Aspects and key questions for texts in section A

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  • Created by: Lauren
  • Created on: 06-05-13 13:18

Function categories: 

  • Transactional - getting something done
  • Expressive - giving expression to feelings
  • Performative - accompanying an action with a 'set' form of words e.g. like a christening
  • Instructional - giving information about how to do something
  • Referential - conveying factual knowledge
  • Phatic - socialising through small talk
  • Persuasive - advocating a point of view, trying to change someone's mind

Grices maxims:

  1. Be truthful - quality
  2. Be brief - quantity
  3. Be relevant to context of situation - relevance
  4. Be clear and unambiguous - manner

Varieties of spoken language:

  • Dialect - form of language with own distinct lexis, grammar and pronunciation. Most commonly used to describe regional forms of a language e.g. cockney
  • Sociolect - form of language associated with particular social group defined by either age e.g. teenagers, occupation e.g. lawyers or lifestyle e.g. rock musicians
  • idiolect - term for individuals unique way of speaking 

Politeness principles:

  • Never impose on receiver 
  • Always give options to receiver 
  • Always make receiver feel good

Face Theory:

  • Following conventions of turn taking - no hogging or butting in
  • Use of terms of address appropriate to the others' status 
  • Speaking in a way that accurately reflects the social relationship with the other person
  • Using a register in keeping with the context of the conversation

Voices in speech and writing

1) Spontaneous Conversations:

  • Social situation: where and how does this influence?
  • Relationship between participants?
  • Age and gender of participants?

2) E- communication: 

  • Chat room conversation
  • email/s 
  • Online diary (blog)
  • Texts messages


  • Patterns in emails?
  • Why send instead of telephoning or texting?
  • Features resembling spoken conversation?
  • Features resembling writing?

Chat room conversation:

  • Typical features of spoken mode?
  • Typical features of written mode?
  • How does the fact that they are not face to face impact?
  • How does the fact that the conversation is not private impact?


  • How are voices influenced by unknown invisible audience
  • How is voice influenced by asynchronous interaction?
  • How does the idea that the ppts are not receiving simultaneous feedback as they would face to face impact on the blog?

3) Live speech broadcasts:

  • Sports commentary
  • Talk show
  • Phone-in programme

Television talk shows:

  • How does the structure reflect context?
  • Difference between voices (registers too) between people
  • Extent to which interview seem formal or informal
  • Balance of power between participants


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