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In what ways may different groups of English speakers differ in their conversation style?

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Open University U210 English Language: Past, Present and Future TMA 03 Question 2 In what ways may different groups of English speakers differ in their conversation style? For word restriction purposes the focus for this essay will be primarily on material from chapter one of the Open University course book 2 (CB 2) and The Open University audio cassette 3 band 3(AU3B3). It would be most interesting to look at all the different examples of different groups; unfortunately doing this would mean exceeding the word limit. Therefore the focus will be restricted to only three or four different groups. First of all it is a good idea to examine the semantics behind the phrase of "conversation style" before looking at the different groups of English speakers. "Conversation is without doubt the foundation stone of the social world - human beings learn to talk in it, find a mate with it, are socialized through it, rise in social hierarchy as a result of it, and, it is suggested, may even develop mental illness because of it." (Beattie, 1983, p.2) 1 This is a very captivating statement and helps to sum up the incredible power that the actual word "conversation" has in the social world Due to lack of more precise materialistic evidence, it is possibly more interesting to look at "conversation style" and then briefly discuss the different styles that exist amongst social groups giving specific examples rather than focusing on one specific area only (such as gender). ...read more.


Women are also said to use more tag questions, intensifiers and hedges. According to research, women are the dominant compliment givers. They also tend to use rhetoric more often than men such as "What a nice dress!" It is could also be due to the way that woman are brought up, having a less dominant position in society or perhaps due to the way that men and women are in different subcultures even as children. In the latter, this could lead to misunderstandings between the sexes because of the way men and women interpret different speech behaviours. There is one particular ethnic group that fluctuates in conversation style which is the Aboriginal English group found in minority groups across Australia. Aboriginal English has been found to differ from Standard Australian English. Diane Keats researched on Aboriginal English groups in Australia and discovered that particularly in the more rural areas of Australia there were several distinctive features that were different from Standard Australian English. She found that they differed from the Standard in pronunciation, vocabulary and even actual interaction between people was different. There were even difficulties that arose when the Aboriginal groups mixed with the Standard groups. It is particularly when they communicate cross-culturally that problems and misunderstandings may occur. For example, in Aboriginal society it is natural to have frequent silences in a conversation. It is a particular sign of politeness allowing for the other person to opt their opinion. Sometimes the answer or the conversation itself even, will last over a time period of several days. ...read more.


However this exists to a certain extent even today, in that due to the fact that in Europe there are many black drug dealers from Northern Africa so that as soon as someone who is black shows up in a well-known drug dealing area, they are frequently then instantly questioned by the police. The way different groups of English speakers vary in their "conversation styles" is a fascinating and fairly broad topic to examine. It appears that there is no actual "Universal Standard English". There is a world-wide (not just refined to the United States of America) multicultural mosaic/ melting pot3 of cultural groups even within a single language society which is to a certain degree trying hard to mould into a salad bowl4. An ideal solution would be a mixture of a melting pot and a salad bowl where people are still able to maintain their own cultural habits and can still communicate with other social group easily. A final point to make is that it is also important to realise how essential language is when engaging in social activities and relationships. Hence, to notice how language and society are interlinked. Language and indeed communication is used to share knowledge and experience between speakers. Communication is also about binding people together in order to allow them to negotiate joint understandings of the world. Communication has different functions in different contexts. This could be due to age difference and respect from the pupil's part. Without language society could not exist to the same extent by which it does today. Word Count: 1920 words Remark: * CB 2 refers to Maybin, J. and Mercer, N. ...read more.

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