English Analysis

Topics: Conversation, Conversation analysis, Discourse analysis Pages: 5 (1811 words) Published: October 11, 2013

TXC 500Assessment 1: Text analysis essay
Hymes (1972) recognized bilingualism as the most widely recognized form of linguistic diversity in communities (cited in Bauman & Sherzer, 1975). As such, he devised a tool or framework to analyse the ways that people interact with each other in order to communicate with each other effectively (Small, 2008). This tool can be broken down into eight parts, which are: Setting, Participants, Ends (Purpose), Acts, Key, Instrumentality, ‘Norms’ and Genre (which collectively make the acronym S.P.E.A.K.I.N.G.). The characteristics of these elements will be described below. This essay will use this tool to evaluate the effectiveness of two texts, exploring the dimensions of the interactions. In both samples one or more of the participants does not speak English as a first language, and in both samples there are miscommunications between participants. The first parameter for exploration, according to the Hymes model is Setting, that is where and when the ‘speech event’ takes place (Coulthard, 1985). It can be assumed that the conversation in text 1 takes place in a classroom. This is not a routine conversation, and is casual in its approach (by the teacher). The conversation in text 2 is set in a shop. This conversation is also a casual situation. Both conversations take place in an English-speaking environment, and both involve people who speak English as a Second Language. The next elements of Hymes framework are the participants. A participant, for this context, is anyone who is involved in the conversation or situation and their characteristics which may impact on the outcome of the situation, for example their gender (Goodwin & Heritage, 1990). It also incorporates the relationship between participants, and the balance of power in the situation (Goodwin & Heritage, 1990). In text 1 there are only two participants. The conversation was initiated by the teacher ‘J’ with the addressee, student Anh responding. J is a male teacher who speaks English as his first language. He also holds a position of power over Anh. Anh is female and a student, she is aware that her teacher holds a position of power over her. In text 2 in contrast, there are three participants, one of whom initiates conversation, with occasional queries from the other two participants. The addresser is a male customer and speaks English as his first language. The other two participants, the shop keeper and cashier, in the conversation are English as second language speakers. Both the shop keeper and the cashier are male. There is a clear customer-server relationship between the three participants, with the majority of conversation being upheld and pushed along by the customer, as evidenced by the customer saying ‘I haven’t seen you for a while’ (ln. 9). In both texts there are clear power relationships between all participants that influence the conversation taking place. Hymes also researched the goals of the speech and how it could be studied (Milburn, 2013). According to Brown and Yule (1983) there are two main types of communication, the first is transactional or information transferring and the second is interactional or maintenance of social relationships. Transactional or information transfer refers to conversations taking place merely for the receiving of goods (Brown & Yule, 1983). According to Spencer-Oatey (2008) however, it is impossible to have one of these kinds of communication without the other as they are so closely connected. Text 2 includes examples of both transactional and interactional communication, as is suggested by Spencer-Oatley (2008). The customer has gone to the shop specifically to purchase goods, and this element of the conversation has limited confusion involved in it. It is straight forward and mostly takes place without oral communication at all. The parts of the conversation which relate to the purchase of goods include only one interaction: ‘That’s it’, ‘that’s it’ (ln....
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