Language and Power

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Language and Power Essay
Throughout the transcript, the classroom situation is portrayed as fairly relaxed and suggests a casual relationship between the teacher and their students. The fact that it is a science lesson of 12-13 students, suggests that the language used would be mature but simplified slightly, for them to understand. An interrogative of ‘how can we make sure it was carbon dioxide?’ is used at the beginning of the transcript suggesting the teacher is expecting the students to know the answer. As the teacher uses ‘it’ instead of addressing what they’re talking about, supports Bernstein’s theory of restricted code so the pupils must be aware of what the teacher is talking about. Using the adverb of ‘how’ at the beginning of the sentence suggests the teacher wants the pupils to elaborate and explain further. This is repeated later on in the transcript when the teacher says to Zoe ‘and what happens.’ Two epistemic modal auxiliary verbs of ‘could’ and ‘couldn’t’ are used in the beginning conveying pragmatics of possibility, giving the pupils the idea that there is or isn’t a wide range of right answers. It also fits with theories of language and gender and heavily suggests the teacher is a female as it supports Brown and Levison’s theory of female politeness. It also supports Lackoff’s theory that women are more likely to use modal constructions. A lot of repetition is used throughout the transcript; ‘P: oxygen? T: oxygen’ and ‘P: it pops T: it pops.’ These features suggest the teacher uses it as a way of praising the student and also to help the class understand fully what the teacher is trying to explain. Hedging is used by the teacher when they utter ‘it (.) a kind of mini explosion’ suggesting that they try to think of a more comprehendible way of saying what she wants to say so tries to re-phrase her sentence. These features imply the teacher may be very experienced or have been a teacher for a long time as it shows that the students is their...
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