chapter  12
18 Pages

Speaking and Pronunciation

ByAnne Burns, Barbara Seidlhofer

Issues in Speaking Spoken interaction involves producing and negotiating language rather differently from the way it is used in writing. Speakers and listeners (‘interlocutors’) are involved simultaneously in both producing and processing spoken interactions. They are under time constraints which mean that they must process language as they go, with no opportunities to go back and make changes. Speakers must also take account of relationships with others, adjusting their language according to the meanings they wish to get across, and responding to verbal or non-verbal signals from their listeners that they are being understood. Many spoken interactions consist of commenting on immediate actions or events, or casually moving from one topic to another. However, it is also true that some types of speech may be more planned in advance (such as meetings) or written to be spoken (such as news broadcasts). Differences between spoken and written language are probably best thought about as a ‘cline’ or ‘continuum’, rather than a sharp division (see Cook, 1989; Halliday, 1989; Cornbleet and Carter, 2001). We can see some of the features that result from ‘online’ processing of speech in

the following text. Here, two female Australian friends, Anne and Jane, talk about a time when Anne’s neighbour, Stan, was bitten by a poisonous insect, a funnel web spider. We will use this text throughout the chapter for illustration.