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EAP class for MA in ELT Week 7, Term 1 Establishing a critical focus through language Dr. Gerard Sharpling Centre for Applied Linguistics.

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Presentation on theme: "EAP class for MA in ELT Week 7, Term 1 Establishing a critical focus through language Dr. Gerard Sharpling Centre for Applied Linguistics."— Presentation transcript:

1 EAP class for MA in ELT Week 7, Term 1 Establishing a critical focus through language Dr. Gerard Sharpling Centre for Applied Linguistics

2 Aims of today’s session To foster and develop an understanding of: Relevant and coherent focus on question wording Critical language use in assignment writing Analysis as opposed to description Paragraph structure

3 Sample Spoken English title Discuss the expected phonological, lexical, syntactical and discourse differences that are to be found amongst scripted, planned and spontaneous speech, making reference to appropriate sources.

4 Part 2 of question Discuss and illustrate the extent to which the differences discussed in your theoretical introduction were found in your 3 recordings. If expected differences were not found, have you any explanation for this?

5 Introduction While discussing speech and writing, McCarthy and Carter (1994) comment that both these terms are “ a complex of relationships between language form and contents of use”, because both medium of language indicates certain features which can be related with one or more extra linguistic contents.

6 Statement of intent In my essay I will try to simplify the complex relationship to make a clear distinction between spontaneous and planned speech. I will discuss the semi-scripted speech in the last, as this is, I think, an amalgamation of features contained by both spontaneous and planned speech and deserves a separate space.

7 Spontaneous v planned speech The major difference between the spontaneous and planned speech is that of syntax. A written speech exhibits increased features of syntactic complexity. Syntactic structure is complicated and always complete in a written mode of speech. McCarthy (1991) mentions that without a command of the rich and variable resources of the grammar, the construction of natural and sophisticated discourse is impossible. Thus while analysing written speeches, we detect grammatical cohesion and semantic links between clauses and sentences. But in spontaneous speech, incomplete syntactical structures are not only ignored, but, surprisingly, also acceptable.

8 A further example Spoken speech is also noticeable for its interactive expression. On the other hand, spontaneous speech frequently involves interactive expressions like well, now etc. Tennon (1982) points out that the detached quality of written mode is always obvious “which suppresses the direct involvement of an agent in an action”. Moreover in a written speech attention is always focused on main idea or the message.

9 Density of information in written speech Written speech is distinctive for its information- oriented language. Brevity and focused arguments are exhibited to avoid unnecessary details. Whereas information in spoken language is diluted, never coherent and in a “lesser ideal order”. (Rixon, S 2001). While density of information can always be observed in written language. The writer/speaker tends to use the words that take lesser space and more information in a compact manner.

10 Adding reminders to the reader In the beginning I have mentioned that I would discuss the semi-script speech later. First because it makes matter complicated to discuss so many things at a time. Secondly, semi-scripted speech is a mixture of common features of both spontaneous and planned speech and it is easier to elaborate it in isolation.

11 Comparing with semi-scripted speech In a semi-scripted speech, the speaker has short notes for guidance but they don’t enable him to be fluent and rhythmic fully. There are pauses and noise in such a speech, but some fluent and rapid speech phenomenon also occurs. The ideas may be a bit arranged, but not compact nor densely informative.

12 Three way comparison (lead-in) In order to prove the validity of the arguments discussed above, I would quote three versions of the same text (see Appendix 1) spoken by the same speaker spontaneously, semi- scripted and written respectively. The speaker is an American, whose first language is English. Currently he is studying for an MA in English literature at Warwick.

13 Three-way comparison (details) First the speaker gave a spontaneous expression on the topic in Text A. In Text B, he took short notes and spoke by taking help from the notes. Whereas the Text C is a completely planned speech, written by the speaker himself. Before analysing the texts, a glance at the statistical figure would disclose some interesting aspects.

14 Comparing and contrasting There are no pauses in text A with the exception of two and even these two pauses are not of hesitation but the speaker pauses only to take breath, as a natural interval in reading. The speaker pauses at commas and full stops but these sorts of pauses only increase the rhythm of the speech as Brown (1990) refers. But there are a lot of pauses, ems and ers in text A and B in addition to frequent fillers like you know, I guess etc.

15 Specific exexplification In text C we find complex sentence structure. There are subordinate clauses, well linked and creating a complex structure. For example note the following sentence in text C: This ________ in essay writing + a true form of measuring both responsibility (i.e. are you motivated enough to write a good essay) and in thinking (i.e. do you possess the mental facut faculties adequate for the level of work expected). This sentence is complex and is not likely to occur in a spontaneous speech.

16 Further point of comparison The written speech is explicit with precise and specific references. Whereas the spontaneous speech frequently demonstrates non-specific references. In text A, we find a number of such references as it, here, that, they, first, these and many others. All these sort of words require a context to understand them appropriately. For example in text A references like: Here in the MA programme… After that you… Two or three classes a day… It’s a good programme. cannot be understood in isolation.

17 Drawing to a conclusion Summing up, I would emphasise that written and spontaneous modes of speech are distinctively separate from each other. An expert speaker may be even extremely fluent in spontaneous speech, but an ordinary spontaneous expression is always limited with the features referred above. Spontaneous fluency, in fact, is a matter of practice as in the case of politicians and religious orators who practise hard to be fluent and look like spontaneous. There may be some complex situation where both modes are integrated, for example in a semi-scripted speech, which emerges as an amalgamation; otherwise they are sharply afar from each other

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