Spoken English/ Written English: From Corpus to Curriculum to Classroom Ronald Carter School of English Studies, University of Nottingham, UK A Noun Cline Glass cracks more quickly the harder you press on it. Cracks in glass grow faster the more pressure is put on. The rate of glass crack growth depends on the magnitude of the applied stress. Glass crack growth rate is associated with applied stress magnitude. (Halliday, 1989) Written Language First staged at the Glasgow Citizens in 1994, and described by Williams as being a 'comedy of death', the play sees Everett cast brilliantly against type as the rich dying widow Flora Goforth. A corpus-based approach Corpus (pl. corpora): a large, principled collection of texts, spoken and/or written. BNC; WSC; MICASE. Based on the one billion word Cambridge International Corpus (CIC) of both BrE and AmE, including CANCODE, an extensive written corpus, a business English corpus and a dedicated academic corpus. Facts and figures … Using a corpus gives us useful statistics about: frequency differences between spoken and written grammar social and contextual aspects Top 40 most frequent words: 5m spoken 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 THE I AND YOU IT TO A YEAH THAT OF IN WAS IT'S KNOW MM IS ER BUT SO THEY ON 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 OH WE HAVE NO LAUGHS WELL LIKE WHAT DO RIGHT JUST HE FOR ERM BE THIS ALL THERE GOT [Speakers are discussing the cost of veterinary treatment and surgery for a sick animal] <S1> Let’s see ... we’ve already spent fifty for him and I want him to spend another hundred <S2> Well <S1> But that’s better than pins <S2> Right <S1> And surgery <S2> Which would be another two hundred or <S3> Yeah it’s more for a surgery <S1> Let’s see ... we’ve already spent fifty for him and I want him to spend another hundred <S2> Well <S1> But that’s better than pins <S2> Right <S1> And surgery <S2> Which would be another two hundred or <S3> Yeah it’s more for a surgery <S1> Let’s see ... we’ve already spent fifty for him and I want him to spend another hundred <S2> Well <S1> But that’s better than pins <S2> Right <S1> And surgery <S2> Which would be another two hundred or <S3> Yeah it’s more for a surgery <S1> Let’s see ... we’ve already spent fifty for him and I want him to spend another hundred <S2> Well <S1> But that’s better than pins <S2> Right <S1> And surgery <S2> Which would be another two hundred or <S3> Yeah it’s more for a surgery <S1> Let’s see ... we’ve already spent fifty for him and I want him to spend another hundred <S2> Well <S1> But that’s better than pins <S2> Right <S1> And surgery <S2> Which would be another two hundred or <S3> Yeah it’s more for a surgery Spoken language Writers orientate more towards norms, speakers orient towards each other Writing is more off-line and not time bound; speech is more online and in real time Spoken language: absence of ‘sentences’ ‘incomplete’ utterances jointly produced utterances flexible structures. Small words are big words (well, right, just, at all, sort of, I mean) and often have pragmatic functions. w e of al l ho w th at ev er li k e ea n fu n Im ea rl y tim e sm om en t th e ha t th in gs kn ow an d yo u al l m co up l he at t a occs in 5m wds spoken Words v. Chunks 1200 1000 800 600 400 200 0 Ellipsis •Didn’t know that film was on tonight? (I) •Sounds good to me. (That/It) •Lots of things to tell you about the trip to Barcelona. (There are) A: Are you going to Leeds this weekend? B: Yes, I must. (go this weekend) Tails •She’s a very good swimmer, Jenny is. •It’s difficult to eat isn’t it, spaghetti? •We’re going to have steak and fries, we are. •It can leave you feeling very weak, it can, though, apparently, shingles,can’t it? There is and There are Existential There There’s three other people still to come There’s lots of cars in the car park Deictic There There’s your pills There’s his shoes Good or Bad? What happens is that there are 15 members of the Security Council, there's five permanent members and the five permanent members have got the veto. English in the World First Language Speakers: Mandarin Chinese: English: Hindi: Spanish: Russian: Bengali: Additional or Second or Foreign Language Speakers: English: Chinese: 2 billion by 30 million by 2020. 