adult and a teenager then the teenager would alter the way the speak to be better understood by their audience. Informal language contains non standard English such as slang. The use of slang means the speaker is in a more relaxed situation and means that their audience understands the way in which they speak.

By using more complex language and not including slang the tone is more formal, a situation of using formal language would be a teenager talking to an adult. In the two examples there are many differences in which people adapt the way they speak depending on their audience. Text A is an exchange of words between a teacher and a pupil, the type of speech is referential which means that the teacher is providing information and giving details about an activity or an event. In this case the teacher is giving feedback to the pupil about his essay.

Text B is a social exchange between two teenagers who are friends. It is an interactional exchange which means the main emphasis of the chat is to catch up on news. In this case the two teenagers are a discussing a holiday and looking at a Facebook photo album of the holiday pictures. In text A the teacher says ‘and you’ve made a cracking point about onomatopoeia in this bit it’s really what you need to say’ this is a semantic field of studying English. The way in which he speaks throughout the text is also very grammatically correct, this is because he is in a formal situation and is an English teacher.

The teacher and pupil have a clear relationship with each other and the lack of interruptions from the pupil shows this. In text B the two girls also have a clear friendship and understanding, they interrupt each other a lot which shows that they don’t need to complete their sentences to understand each other. The girl who went on the holiday says ‘aw right yeah these are the other people from the’ and the second girl who is asking the questions about the holiday interrupts her and changes subject by saying ‘did you get sunburnt much’.

This is not because the girl is being rude, rather it shows that they have a clear understanding of each other and that they are moving onto talk about something else. Text A includes non-verbal fillers from the person listening to encourage the person speaking to continue with what they are saying. Using non-verbal fillers also shows that the person is listening. Even though text A is a formal conversation and the pupil is trying to speak in a correct and mature manner it includes an elision. The pupil says ‘umm you know I found it better cos we’d done the book the’.

The use of ‘cos’ is an elision and is a replacement for ‘because’. The fact an elision has crept in to the conversation shows that the pupil is at ease with the teacher. Text B doesn’t include any elisions however it does include local dialect such as ‘what were it like’ instead of ‘what was it like’ and ‘wi the book’ instead of ‘with the book’. This is local dialect relevant to people from Yorkshire and the way in which they speak. Text B also includes deixis like ‘give us it’ and ‘who’s that’ these phrases cannot be understood by the reader but if you was there in person it would be perfectly clear what they were talking about.

In text A the teacher dominates the conversation, this is evidenced by the pupil clearly listening and waiting for his turn to speak rather than interrupting the teacher. The pupil is looking for reassurance about an essay he has handed in and the teacher uses positive words and phrases like ‘it’s a very strong point’ and ‘you’ve quoted and given a good example’. In text B none of the girls dominate the conversation but the girl who didn’t go on the holiday asks a lot of questions and dictates the topic of the conversation by asking the other girl how many pictures she had taken and then quickly asking what was the food like.

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