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What role does turn-taking play in the extract and how are features of accent and dialect represented?

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Introduction

What role does turn-taking play in the extract and how are features of accent and dialect represented? When reading the transcript, you should consider the following questions: 1. What is the context of the speech? Think about field (topics), manner (relationship between speakers) and mode (spontaneous or planned speech and related features) 2. What are the functions of the speech? (referential, expressive, phatic, transactional, interactional) 3. What is significant about the turn-taking process? Does anyone dominate? 4. Who uses non-standard forms? Can you deconstruct these? 5. What can you say about the levels of formality of the register each speaker adopts? 6. How might you use different language theories to support your analysis? ?????????????????????????????????????????????????? The transcript is of an exchange between an interviewer and Mrs Cook, a female road sweeper from Gloucestershire. Due to the form of the exchange being an interview, we would expect tightly-managed turn-taking and the primary function to be referential as the purpose is to convey information regarding the nature of Mrs Cook?s role as one of the few women in Britain who work in this field. Topics, therefore, have been predestined as we assume that the interviewer has planned his questions carefully. ...read more.

Middle

Whatever Mrs Cook?s reasons, the side sequence certainly has an impact on the interviewer. He reframes his initial declarative ?you must be? to an interrogative ?are you?, which seems much more confrontational and designed to force Mrs Cook to respond how he wants this time. This slightly aggressive confrontational attitude can also be detected when he uses a tag question in the utterance ?well you?re not a road sweeper then are you?. He also seems a little flustered by the side sequence, repeating the same repair as he made in the first line ?road sweepers women road sweepers?, and he is forced to correct himself. It would appear that the start of the interview is not as structured as he anticipated or indeed desired. Usually in an interview, we would expect the conversation to be structured around adjacency pairs, typically questions and extended responses. Once Mrs Cook has made her point about how she wishes to be addressed, the structure of the interview falls into its conventional pattern. As we would expect from this type of exchange, Mrs Cook?s utterances are lengthier and more expressive than those of her interviewer. ...read more.

Conclusion

The interviewer?s response to her accent here could be interpreted as face threatening in nature; however, later in the transcript, he appears to downwardly converge with the uncharacteristically informal noun phrases ?mucky lot?, ?clean lot? and ?dirty lot?. Whether his intention is to decrease social distance and make Mrs Cook more at ease or to highlight his own superiority by deliberately adopting a more simplistic register, is difficult to ascertain. His use of fillers and non-fluent pausing leading up to the topic shift ?mm (.) yes (.) well (.)? seem to suggest that he is either losing interest in the topic or is struggling to develop the interview. Either way, the non-fluency features typical of spontaneous speech reveal a level of unease at the very least. In conclusion, the transcript is interesting to analyse in terms of turn-taking, relationships between the speakers and the strong elements of regional accent and dialect. It is a mistake to dismiss dialect speakers as ?uneducated? people who don?t use ?proper? English. In fact, dialects are interesting and valid varieties of English. After all, Mrs Cook comes across here as a hard-working, confident woman who is more than capable of conversing with an overtly formal, standard English-speaking interviewer and is proud of her regional identity. ...read more.

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