Power and Authority. Language analysis of The Junior Apprentice transcript.

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There are many different ways that power and authority can affect spoken language. Spoken language is the way someone speaks and changes from person to person with various factors such as age, gender and occupation influencing the way they speak. Furthermore, the situation the speaker is in will also influence their spoken language. The Junior Apprentice transcript, which will be analysed in this essay, is set in a boardroom with a business-like atmosphere. This is evident through the use of jargon by various people within the boardroom, examples being the use of ‘profit’, ‘project manager’ and ‘revenue’. Due to the formal setting, the candidates try to be well spoken and try to use Standard English. There is one person who is the authoritative figure head, Lord Sugar.


Firstly, one feature of spoken language that was affected by power and authority was the formality of the language used by the members of the boardroom. Jordan, the project manager for this particular task, was very formal using words such as ‘primarily’ and not using any informal words. His formal tone is also evident in the fact that he did not use any elisions and contractions. This may be because he knew he was in the line of fire and was trying to show that he was not nervous and was confident in the points he was trying to get across. Moreover, he may be trying to get across that he is more mature than the rest of the group. This would help him later on in the final three as he would be seem the most confident, assertive and have more authority than the other boys in his team. Jordan had changed his spoken language to the situation as someone with more authority and power was questioning his own authority.

However, many of the other contestants used informal words in their speech, such as ‘dump it’, ‘yep’ and ‘y’know’. This showed the listener that they were very nervous and were not used to the business-like, pressured environment. Therefore, they seem to be very weak compared to someone like Jordan, who was very assured in what he was saying. They changed their spoken language to one of someone who is hesitant due to their lack of power in this situation

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Secondly, the use of fillers varied between members of the boardroom, mainly depending on how much authority and power they had. The frequency of which fillers occur can be used to determine how power and authority has affected their spoken language. People with more authority will use fillers less, while someone who has less authority will use more. This is evident within the boardroom scene. One of the candidates, Tim, has very little authority and power. This causes him to use fillers more frequently than the others – one example being that he says ‘well, um’. The speaker, Tim, ...

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