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Spoken Discourse Essay

2538 words - 10 pages

SPOKEN DISCOURSEI. INTRODUCTIONThis essay deals with an instance of a spoken discourse, and tries to analyse one part of it in terms of interactional strategies and exchange procedures, while for its other part it aims at describing it by applying some rules of a grammar of speech to it.The analysed discourse is a part of a television broadcast of a snowboarding big-air jumping competition (Eurosport, February 2001). It can be divided in three parts: a commentary and two interviews. The commentator (referred to also as C in the essay) gives a report of the competition as it goes along and also informs the television audience about the background of the actual happening. In-between there are two short interviews with two of the riders - Leslee Olson (referred to also as L in the essay) and Barret Christy (referred to also as B in the essay). They are interviewed by the interviewer (referred to also as I in the essay), whose job is to 'catch' the riders after their performance and ask them about their jumps. This has to be done quickly in order for the transmission of the competition to go on as uninterruptedly as possible.Since in the interviews the speakers interact actively, i.e. they take turns, these two parts can be analysed according to Anna-Britta Stenstrom's theory of conversation described in her book An Introduction to Spoken Interaction. Her description of interactional strategies and exchange procedures should also apply to such short instances of interaction between two parties as are these two interviews.The commentary, on the other hand, is an example of a spoken discourse where there are no direct responses to what the speaker says. Therefore it cannot be analysed in the same way as the interviews, but has to be described in different terms in order to present it as a piece of spoken interaction. David Brazil's book A Grammar of Speech provides some aspects that prove such instances of speech to be interactive as well. Some of these aspects can thus be applied to the analysed commentary.II. INTERACTIONAL STRATEGIESAccording to Anna-Britta Stenstrom's theory the interactional strategies are the following: the turntaking system, exchange procedures and accompanying strategies. These are used by speakers who are engaged in a conversation, that is why only the two interviews from the spoken discourse in question can be analysed in terms of these strategies.1. THE TURNTAKING SYSTEMStenstrom (1994: 68) claims that the turntaking system involves three basic strategies:*taking the turn*holding the turn*yielding the turnThis system works perfectly if only one of the speakers involved in a conversation speaks at one time, but in a real situation there are often cases of silent pauses or overlapping speech, since the participants are not attentive or patient enough."...if regular speaker change is to take place, participants must be able to scan phrases to predict when an utterance is about to end. They must be able to distinguish between...

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