SPOKEN V.S. Written Language - PowerPoint Presentation

SPOKEN V.S. Written Language
SPOKEN V.S. Written Language

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Differences Spoken vs Written There are many differences between the processes of speaking and writing Writing is not simply speech written down on paper Learning to write is not a natural extension of learning to speak Unlike speech writing requires systematic instruction and practice Here ID: 644722 Download Presentation


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SPOKEN V.S. Written LanguageSlide2

Differences: Spoken vs Written

There are many differences between the processes of speaking and writing. Writing is not simply speech written down on paper. Learning to write is not a natural extension of learning to speak. Unlike speech, writing requires systematic instruction and practice. Here are some of the differences between speaking and writing that may clarify things for you and help you in your efforts as a writer and speaker.Slide3

Differences: ContinuedSlide6

Glossary: Spoken Language Features

NOTE – this is far from an exhaustive ‘list’ – just some basic terms that students should be familiar

with for analysis of spoken data. Students are reminded, however, of the primacy of context in

studying transcripts – approach such texts with an open mind rather than mechanically applying




The ways in which words are pronounced. Accent can vary

according to the region or social class of a speaker.

Adjacency pairs

Parallel expressions used across the boundaries of individual

speaking turns. They are usually ritualistic and formulaic

socially. For example: ‘How are you?’/ ’Fine thanks’


Words, phrases and non-verbal utterances [e.g. ‘I see’, ‘oh’,

‘uh huh’, ‘really’] used by a listener to give feedback to a

speaker that the message is being followed and understood


A reduced form often marked by an apostrophe in writing – e.g.

can’t = cannot; she’ll = she will. See also





Words such as ‘this’, ‘that’, ‘here’, ‘there’ which refer

backwards or forwards or outside a text – a sort of verbal

pointing. Very much a context dependent feature of talk


Spoken Language Features: Cont.


The distinctive grammar and vocabulary which is associated

with a regional or social use of a language.

Discourse marker

Words and phrases which are used to signal the relationship

and connections between utterances and to signpost that what

is said can be followed by the listener or reader. E.g. ‘first’, ‘on

the other hand’, ‘now’, ‘what’s more’, ‘so anyway’, etc.


The omission or slurring [


] of one or more sounds or

syllables – e.g.


= going to; wannabe = want to be;


= what is up


The omission of part of a grammatical structure. For example,

in the dialogue: “You going to the party?” / “Might be.” – the

verb ‘are’ and the pronoun ‘I’ are missed out. The resulting

ellipsis conveys a more casual and informal tone.Slide8

Features: continued

False start

This is when the speaker begins an utterance, then stops and

either repeats or reformulates it. Sometimes called



See also



Items which do not carry conventional meaning but which are

inserted in speech to allow time to think, to create a pause or

to hold a turn in conversation. Examples are ‘


’, ‘um’, ‘ah’.

Also called

voiced pause


Grice’s Maxims

Grice proposed four basic conversational ‘rules’ [maxims] as

criteria for successful conversation:


[don’t say too

much or too little];


[keep to the point];


[speak in a clear, coherent and orderly way];





Features: Continued


Words and phrases which soften or weaken the force with

which something is said – e.g. ‘perhaps’, ‘maybe’, ‘sort of’’,

‘possibly’, ‘I think’.


An individually distinctive style of


Interactional talk

Language in conversation used for interpersonal reasons



Non-fluency features

Typical and normal characteristics of spoken language that

interrupt the ‘flow’ of talk. Some examples:









[though can be used for emphasis],





Features: Continued

Paralinguistic features

Related to

body language

– it is the use of gestures, facial

expressions + other non-verbal elements [such as laughter] to

add meaning to the speakers message beyond the words

being spoken

Phatic talk

Conversational utterances that have no concrete purpose other

than to establish or maintain personal relationships. It’s related


small talk

– and follows traditional patterns, with stock

responses and formulaic expressions: ‘How are you?’ / ‘Fine’;

‘Cold, isn’t it?’ / ‘Freezing’


An approach to discourse analysis which focuses less on

structures and more on




of people

talking to each other. Crystal: ‘Pragmatics studies the factors

that govern our choice of language in social interaction and the

effects of our choice on others.’Slide11

Features: Continued

Prosodic features

Includes features such as










– which are used by speakers to mark out key

meanings in a message. Essentially, how something is said.


