The language used by Lord Sugar and the Apprentice contestants reflects on their role in the boardroom in a variety of ways; Lord Sugar’s language portrays him as being totally in charge and the vocabulary used by the candidates shows their anxiety. The body language they display also helps to reinforce their roles. Lord Sugar is obviously in control of the entire boardroom, he shows this through his choice of spoken language and body language; by saying “can I clarify one thing”.
This reminds the candidates of Lord Sugar’s powerful position and where the future employee will stand with him; this also provides a challenge to the eager entrepreneurs which they will enjoy. By him saying this, Lord Sugar is reasserting his authority and dominating the whole room. Lord Sugar appears as a dictator because he sets all the boundaries of the tasks, the timing, the teams, the rewards and humiliating the team that fails to win the task. By humiliating them, it makes them look like puppets in his game, as it is his TV show.
However he is not completely in control as it seems, he doesn’t attend the tasks and he also gets assistance from colleagues in interview week and most of the editing is done by actual editors not himself. Lord Sugar also uses long utterances, showing his control over the candidates, as Lord Sugar is the one who is the least interrupted, also indicating that the contestants respect him. The word “clarify” to make clearer or to understand; he uses this as a word that will give him power and control over the contestants.
Again this undermines them as Lord Sugar is showing them up by having to explain things to the candidates. By using “can” it suggests that Lord Sugar is trying to be softer on the candidates by suggesting that he knows what his role is, putting them back in their place doing so in firm way. Jim shows his fear of Lord Sugar by being very defensive in his speech, when he has clearly done something wrong so he is trying to cover it up. I can tell he is very defensive in his speech because he says “Lord Sugar with the greatest respect that’s an exaggeration”.
Jim is trying to persuade Lord Sugar he is incorrect in his thinking. However, Lord Sugar is not taking what Jim has said into account. Even though Jim is trying to tell Lord Sugar he is wrong in his thinking, he still addresses Lord Sugar in a formal way, this is most likely because he feels threatened by Lord Sugar and knows he has the power to ‘fire’ Jim, this is due to the control Lord Sugar has over the contestants. So Jim knows he must consistently respect Lord Sugar, even though he can say what he wishes to.
Jim uses a very anxious tone to say this quote; this suggests he is trying to cover up he has done something wrong. Jim accuses the other contestants, trying to get himself out of trouble, he knows that if he -takes the blame Vincent is more likely to take him back in to the boardroom. The word “exaggeration” means Lord Sugar is making a bigger deal out of a situation than it actually is.
This could also suggest Jim is trying to show up Lord Sugar as someone who over-exaggerates. Lord Sugar comes across as being a very controlling person, however by doing so he keeps everyone on task. We’re in this task” later on, he proceeds to say “yeah I want you to focus on this task”. Lord Sugar indicates he is controlling the conversation, making sure he is getting all the information he needs to judge them. He is also making sure they don’t argue too much by restricting the time limits. Also by keeping them on topic it is a lot harder for the contestants to try and avoid telling Lord Sugar the truth, therefore they will admit to anything they have done wrong. Lord Sugar is also sitting at the head of the table so this also helps him to keep his control because it gives him a sense of power.
The style and height of his chair also makes the contestants feel controlled because it makes Lord Sugar look as if he is looking down on the contestants and he is better than them. The word “we’re” shows that Lord Sugar is also putting himself into the situation and making himself part of it, it is also a formal command and addressing the group as a whole. He is also deciding for them. He uses this word because he is trying to be more approachable, so by adapting his language he makes the contestants feel more off guard.
Lord sugar uses the word “yeah” to show he is acknowledging what the candidates have to say, at the same time using an informal tone, attempting to engage them. Karen Brady and Nick Hewer are portrayed as Lord Sugar’s support team; they step in whenever Lord Sugar does pick something up. “But that’s the point isn’t it” later on she then proceeds to say “but is it your name yes or no Jim? ” Nick says “The vet said universal dog food it’s against everything we believe in”. They are Lord Sugar’s support team because they pick up on anything Lord Sugar has not said.
This then helps to interrogate the contestants even move because Nick and Karen don’t say much, however they are listening to the conversation constantly, so if any other contestants slip up in what they say either Karen or Nick will pick up on it, making Lord Sugar seem even more patronising as he has back up and the contestants are supposedly fighting one another therefore not backing up. In addition to this they are both there when the teams do the challenges so they can feedback from what went wrong during the challenges.
Nick and Karen sit either side of Lord Sugar; this makes Lord Sugar even more superior to the contestants because Karen and Nick act as Lord Sugar’s eyes. When Karen says “your name” she is obviously pointing the blame at Jim and showing Lord Sugar it is only Jim’s idea and she singles him out, this then makes Jim feel pressured. Karen asks Jim a closed question “yes or no” she directly aims it at him and only gives him two answers, indicating that he needs to stop beating around the bush and give a direct answer.
Tom attempts and succeeds to shift the blame to Vincent; this suggests that Tom is fearful towards Lord Sugar. “Yeah I tried to persuade Vince”. Tom shifts the blame onto Vincent because Vincent was project manager and he took responsibility for the strategy of every dog being too broad. When the candidates are in the Boardroom they will do anything to ensure they do not get fired, so they try to shift the blame to someone else. The project manager is automatically selected for the final three as they are ultimately responsible for the failure of the task.
Therefore focussing the blame onto Vincent, means he is more likely to get fired. Tom sat upright in the chair showing that he was alert and focused. He uses a bit of informal language to show he is saying casually what happened and tries to show that Lord Sugars intimidating manner doesn’t faze him. The words “I tried” have obvious connotations because Vincent didn’t listen to Tom’s opinion and if he did the result or outcome may have been different. Tom informally addresses Vincent by calling him “Vince” as this is what his friends would call him, so Tom is attacking Vincent indirectly and in a friendlier way.
In conclusion the language used by Lord Sugar and the Apprentice contestants is quite confrontational and at times aggressive, when Lord Sugar points out individual failing, which makes the contestants, feel very vulnerable; they will always try to shift the blame. Therefore Lord Sugar has the ultimate power and dominance in the boardroom as he selects who is fired. Karen and Nick act as Lord Sugar’s Aids and observers. The candidate’s role in the boardroom is not to get fired; therefore they will fight their corner vigorously. As no one wants to be in the final three and ultimately fired.
Courtney from Study Moose
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