language and occupation


Maxims- theory

maxim of manner - avoid ambiguity and obscurity 

maxim of relevance - must be relevant to ongoing context 

maxim of quantity - not saying more nor less than what is needed 

maxim of quality - should be truthful 

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conversation theory

Accomodation theory - Howard Giles 1970

' we accomodate our audience'

convergence - move language to match that of their audience 

1. downward convergence - accent more regional and try to wipe out RP elements 

2. upward convergence - more refined accent and try to wipe out regional elements 

3. mutual convergence - both parties alter their speech 

divergence - moves language away from that of their audience 

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key terms

implacature - seem like you are not cooperating but actually you are; this relies on shared understanding 

politeness - broad term for the sensitivity we show others in conversation 

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Irving Goffman 1955


we present an image of ourselves to others that changes in different situations 

cooperation principle says we respect and accept peoples presentation of face 

FACE threatening act; 

refusing the face we are being offered and mocking or challenging it 

(rare as people dont want there face challenged)

(maintains status)

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Brown and Levinson 1987

positive politeness; 

1. show people they are liked and admired 

2. compliments 

3. social superior reducing distance 

Negative politeness; 

1. shown when we want to avoid intruding on others lives e.g excuse me before speaking 

2. results in indirect language that is apologetic and respectful 

3. keeping titles e.g miss 

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Robin Lakoff 1973


3 rules that conversation follows; 

1. dont impose - e.g im sorry to bother you 

2. give options - avoid forcing someone into a corner e.g its up to you 

3. make the reciever feel good - things we say to show appreciation e.g what would i do without you 

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there is a shared language between people who share a community. they are described as ' groups that have goals or purposes and use communication to achieve these goals' 

Drew and Heritage 1993 - SHARED INFERENCES 

there is a shared level of communication based on the working environment and the context - 'things can be implied rather than spoken' 


for any occupational relationship to be successfull there needs to be interpersonal relationships in order to get shared goals achieved. - ' people have to be collaborative in the work place' 

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Features of written occupational language

Modal verbs 


Pronouns - often to converge 

Imperative verb 

Occupational lexis 

variety and complexity of sentence structure 

standard clear font 

lexis relying on shared knoweledge 

Jargon/specialist lexis 

Coded language 


clear precise language that avoids ambiguity 

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Features of written occupational language continue

Politeness markers 

standard english/ colloqiulisms 




terms of adress 

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how is written language different to speech?

status/ structure 

  • writing has a higher status as it is taught more formally and important documents are written - olden days only rich people could delay work and get an education 
  • writing - formal, strict rules, formal tone - speech - digression, colloqiul frequency and different voices 


  • no record of spoken text - changing with voice recordings 
  • written text is recorded permanantley and can be referred to 


  • speech - closer to the person so more engaging and personal - speech can digress more - fluid 
  • write to people who arent close - physically or metaphorically -reaches wider audiences e.g newspapers

influence on each other 

  • articulate well = well educated - writing helps vocab 
  • neologism(new word) - starts in speech- gains status if infused with writing 
  • social media influence - biggest 
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accent, sociolect, dialect and idiolect

Accent - way you say something 

Dialect - the words you say 

Sociolect - the way a certain group says something 

Idiolect - way an indicidual says something 

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Types and Functions of spoken language


  • spontaneous 
  • prepared 
  • monologue - one person 
  • dialogue - more than one person


  • Referential - provide information 
  • Expressive - shows the speakers feelings 
  • Transactional - Verbal exchange between 2 or more people trying to get something done 
  • Interactional - similar to transactional but is as social interaction between friends 
  • Phatic - 'small talk' - devoid of serious content but plays an important role in establishing and maintaining social interactions 
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Influences of spoken language

Speaker identity -  aspects of a persons identity influences the way a person speaks e.g occupation or social group 

context  - broad term for the situation in which conversation occurs 

Audience - who is the speaker adressing - relationship,dominance 

Setting - formality - interview compared to a party 

Topic - the subject being discussed influences lexis 

Purpose - different languages used for the hoped outcome 

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Spontaneous speech

Lexis - word choice

  • vocab often more colloqiul and uses contractions 
  • phatic expression - small talk 
  • deictic expression - often relates to time and place and wouldnt make sense out of context e.g now, tomorrow, that, there 

Grammar - much less organised and is often overlapping 

  • interrupted construction - when one idea is abandoned for another e.g i think you could have - you should have 
  • disjointed construction - when one idea is linked to another without a connective e.g he knows about computers - how to fix them 
  • imcomplete construction - were grammatical elements are missing e.g seen tom? 
  • Non standard grammar - reflects informality of speech e.g we was late 
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Non fluency features -inevitable features of spoke


  • words or expressions which have very little meaning e.g i mean, you know, like 


  • give speaker time to think 
  • soften a blunt statement 
  • way of involving the listener 

Filled pauses 

  • Hesitations such as Um and Er 

Unvoiced pauses

  • a silent pause 

Unintentional repetition 

  • of single words or phrases 
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Conversation structures

Openers - hello,im,wave

turn taking - the most important part of a sucessfull conversation 

  • both verbal and non verbal cues 
  • tradition Q and A 
  • tag questions 
  • mentioning names - inviting them in 
  • concluding statement - anyway i havent seen her since 
  • a falling voice or drawn out sylabble
  • eye movement - we look at them more when we are listening, lean forward when wanting to talk - interuptions can occur if we think someone has talked too long 

Adjacency pairs 

  • 2 part exchange that follows a predictable pattern - occasionally 3 part exchanges occur e.g teacher Q student A teacher correction 

Topic - what the conversation is about - usually dominant person will decide 

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Conversation structures continued

Topic shifts - when a topic is changed - often a expression is used e.g by the way 

Topic loop - conversation returning to an earlier topic 

repair - a correction usually on facts 

Feedback - used to show the speaker that the listener is paying attention 

  • verbal - really
  • back channeling - 'gasp,sigh,mm'
  • Non verbal - 'nodding, smiling frowning' 


  • usually follows a closing sequence
  • often farewells 
  • summing up comment
  • phatic remark e.g see you soon 
  • non verbal - packing away 
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Transcription symbols

  • (.) - short pause
  • (3) - indicates pause length in seconds 

Overlapping symbols 

  • word [word]  
  •                    [word]
  • wor- - shows speech has been cut off 
  • (word) - a guess of what might have been said
  • () impossible to work out what was said 
  • word - underlined to show loud 
  • word - underlined and bold to show shout or exclamation 
  • <word> - arrows pointing out show slower speech 
  • arrows pointing in show faster speech
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1. state context and occupation of text

2. find evidence of context e.g jargon 

3. label language e.g nouns and say why they are being used 

4. identify spoken language features e.g overlapping speech 

5. label features with why they are used and when they show e.g power/dominance 

6. cover tone, type of language, sentence types (interogatives) and power relationships 

7. make sure everything is labelled with why they are used and how 

8. add wider knoweledge 

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Brief but informative guide to some important [url=]Cv Writing Service UK[/url], useful for quick revision.

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