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Discuss the linguistic differences between the spoken and written modes and consider the ways in which both are perceived in terms of social prestige.

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Laura Mead Discuss the linguistic differences between the spoken and written modes and consider the ways in which both are perceived in terms of social prestige For both the spoken and written mode it is possible to recognize different linguistic characteristics. Speech is a useful social tool, helping to develop communication and express attitudes and opinions. Writing is useful for documenting facts and ideas, making notes and organising information; it is a more permanent mode than speech which can be revised or reread. The first point to be taken into consideration for each mode is the audience. Spoken encounters more often than not are personalised and happen face to face with a particular individual. While written language can either be intended for one individual reader or directed at a wider unknown audience. The lexis for both the written and spoken mode is somewhat different. ...read more.


The most common of these features are voiced hesitation and fillers. Voiced hesitations are pauses used for many different reasons; firstly to provide thinking time. As speech is impulsive the speaker may frequently need to think about what to say. Secondly, written language uses punctuation to signify the end of a sentence, spoken language uses a pause. These are known as utterances. Also, it is very likely that the speaker may need time to breathe! Speech has a loose structure which results in the use of fillers. Once again these are mostly used to give the speaker time to search for a word and to fill awkward gaps in speech. Another non-fluency feature is false starts and these can be due to nervousness, or simply recalling the situation differently. In general, speech is much more repetitive than writing which leads to a lot of self-correction. ...read more.


By monitoring the listeners behaviour communication is prevented from being broken down. As well as words the spoken mode uses paralinguistic features to aid communication and ensure that it is expressive. An example of this is body language, facial expressions or posture; these can either strengthen or contradict the spoken word. Prosodic features are another feature of the spoken mode; these are all the observable aspects of behaviour that accompany speech, apart from the words themselves. A prosodic feature includes the following; pitch, volume, pace, rhythm, tone and stress patterns. Changes in pitch when speaking are more often than not linked to meaning and the speaker's relationship with the topic. A high pitch suggests that the speaker is enthusiastic or excited whereas a low pitch indicates a disappointment of some sort. The volume manipulates the meaning of the speech while pace is related to the speakers' attitude towards the subject they are talking about. When emphasis is placed on key words it highlights their importance; a change in stress can change the meaning. In the written mode, prosodic features are replaced with punctuation. ...read more.

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