Speech in a Classroom

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The situation presented in the transcript is between that of a teacher and student. Whereas Lauren enforces her tough persona, the teacher struggles to maintain his authority; the contrast of both characters is shown through their sociolect. This amuses the audience and shows the sketch’s purpose – to entertain. The conversation is based on turn-taking. A stereotypical feature shown is Lauren‘s use of idiolect and sociolect which greatly differs from the teachers’ thus showing a typical student-teacher confrontation. The teacher uses Standard English the most with interrogatives to show a face-threatening act, ‘What on earth do you think you are doing?’ and ‘Why don’t you tell the whole class?’ This shows professionalism and commanding behaviour; common characteristics of teachers. Lauren’s angry response to the face-threatening act is shown with declaratives, stating she ‘ain’t chattin’’ to this ‘crew,’ depicting very clearly Lauren’s disrespect towards the teacher along with the lack of the word ‘sir’. Her sociolect portrays her as a stereotype of a ‘chav’ because she uses elision, ‘ain’t,’ to show her aggressive attitude. In addition, Lauren’s sociolect shows disrespect as she is effectively telling him that she will speak any way she likes. However, the stereotypical behaviour of the teacher is shown through the use of discourse markers, ‘whilst,’ to show his dominance to other students but Lauren continually uses sociolect to show disregard for his authority, belittling him in front of peers to achieve covert prestige. Lauren’s impudence portrays the stereotypical behaviour of ‘chavs’ as bad-mannered people humorously here, showing defiance through the opposites of interrogative and declarative speech. Stereotypes are presented through their sociolect, the teacher’s sociolect is mainly Standard English, Lauren’s sociolect and idiolect is mainly Non-standard English. Lauren’s stereotype mainly uses elision; this is seen by ‘innit, though.’ The use of elision suggests disrespect but also shows she is slowly gaining control. Her growing dominance later allows her to gain covert prestige. This is seen when Lauren’s speech converges with the teacher to imitate him, but the teacher can’t do this as he is taking a professional approach towards Lauren. She mocks the teacher by asking if he buys his ‘clothes from a catalogue’ and intensifies this by asking if his ‘jeans have an elasticated waist.’ The convergence of Lauren’s speech with the teacher is for comic effect as she is mocking him through the typecast of a ‘geek’, she defies the audience’s expectation of her stereotype which makes it all the more humorous. Laurens uses sociolect and variations of idiolect to achieve covert prestige. Lauren and her friends respond to the teacher in unison with the word ‘awwrite.’ The sociolect shows elision and it also shows that a stereotypical ‘chav’ shows disrespect and they act together; to intimidate and show authority. The teacher tries to defend his authority by saying ‘just Lauren,’ in order to separate them. This allows Lauren to display her covert prestige hence she responds with repetition – ‘awwrite.’ This shows that Lauren has the highest authority in her ‘gang’; the humorous element of this, is her attitude towards the teacher breaks politeness principles because Lauren doesn’t respond with the appropriate formality – ‘sir.’ It forces the teacher into a corner and Lauren gives the teacher a bad first impression. The variation of sociolect used by both stereotypes is used for humour. Further into the transcript, the teacher employs non-standard forms of vocabulary but whereas Lauren used convergence for comic effect, the teacher inadvertently uses convergence as a sign of frustration. This is seen by his use of ‘gonna’ and ‘c’mon’ as they are both elision. This is atypical of a teacher as they are expected to use Standard English however, in this transcript; the audience know that Lauren has caused the teacher to use it...
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