An alteration that is suggested or made by a speaker, the

addressee, or audience in order to correct or clarify a previous

conversational contribution.


A social dialect or variety of speech used by a particular group,

such as working-class or upper-class speech

Tag question

Strings of words normally added to a declarative sentence to

turn the statement into a question. E.g. “It’s a bit expensive

round here, isn’t it?”Slide12

Features: Continued

Transactional talk

Language to get things done or to transmit content or

information [used when the participants are exchanging goods

and/or services]

Turn taking

A turn is a time during which a single participant speaks, within

a typical, orderly arrangement in which participants speak with

minimal overlap and gap between them. The principal unit of

description in conversational structure.


An utterance is a complete unit of talk, bounded by the

speaker's silence.

Vague language

Statements that sound imprecise and unassertive. E.g. – ‘and

so on’, ‘or whatever’, ‘thingummy’, ‘whatsit’Slide13

Spoken Language Study

Spoken language study

The Spoken language study is all about understanding how we speak. It looks at the way 




 is reflected in the way we use language. It also looks at how our language 

changes with society and new technologies


Your assessment will be a response to the use of spoken language – whether it was you or someone else speaking. You might be asked to


the spoken language of a public figure, or to compare two transcripts of spoken language.

Examples of spoken language are all around you. Everything should be based on real-life conversations. You need to keep a record of the kind of words you hear and then


your data as you would any other text. Depending on your exam board you will use a recording, a transcript or your notes and memory.

Studying spoken language requires four different skills:

Listening to how we speak

Capturing data

Understanding different contexts

Considering the impact of social change and technology

The ways in which spoken language changes depends on who is speaking, who they’re talking to and what their purpose is, just like in written language. This is a chance to look at up-to-date and real-life examples of language.Slide14

Listen to how we Speak


language is


in the same way as written language. There are only a few small differences:

Instead of reading and


how a writer writes, you listen to and


how a talker talks. This is called their idiolect.

Speech does not fit into 'genres' in the same way as writing (for example letters, leaflets or magazine articles). Instead, you need to think about the 'context' of where someone is talking (for example a playground, hospital, police station) or the 'mode' of how they are communicating (


face-to-face or online).

As with writing, you still need to think about who the speaker is talking to and what they want out of the conversation.Slide15

Analyze Spoken Language


spoken language

When you


conversations you are looking at things like words, expressions, accent and tone. You then need to hear how they change according 







The factors that influence changes in the way people speak are:

Background: geography, age and social class all influence accent and word choice.

Context: people change the way they speak according to where they are. People will be more informal in playgrounds or pubs. They will be more direct in hospitals where they need to explain important information. They will be more formal in job interviews.

Audience: the way we speak changes according to who we are talking to: friends, adults or people in authority.

Mode: the way we express ourselves changes according to whether we are talking face-to-face or remotely by text or online chat (known as 'multimodal' talk).Slide16

Capturing Data


you know what you are listening out for, you should record the data. You will need to keep it in a form that allows you to refer back to it so you can


it for your assessment. Here are two ideas for doing that:

Transcripts of voice recordings: transcripts are recorded conversations you have written down. You don't need hours and hours of talk but you do need to make sure you write speech down as you hear it - don't correct grammar or add missing punctuation. Transcribe around half a page of speech.

