Spoken English Day-2 Basics of a spoken discourse in a language Webinar Reading /Test Material

Webinar-2 CLEP-2 Day-2 Reading Material Basics of a spoken discourse in a language Spoken English Day-2 Basics of a spoken discourse in a language Webinar Reading /Test Material.
DAY 2 CLEP 2 SPOKEN ENGLISH FOR TEACHERS SERIES BY SCERT, AP On " Basics of a Spoken Discourse in a Language" by Mr. Suman Bandi, Teacher Trainer, Regional Institute of English, Bangalore

Spoken English Day-2 Basics of a spoken discourse in a language Webinar Reading /Test Material

What is a Discourse?
A discourse refers to a unit of language which is longer than a single sentence. The word discourse is derived from the Latin prefix dis- meaning "away" and the root word currere meaning "to run". Discourse, therefore, translates to "run away" and refers to the way that conversations flow. To study discourse is to analyze the use of spoken or written language in a social context.

Discourse studies look at the form and function of language in conversation beyond its small grammatical pieces such as phonemes and morphemes. This field of study is interested in how larger units of language—including lexemes, syntax, and context—contribute meaning to conversations.

Discourse in a context may consist of only one or two words as in ‘stop’ or ‘no smoking.’ Alternatively, a piece of discourse can be hundreds of thousands of words in length, as some novels are. A typical piece of discourse is somewhere between these two extremes," (Hinkel and Fotos 2001).

Discourse can be used to refer to particular contexts of language use, and in this sense, it becomes similar to concepts like genre or text type. For example, we can conceptualize political discourse (the sort of language used in political contexts) or media discourse (language used in the media).

Spoken and written discourses
There are many differences between the processes of speaking and writing. Writing is not simply speech written down on paper. Learning to write is not a natural extension of learning to speak. Unlike speech, writing requires systematic instruction and practice.

Spoken or oral discourse is just as it sounds. It is communication or transfer of information using words that are spoken. For oral discourse to happen, someone must be speaking either in conversation or through oral delivery of information, such as in a lecture or presentation. Oral discourse lends itself to the use of speech acts, which are functions of communication that might include congratulating, ordering, demanding, promising, hinting, warning, or greeting. Oral discourse often also contains discourse markers, such as words that create pause or separation of ideas (such as ''well,'' ''so,'' ''anyway,'' or ''you know'').

Written discourse is also the transfer of information, but, as its name suggests, it involves the written word. To be successful, the writer and the receiver must have the necessary skills for delivery of information; the writer must be able to write, and the reader must be able to read. Written discourse is often tied with genre, or the type and/or structure of language used to imply purpose and context within a specific subject matter, especially when looking at literature.

Virtually no one speaks standard written English. This is the dialect of English that is appropriate for professional, business, and academic writing. For example, no one always speaks in complete sentences or pronounces the final letter of every word. However, many people learn to translate their spoken dialect into standard written English when they write.

Both spoken and written dialects are linked to the social background, age, race, and gender of the writer, speaker and audience. Depending upon whom we are addressing, and what we are discussing, we can switch between formal and informal ways of communicating.

Some positive aspects of oral discourse:

• It can be done at spur of the moment or instantaneously
• The speaker knows to whom he/she is communicating
• The pace of communication is generally determined by the speaker
• It is more personable and involves a shared situation between speaker and listener
• Meaning is supported by nonverbal communication and other factors such as tone and intonation

Some negative aspects of oral discourse:
• It is often less planned and contains less structure 
• Once delivered, it cannot be changed or taken back
• Words are often not given as much consideration before they are spoken
• There is a tendency to use words with fewer syllables and less complex sentences
• Oral information is only permanent if it is continuously passed from one person to the next
• The receiver of information must listen to the whole speech or presentation at once in order to get full meaning

Types of spoken language
Monologue: A monologue is where a single speaker addresses one or more listeners
e.g. Lectures, sermons, speeches, plays, etc.
Dialogue: A Dialogue involves interaction between two or more speakers
e.g. Informal conversations, business meetings, debates, telephone conversations, etc.

Characteristic features of spoken English
Accent refers to the way in which words are pronounced. Accent can vary according to the region or social class of a speaker.
E.g. American accent, British accent etc.

