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Slide 1

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Language and
Power…read more

Slide 2

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Address Forms
An imbalance in address form often indicates
a difference in status.
For instance, you might address your
boss/teacher by a more formal term of
address e.g. `Sir' or `Mrs Baker', but they
would usually call you by your first name.
The person in the superior position may allow
you to call them by a more symmetrical form
of address (e.g. "You can call me Andy") but
this can only be initiated by them.
Younger family members address older family
members by titles e.g. `Grandpa', `Mummy',
`Aunt Muriel', whilst the reverse rarely occurs
(`son' is sometimes used, but never
`daughter').…read more

Slide 3

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Instrumental vs. Influential
Instrumental Power Influential Power
Instrumental power is explicit power Influential power is not imposed but
imposed by the state/authoritative influences people to do a certain
figure e.g. education, law, action (e.g. vote for a political party
businesses, management. or wear certain clothes).
Flouting instrumental power can It can often be found in
result in some form of punishment, advertisements, politics and media
which (depending on the context) as well as modern culture and
could be anything from being social protocol.
reprimanded to being arrested.
People have the choice whether to
conform as there are no fixed
sanctions if they choose to
"disobey". However, people can
feel pressured to accept as not
complying may lead to negative…read more

Slide 4

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Power in Conversation
Initiating/Changing/Closing Topics
Controlling which topics are talked about can be a sign of dominance and may reflect a
superior status e.g. a teacher deciding the topic of a lesson.
Speech Length
In many circumstances the person who speaks for the longest amount of time holds the
most power (e.g. a manager talking to a group of employees) as they expect to be listened
to. However, in different contexts the person who speaks for the shortest length of time is
the most powerful (e.g. an interviewee is likely to talk longer even though the interviewer is
in the position of power).
Question Asking
Asking direct questions towards someone can indicate a higher status e.g. a doctor asking
a patient about a condition. This demonstrates power as the questioner expects to receive
information or compliance from the recipient.
People with a higher status are more likely to interrupt another speaker as they may feel
what they have to say is either more important, or what the other person is saying is
somehow invalid or not relevant.…read more

Slide 5

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Non-verbal Power
Official layouts including aspects such as tables, logos, positioning of contact
details/account information/etc. and formal typeface can give the reader an
impression of the importance of the content or producer of the the text e.g. formal
letters from large organisations.
Appearance and Body Language
People can gauge how powerful someone may be from their appearance. For
instance, uniforms and formal attire can come across as dominant e.g. police
uniforms or suits. Dressing fashionably has always been a sign of status and is
associated with wealth (usually a high ranking position) and confidence.
We can both consciously and unconsciously interpret body language through
gestures, movement, expression and posture, which can relay mood, intent and
attitude towards something (e.g. someone rolling their eyes can signal annoyance).
Prosodic Features of Speech
The tone and volume of speech can be linked to power. A loud, aggressive tone
might indicate a more powerful position (e.g. an officer interrogating a suspect). Other
features of prosody include aspects such as rhythm and emphasis (which can
indicate sarcasm). In written language prosodic features are often indicated by
symbols and typographic features e.g. underlining for emphasis.…read more




This was really helpful.




thought there would be more content, eg features of power from each framework

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