The way in which we speak now has developed noticeably over the years from the way in which we use to fifty years ago so much so that it has almost entirely become another language. During the course of this essay i will be analysing the spoken language between both the liverpodlian teacher, student interview and the Lancastrian teenagers’ exchange of ideas by commenting on how they both use linguistic devices such as fillers, Standard English, modern slang, power and dominance; how they adapt their language to suit different situations and exploring why they do so.
In the Lancastrian transcript an informal tone of voice is used amongst the teenagers signifying that they are friends who are verbally free with one another. The fact that they do not change the way in which they talk is due to the informality of the situation. Throughout this transcript there is no clear purpose as the topic selection seems to be spontaneous; from this I can infer that they are having an organic conversation in order to engage their target audience.
Although the obvious target audience for this transcript are teenagers, adults are also aimed at through the lack of colloquial language and use of fillers. In the liverpodlian transcript a formal tone of voice is used amongst the student and teacher indicating a sign if intelligence. The fact that the student formally adapts their spoken language is to suit the situation of an interview making her appear well educated and elegant. The purpose of this transcript was for the teacher to inform and entertain the listeners on how teenagers use to live back in the days without developed technology.
In transcript 5 a well-built personal relationship between the teens is portrayed. Implying that they are comfortable and used to one another’s company. Through the use of pause we can tell that there’s a great understanding amongst the teens. An example of this is when T says “I’ve got stuff planned but (…) I can’t really say on the er”, the fact that the other participant in the transcript understand what T is trying to put across without him having to finish his sentence or explaining himself shows how they are from the same age group and how alike they are. The phrase “I can’t really say on the er” may shows that the boys have been instructed to not talk about inappropriate things.
This contradicts the fact that they are meant to be having an organic adolescent banter as there is no use of foul language or inappropriateness which is vertically impossible for teens to do. In this transcript there is no hesitation between the teens indicating that they do not lack self confidence around their friends. The fact that they do not hesitate but laugh to change the subject shows that they have been bought up to speak their minds however they do not do this in a way that would cause any tensions in their group.
On the other hand, transcript 7 exhibits a typical teacher student relationship, because of the informality between the students and the teacher. there are many reasons why the students feel the need to adapt their informal language to standard English, it may be to suit the situation of an interview, to appear intelligent, to jus converge with the teacher or it may just be the pure fact that they are not at ease with her as she is a qualified adult and not their friend. Unlike the one shown in transcript 5 there is no personal understanding shown by the participants; however there is an educational understanding amongst them as the students know that the teacher is in charge and above them. This is shown when the teacher instructs the students to “go on”. The fact that they obey this order illustrates the amount of respect they hold toward her.
The use of pauses unmasks the fact that there is no personal; relationship because when student A leaves a sentence unfinished and unexplained the teacher struggles to understand. This is demonstrated when A says “did you use to be…oh!” The teacher says “did you use to be what?” Through this quotation we see that student A gets carried away and forgets that she has to adapt her spoken language from what it is normally. This demonstrates the strong influence that the teacher has on the way in which the talk. This is a clear example of how languages is used to influences other speakers and listeners! Also the language and how comfortable the teacher is in her language are affected by the way the students speak and the questions in which they ask. As soon as the teacher gains confidence in her speech the formal and straight forward tone of voice of the students brings her back and adds tension to the conversation “Old fashioned in a way not old fashioned”
This is different from transcript 5 as the students cannot laugh about the situation as they have adapted there language to a formal one. Moreover, another reason for this response from the teacher is probably due to the fact that she feels embarrassed we know this because she constantly says “60’s” and “80’s” instead of specifying a time. I believe that she says that to maintain the idea of her youthfulness in the teen’s minds. The student may also be altering voices to the actual situation as their ideas are continuingly differs. Examples of this include “A belly or a ballet” and “surf the internet” These quotes demonstrates how the teens in this transcript are trying to change the subject of the conversation without offending their teacher unlike the approach taken in transcript 5.
Moving on, in transcript 5 we notice that there are hardly any fillers used by the teenagers in the conversation. Showing us that it is not a necessity for them to change their language because they are naturally comfortable and familiar with one another. Another reason why they tend not to use fillers is because they don’t need to think about what they are to say as there’s no need for them to be careful around each other as they are close friends .this also shows that there is no pretence in their conversation. Furthermore the contrast between C and the rest of the participants’ is supported by the fact that he had to use a filler “anyway anyway” t o redirect the conversation. C uses these fillers to get everyone silent so that he can be the centre of attention or because he is trying to buy time to think of a new topic of discussion.
