Written and Spoken English Language

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Written and Spoken English Language

The English language consists both of written and spoken features. Until recently, items and structures most typically found in spoken language have not been fully described. Most grammars of English have had a bias towards the written language. They are many differences between spoken and written English. Text A and B show written and spoken versions of an account of a days activities. Text A is a written account of these activities, while Text B is a transcript of the spoken account.

The major differences between spoken and written English are, sentences in the written sense for example units beginning with capital letters, consisting of at least one main clause and ending in a full stop are difficult to identify in spoken language. These differences occur, as the spoken language does not have any punctuation, it could be argued that fillers and pauses perhaps are the punctuation in spoken language. References to people and things in the immediate situation may be incomprehensible to an outsider reading the transcript of text B. The speaker says ‘I put all of them away’ without being present at the time of speaking, it is not clear at all to an outsider what ‘all’ and ‘them’ refer to. While in the written text it is understandable this is because everything the speaker does is outlined briefly. Text A is a smaller passage than text B, the speaker gives more information on her activities in Text B, for example, she says ‘on the menu today was chilli and rice, shepherds pies, beef rounds.. and cheesy potatoes’ however, in text A this is barely outlined. The reason for this being the speaker is unplanned and says this spontaneously to fill space because she has limited time to think. Ellipsis is common in spoken English. Ellipsis occurs when words usually considered ‘compulsory’ are not needed because they can be understood by the immediate listener or from the knowledge that is shared between speakers. For speakers and...
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