Monday, 9 November 2009

Speech and Writing

Speech and Writing Features

  • Decoded by the ear
  • Transient; ephemeral; impermanent; what is said cannot be captured (unless taped)
  • May be spontaneous; unplanned
  • Allows interaction and immediate feedback; overlaps and interruptions
  • Allows non-verbal signals; gestures and body language
  • Unfinished sentences; false starts; hesitations; repetitions
  • Interrupted constructions; disjuncture
  • May use non-standard grammar
  • Contractions (use of elision) eg. can’t; I’ll
  • Pauses and fillers eg. er; I mean; sort of
  • Colloquial language
  • Prosodic features: intonation; stress; pitch; volume
  • Mood signals: laughter; silence
  • Highly context-bound
  • Assumes shared knowledge; deictic expressions eg. over there; that one
  • Phatic utterances eg. ‘How’s things?’
  • Looser grammatical construction
  • Errors remain: what is said cannot be ‘unsaid’
  • Accent and dialect may be apparent
  • Cohesion/ coherence
  • May appear messy and unstructured

Features of Writing

  • Decoded by the eye
  • Usually planned and revised: reader sees the polished version
  • No immediate feedback
  • Only the language can signal tone: no prosodic or paralinguistic features
  • Permanent and static
  • Allows close analysis and repeated reading
  • Sentences more complex, more tightly constructed; more subordinate clauses
  • Avoids deictic expressions which can be ambiguous (e.g. This book)
  • Graphological features
  • Distance between writer and reader


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