Questionnaire: interview people and capture the data in a grid. Remember you are looking for are variations in vocabulary and accent. You will also need to make a note of the person who is speaking - so you can spot patterns not just in the way individuals speak, but also groups of people.Slide17

Analyzing the Data


English is very different from written English. In written English, words on a page are carefully considered and neatly laid out. Spoken words usually tumble out of people's mouths as they work out what they are trying to say. There are pauses, corrections and fillers such as 'you know' or 'like'. There are requests for patience such as 'hold on', 'wait a minute'. Often people talk over each other. All this depends, of course, on the context. For example, in a law court there are very strict rules about who talks and when.

When you


spoken English focus on:


: volume, pitch, tone, intonation and accent.


: dialect (


Yorkshire, Cornish, Jamaican) or sociolect (


Standard or Multicultural London English), slang, jargon, vague language.


: how does the conversation flow? Are speakers hesitant or fluent? Are there repetitions, false starts, pauses, fillers?


: how do people make a conversation work well? Who dominates and how? Are there questions and interruptions? How do people get involved in the conversation? Are some people shut out?Slide18

Key Terms


- our own particular, personal way of


Dialect - a way of speaking shared by a particular group of people, usually from a particular geographic


Sociolect - a social dialect: a way of speaking shared by a particular group of people from a particular age, ethnic group or social


Vague language - 'whatever', 'sort of', 'like', as well as 'lots', 'plenty' and


Fillers - 'sort of', 'you know', 'like'Slide19

Understanding Different Context

Your speech in context

One question you might be asked to think about is: how do you change your speech and language to fit different situations? You should use the techniques above to think about your word choice and accent in contexts such as


in the classroom

with your mates

with your parents

at the doctors

in front of the head teacherSlide20

Understanding Different Context Cont.

Understanding different contexts

Identifying the features of different kinds of speech is the first step in understanding spoken language. The second is hearing how speech changes to fit different contexts. These can be different places (such as the playground, a doctor's surgery, a law court or a job interview) and different audiences (


adults, friends, potential employers).

Key to each context is purpose - why we are having the conversation in the first place. Are we sharing gossip with friends in order to bond more tightly with our social group? Or boasting of some achievement in order to raise our status within that group? Are we giving or asking for important information? Are we persuading someone we are trustworthy so they will give us a job?Slide21

Spoken Genres

Spoken genres

Another, related question, you might be asked to address is: how does speech change in different genres? This refers to different kinds of speaking, and can include: public talks, political speeches, TV presenters, even school assemblies. With these questions it is important to consider the audience. Notice how the speakers use language that will be understood and accepted by the people they are talking to.

One tip is to notice the dress code. Politicians, for example, like to remove their ties if they are trying to appear more relaxed or 'in touch' with ordinary people (although that raises the question: what do we mean by 'ordinary' people!).

You might also look at the way media


and advertising agencies have started to embrace regional accents. You should note which accents are preferred for which products. Some market research surveys, for example, have suggested that the public trust some accents more than others. In one, a Yorkshire accent was deemed the most trustworthy in the UK, ahead of Newcastle and Welsh.Slide22

Speech Genre: Continued

'Created speech' is another genre you might be asked to look at. This is speech that has been written by scriptwriters to sound like ordinary, everyday speech. It is the type of speech you hear on soap-operas, from Coronation Street to


. There is a great art to making dialogue 'believable' or 'authentic', but how like actual speech is it?

To answer this question you will need to consider the needs of the scripts and the realities of social interaction. A script needs to be clear so that viewers can follow an argument or a plot. Actors therefore tend to take turns in speaking. While this may be true for more formal social situations, it is not generally how we actually speak. Our conversations are marked with overlaps, interruptions, repetitions, false starts and mumbles.

Key terms

Repertoire - the different ways we have of speaking in different contexts

Language routines - what we say when we meet various people (


at the Doctor's: "Good morning, how are you? What seems to be the problem? Really? Yes, ok if you'd just like to roll up your sleeve...")

Shom More....