Adjacency pairs
Parallel expressions used across the boundaries of individual speaking turns. They are usually ritualistic and formulaic socially.
Example: ‘How are you?’/ ’Fine thanks’

Words, phrases and non-verbal utterances used by a listener to give feedback to a speaker that the message is being followed and understood
e.g. ‘I see’, ‘oh’, ‘uh huh’, ‘really’ etc.

A reduced form often marked by an apostrophe in writing e.g. can’t = cannot; she’ll = she will; isn’t = is + not

Deixis / deictic
A deictic expression or deixis is a word or phrase that points to the time, place, or situation in which a speaker is speaking. These are only understood by the listener and speaker. This is very much a context dependent feature of talk.
e.g. this, that, these, those, now, then, here)

A dialect of a language refers to the distinctive grammar and vocabulary which is associated with a regional or social use of a language.

Discourse marker

They refer to words and phrases which are used to signal the relationship and connections between utterances and to signpost that what is said can be followed by the listener or reader.
E.g. ‘first’, ‘on the other hand’, ‘now’, ‘what’s more’, ‘so anyway’, etc.

Elision is the omission of sounds, syllables or words in speech. This is done to make the language easier to say, and faster.
e.g. gonna = going to; wannabe = want to be; wassup = what is up

Ellipsis refers to the omission of part of a grammatical structure.
Example: A: “You going to the party?”
B: “Might be.”
In the above exchange, the verb ‘are’ and the pronoun ‘I’ are missed out. The resulting ellipsis conveys a more casual and informal tone.

False start
A false start in speech occurs when the speaker begins an utterance, then stops and either repeats or reformulates it. Sometimes this is called self correction.

Repairs represent alterations that are suggested or made by a speaker, the addressee, or audience in order to correct or clarify a previous conversational contribution.
Example: Hello: I would like to talk about Mrs. Shyam…sorry I mean Mr. Shyam

Fillers are expressions which do not carry conventional meaning but which are inserted in speech to allow time to think, to create a pause or to hold a turn in conversation. Filler is also called as voiced pause.
Examples: ‘er’, ‘um’, ‘ah’.

Words and phrases which soften or weaken the force with which something is said
Examples: ‘perhaps’, ‘may be’, ‘sort of’’,‘ possibly’, ‘I think’.

Paralinguistic features
These are related to body language – they refer to the use of gestures, facial expressions + other non-verbal elements [such as laughter] to add meaning to the speakers message beyond the words being spoken

Phatic talk
Conversational utterances that have no concrete purpose other than to establish or maintain personal relationships. It’s related to small talk – and follows traditional patterns, with stock responses and formulaic expressions
Examples: ‘How are you?’ / ‘Fine’;
‘Cold, isn’t it?’ / ‘Freezing’

Prosodic features
Prosodic features include features such as stress, rhythm, pitch, tempo and intonation – which are used by speakers to mark out key meanings in a message. Essentially these refer to how something is said.

Tag question
Strings of words normally added to a declarative sentence to turn the statements into questions.
Example: “It’s a bit expensive around here, isn’t it?”

Transactional talk
Language to get things done or to transmit content or information [used when the participants are exchanging goods and/or services]
Example: using imperatives like asking for something, giving instructions, offering something etc

Turn taking
A turn is a time during which a single participant speaks, within a typical, orderly arrangement in which participants speak with minimal overlap and gap between them. This is a principal unit of description in conversational structure.

An utterance is a complete unit of talk, bounded by the speaker's silence.

Vague language
Statements that sounds imprecise and unassertive. Examples: E.g. – ‘and so on’, ‘or whatever’, ‘sort of’

Fluency & Accuracy
Fluency is the flow and efficiency with which you express your ideas, particularly when speaking. A few grammar mistakes may appear here and there in the explanation, but it should be delivered in a way that is easy to understand and shows how comfortable you are with the language.

Accuracy, on the other hand, demonstrates your ability to use the necessary vocabulary, grammar and punctuation correctly, such as verb forms (past tense, present tense, and so on), articles (a, an, the) and prepositions (in, on, from, at).
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