2020. Spanish: 25 million by 2020. 1.2 billion 508 million 487 million 417 million 277 million 211 million from Graddol (2007) Teaching and testing spoken English: Some issues and problems The ELF issue The EAL issue The single ‘literate’ speaker issue The visual issue Fluency problem The confluence problem Fluency: what is it? Fluency: Speakers use Standard English produce smooth continuous talk, maintaining flow, and are grammatically accurate. Dysfluency: Speakers are hesitant, sloppy, can’t remember words, repeat themselves and code switch between languages Repetition and Confluence Dyu: did you, [pause 0.9 secs] er, did you you see David at the meeting, er, last night, no, the night before, wasn’t it? (CIC corpus) …so what did Marketing do they did it that way and they introduced, [mm, right], yeah, and last year they introduced eight new products in just six months eight that’s huge, it is, isn’t it? You know what I mean? (CIC corpus) Repetition and Negotiating Understanding Functions: Can be both speaker or hearer-oriented: strategic planning turn-sensitive vagueness clarification and confirmation summarising holding the floor emphasis Organisational and transactional v. Interpersonal and relational Implications for testing? Speakers, listeners and confluence <S01> do you think it is affected by your faith, like you were saying you [<S02> mm, right, yeah] have any kind of moral standards or not, like hooliganising and stuff, I mean, do you think that’s because of…of your faith or do you think that’s because well because of society or whatever? (CIC) Cross Lingual Spoken and Written Viki: Sue: Viki: Sue: Viki: Sue: Viki: Sue: Viki: it’s snowing quite strong outside....be careful I will, thx wei wei...lei dim ar? ok, la, juz got bk from Amsterdam loh, how r u? ok la.. I have 9 tmrw haha, I have 2-4 ........sooooooooooo happy che...anyway...have your rash gone? yes, but I have scar oh...ho ugly ar! icic...ng gan yiu la...still a pretty girl, haha!! [Cantonese translations: wei wei…lei dim ar – hi, how are you?; ng gan yiu la – it doesn’t matter; ar,loh and la are discourse markers in Cantonese] Spoken to Written Could you email Kyle Barber and ask him for a quote for a laptop? Said we’d let Tatchell have one for himself as part of the deal. Compaq or Toshiba. At least 420Mb hard disk and 16Mb RAM. Good deal, tell David. Worth the laptop. More in the pipeline. (Inter company email) Right, so there I was sitting in Mick Jagger’s kitchen while he went about making us both afternoon tea. Well, you can imagine how long it took to get him to talk about the band’s latest album. Exactly. You’ve got it. Over two minutes. (The Daily Telegraph Magazine 19/9/2004). Spoken English: summary Spoken language has specific forms: ellipsis, tails; flexible clause structure; vague language. Spoken language has forms that were unnoticed in the past; new metalanguage is needed and traditional terms are not always adequate. There are structures that are frequent in speech and infrequent in writing and vice-versa; but note the particular challenge of the growing continua between speech and writing. Spoken communication Fluency has been under-theorised. Teaching of spoken English still works from assumptions of correctness based on written language norms. Spoken language focuses on speakers and listeners. Speakers and listeners co-create and orient towards each other. Fluency is confluence. Teaching and curricula need to recognise the needs of 21st century spoken communication through English and to develop appropriate testing mechanisms. To this end corpora can provide a starting point. References Biber, D et al, (1999) The Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English (Longman, Harlow) Carter, R. and McCarthy, M. (2006) Cambridge English Grammar: A Comprehensive Guide to Spoken and Written Grammar and Usage (CUP: Cambridge) Cornbleet, S and Carter, R (2001) The Language of Speech and Writing (Routledge, London) Halliday, M.A.K. (1989) Spoken and Written Language (OUP Oxford). O’ Keeffe, A, McCarthy, M. and Carter, R. From Corpus to Classroom (CUP: Cambridge) Pridham, F (2001) The Language of Conversation (Routledge, London).