In contrast to this, transcript 7 utilises many fillers within language. There could be many reasons for this including: the fact that they are not comfortable with one another, because they are trying to past the time or because they use this as the teacher’s que for the submission, leaving time for other participants to interrupt or dominate the conversation, which is the opposite to what C was doing in transcript 5. The fact that the filler “erm”is used a lot suggest that the teacher is trying to be careful to how she responds to their questions making sure she answers with appropriate answers . Therefore showing that she is monitoring and controlling how she expresses herself.
At times this technique succeeds as the teacher uses it to reengage the students back into the conversation” so erm B: what did you do for entertainment?” this is an example of how language is used to influence other speakers and listeners; also the techniques of fillers used by the teacher enables one of the purpose of informing to come to pass as more information is gained through the interest of the students and the questions they ask. Although the teacher takes time to filter whatever comes out of her mouth she still unconsciously makes silly mistakes such as “we used to do the alphabet you know, 2 times 2 is 4”. This is probably because she is too focused on giving the students complex formal answers.
In both text fillers have been used as techniques to dominate conversations. Within transcript 5 T and C are generally the most dominate participants, we witness a power struggle, and this differs from that in transcript 7 as there is a fight to gain domination in text 5 yet a fight to domination in text 2. Domination of conversation enables the purpose of both transcript to be achieved as it leads participants’ into informing and even sometimes entertaining.
The domination of T in transcript 5 is often supported by D For instance when T says “what are you doing?” This question is deflected directly by D, who repeats almost exactly the same question back at him. The fact that he doesn’t answer shows divergence as if he is trying to redirect the dialogue and give T dominance. This leaves T in a position, where he is forced to answer the question and responed thereby initially leading the conversation. Here they are responding to the forced situation, as they are perhaps reluctant to speak casually with the recorder present. It could suggest that T is possibly taking on a role that he is not used to or alternatively that he is usually the more dominate one in the dialogue amongst peers. In the transcript 5 J only speaks twice and when he does he only flows with the conversation (“I love bacon”, “lol”).
This shows that his selfless and that his more of a listener than a speaker. As the other teenagers get more comfortable, they start to take more dominance and become less submissive. The fact that they start using assertive language and interruption probably means their reflecting their natural flow during the discussion when the recorder is absent. Later on C realises T’s technique and therefore finds his own which is to use interruption to gain power within the conversation. This shows that he is either trying to annoy T and D or may be the simple fact that his urging to get his point across.
Similar to transcript 5 in transcript 7 the teacher is given the front seat the position of dominance and is supported by the students. Here the idea of power and dominance is contradicting and questioned because although the students are the one changing the topics they are not dominate in contrast to transcript 5 where the person changing the topic was the one with the most authority at the time. This idea causes submission to take place between both the students and the teacher but as we look closely at the transcript we have to ask ourselves who really changes the subject first? The teacher initiates control of the conversation saying “go on “forcing the teenagers to take on a more formal persona as opposed to their giggling natural state. Throughout the transcript the teacher tries to encourage the students to dominate the conversation she does this by following their lead and at times even copies they ways in which they talk “ A yeah.
B yeah, we had to do that. Teacher yeah” This is the exact same thing that D does with T in transcript 5 “T recoding, D recording”. In transcript 5 repetition is used as the teens code as they understand each other whereas in transcript 7 it is used as an ice breaker maybe showing that the teacher has realised that the student have adapted their language and were not comfortable. Moreover the technique of power and dominance does not work as the students continuously go into new topics this may be that they just want to get the interview over and done with or that they just want to remain formal due to the purpose and the audience of their transcript. Lastly the teacher uses open questions and answers demanding responses and interruption from the students “don’t the “however the students do not interrupt showing how unsuccessful this technique is. The fact that they do not converge with the teacher shows that they do not want to drag the conversation or it may be that they are nervous.
The fact that there’s hardly any interruption shows a limitation in the relationship of the students and the teacher this may be due to their ages as the teacher is older the students feel that they cannot relate to her. The fact that they do not interrupt her shows that they have adapted their language as teenagers tend to talk over one another, not to be rude but just because it is a habit as supported in transcript 5 but moving from that stereotype this also show that the teenagers are more respectful in transcript 7 than in 5, as they freely talk without interrupting others and they continuously have a formal tone showing that they are prepared and well instructed.
Courtney from Study Moose
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