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Commentary on the film 'Save The Last Dance'.

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Introduction

I decided to commentate on the film 'Save The Last Dance'. The film is primarily a romantic drama, lying on the theme of racism. The two protagonists, Sara and Derek, share a love for dance, which leads to romance. However Sara, a small - town white girl finds herself in a predominantly black neighbourhood after her mother dies. The three extracts I have taken from the film demonstrate how Black English, otherwise known as patois shown among friends in informal situations. The extracts illustrate how it can diverge upwards towards more ordinary English when speaking with white people. I also intend to show the essential characteristics of spoken language, and how one can see that this is scripted and not 'spontaneous speech'. The extracts all show informal speech between the characters such as 'yeah', 'doesn't' (extract 1), 'why you sweatin' me' (extract 3) I presume as the film aims for an audience from 12 till mid 20's, formal speech would make the tone dull. So by having one of the film aims to give an idea of the 'real' language used in society, it makes the film more realistic and enjoyable. ...read more.

Middle

Such as 'I don't get you guys' (extract 1), here Sara involves Derek on her thoughts about him and Malakai. According to an American linguistic philosopher H Paul Grice, there are four particular ways, which people co-operate in conversation, now known as Grice's Maxims. These maxims are widely kept by all the characters. The four maxims are as follows, Maxim of Quality, Quantity, manner and relevance. Keeping to the maxim of quality the characters tell the truth and do not say what they think is false or make statements, which lack evidence. An example of this is where Sara tells the truth 'I think Malakai's scary'. However Snookie goes against this maxim (known as conversational implicuture) to Malakai when he tells him 'did I tell you...how chill it is to have you back'. He obviously does not think this but feels that this is what Malakai wants to hear from him. The characters mainly keep the maxim of quantity, keeping to sentences neither too long nor too short eg, 'I thought you would like it' (extract 2). ...read more.

Conclusion

In all the extracts I feel that there is equal discourse rights between the characters. In extracts 1 and 3 Derek holds the floor, he shows this by talking about himself and also by asking, the other member of the conversation, questions. However Sara takes the floor in extract 2 whilst talking of her mum. Paralinguistics are noted in my transcript as the action the squared brackets. These help to interpret the explicit and hidden meanings in what a character is saying and thinking. When Sara looks at the ground it is because she is hiding something from Derek. Along with paralinguistic features are prosodic features, including intonations, rhythm and pitch. These help to convey the impression of punctuation. Other suprasegmental features could not be noted in my transcript. However the characters raise the pitch opf their sentence whilst excited such as when Snookie is excited to see Malakai he speaks in a higher pitch than normal. The characters also speak faster when speaking for a larger time than usual, but I think this is to maintain the audiences interest. Stress is added to words such as 'mother fucker' and 'fuck', in my opinion this is just to emphasise their rebellious attitude. ...read more.

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