The pace of this extract is quite fast, as the majority of sentences are short and snappy. However, the longer turn by Una towards the end of the extract is quite a complex sentence, as she is trying to excuse the fact that the party theme changed. She is squirming quite a lot, shown by the graphalogical feature of ‘… ‘ to show hesitation for thought, mirroring everyday speech very well.
The blunt, short declarative by Bridget of ‘He had to work’ show the tension, but on the other hand the hyphens between the words when Uncle Geoffrey says ‘How’s-my-little-Bridget?’ portray a more lighthearted sing-songy type approach.
When Geoffrey says ‘Yup, yup. All present and correct, orders obeyed, Lieutenant.’ He is mocking Una as she orders him about, and is clear by the colloquial ‘yup’ softening the impact of the imperative, and therefore making it much more comical and jovial. However there is little evidence of back channel behaviour due to the style of the conversation, which is quite tense.
Although the language is quite formal, used to reinstate the social background, Geoffrey uses a number of nonsense words such as ‘thingummajigs’ and taboo language such as ‘ruddy’ that are quite typical of upper middle class people. The last utterance by Bridget also has connotations that she is feeling ridiculed by her Aunt and Uncle for not telling her about the change in costume, as the force of the utterance is that with family who act as hers do, that she will remain single all her life.
This one sentence sums up her character and feelings without being impolite to her hosts.
This mutter has a great deal of innuendo in it, suggesting that she does not want to be at the party. Uncle Geoffrey I drunk, as the paralinguistic features tell us, and his sing-songy tone ‘How’s-my-little-Bridget? ‘ implies he may be talking to a young girl, when in fact Bridget is not, or that he still views his niece as a child. The conversation flows quite well, although when Geoffrey replies to his wife ‘Yup, yup….. ‘ he flouts Grice’s maxim of relevance in an attempt to be humorous. It could also be seen that when Una says ‘Oh dear, didn’t Geoff call you?’ that she is going against Leech’s tact maxim as It is clear to her that he can’t have been in contact with Bridget. In conclusion, Fielding has portrayed a very realistic approach to dialogue in attempting to make it mirror real everyday talk.
However, as this speech is all pre-determined as it is written in a book, then it is all for a reason, in this case showing Bridget, the main character up in an embarrassing situation. Fielding has clearly addressed all aspects of ‘real’ talk in her dialogue to make it seem more realistic and therefore having a stronger impact on the reader.
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