Lesson Three
•Context of Situation
Scripts, etc.
• Scripts
• Frames
• Mental Models
• “the interpretation of discourse is based to a large
extent on a simple principle of analogy with what
we have experienced in the past. As adults we are
liable to possess quite substantial amounts of
background experience and knowledge.”
• (Brown and Yule)
Scripts, etc.
• The plane carrying much needed food
• The pilot was unhurt but captured by…
• (context)
Scripts, etc.
• Mary got some beer out of the car.
• The beer was warm.
• Mary got some picnic things out of the car.
• The beer was warm.
Context of Situation
• The nature of the social action.
• What is happening.
• Who is doing what to whom,
when, where how and why.
• Participant roles
– Eg. informer, questioner
• Personal relationships
– Eg. mother/daughter; teacher/pupil;
• How the language is organised.
• Channel – spoken, written, phoned, faxed,
Five Minute’s Peace
The children were having breakfast. This was not a pleasant
Mrs Large took a tray from the cupboard: She set it with a
teapot, a milk jug, her favourite cup and saucer, a plate of
marmalade and toast and a leftover cake from yesterday.She
stuffed the morning paper into her pocket and sneaked off
towards the door.
“Where are you going with that tray, Mum? asked Laura. “To
the bethroom” said Mrs Large. “Why” asked the other two
children. “Because I want five minute’s peace from you lot”,
said Mrs. Large. “That’s why.”
Five Minute’s Peace (cont.)
“Can we come?” asked Lester as they trailed up the
stairs behind her. “No” said Mrs. Large, “you can’t”.
“What shall we do the”, asked Laura. “You can
play” said Mrs. Large. “Downstairs, by yourselves. And keep
an eye on the baby.” “I’m not a baby,” muttered the little one.
Mrs. Large ran a deep, hot bath. She emptied half a bottle of
bath-foam into the water, out on her bath-hat and got in. She
poured herself a cup of tea and lay back with her eyes closed.
It was heaven.
Five Minute’s Peace (cont.)
“Can I play my tune?” asked Lester. Mrs. Large opened one eye. “Must
you?” she asked. “I’ve been practising,” said Lester. “You told me to. Can
I? Please, just for one minute.” “Go on then,” sighed Mrs. Large. So
Lester played. He played ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’ three and a half
In came Laura. “Can I read you a page from my reading book?” she
asked. “No, Laura,” said Mrs. Large. “Go on, all of you, off downsatairs.”
“You let Lester play his tune,” said Laura. “I heard. You like him better
than me. It’s not fair.” “Oh, don’t be silly, Laura, “ said Mrs. Large. “Go
on then. Just one page.” So Laura read. She read four and a half pages of ‘Little
Red Riding Hood’.
In came the little one with a trunkful of toys. “For you,” he smiled, throwing them
all into the bath water. “Thank you dear,” said Mrs. Large weakly.
Five Minute’s Peace (cont.)
“Can I see the cartoons in the paper?” asked
“Can I have the cake?” asked Lester.
“Can I get in with you?” asked the little one.
Mrs. Large groaned.
In the end they all got in. The little one was in
such a hurry that he forgot to take off his pyjamas.
Mrs. Large got out. “Where are you going now, Mum?” asked
Laura. “To the kitchen,” said Mrs. Large. “Why?” asked
Lester. “Because I want five minutes peace from you lot”,
said Mrs. Large. “That’s why.”
Five Minutes Peace (end)
• And off she went downstairs, where she had
three minutes and forty-five seconds of
peace before they all came to join her.
Example: Five Minute’s Peace
• Field:
– a picture book story for children about an
elephant family. It describes Mrs. Large trying
to get ‘five minute’s peace’ but is really about
normal, happy family life;
– lexical items familiar to children;
– short clauses and simple (repeated) structures;
– cohesion with pictures
Example: Five Minute’s Peace
• Tenor:
– standard English, conversational;
– gently humourous portrayal of family life, with
obvious author empathy;
– author- reader: on a par with parents and
– author-characters: understanding
– mother-children: kindly indulgent
Example: Five Minute’s Peace
• Mode:
– written to be read aloud as if not written;
– frequent ellipsis, etc. to emulate spontaneous
– italics proved phonological feature:
– direct speech
Functions of Language
• Ideational function
• Interpersonal function
• Textual function
Ideational function
• Language functions to encode and transmit
information between members of society.
It uses transitivity structures:
John plays football. (material process)
He thinks he is very good (mental process)
He is good (relational process)
Interpersonal function
• Language functions to establish and maintain
relations between members of society.
• We use the declarative, interrogative and
imperative modes, and appraisal lexis
• Bill: Hey, you kicked me!
• John: I’m sorry, really, but it was your fault.
• Bill: What do you mean, it was my fault???!!!
Textual Function
• Language functions to organise messages.
• Theme/rheme Given/New
• Bill: John saw Bill briefly yesterday
He said hello
Yesterday John saw Bill briefly
It was then that he said hello.
• Affect
• Status
• Contact
Register 2
Happy Birthday
to an
Register 3
To Mr. Reginald Smith
The management wish to extend their
sincere good wishes on the occasion of your
Register 4
Oh, it’s your birthday, is it? Well, many
happy returns, mate.
Register 5
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Here are my birthday wishes
to you.
Happy birthday, darling.
Register 6
• And funeral condolences…?
referent – reference – referring expression
Anyone who has breakfasted around Europe
will know that ‘bread’ has more than one
(across languages words do not match easily)
Cf. habit = a, b, c, ….
niente = a, b, c, ….
Humpty Dumpty
• When I use a word, it means what I choose
it to mean – neither more nor less.
“He ate my bacon sandwich!”
– connotation/denotation
“Mi ha mangiato il panino!”
‘Semantic prosody’ integrates term with a
• Real names
• Speedy Gonzales
• Mr. Plod
• Alice in Wonderland/The Mock Turtle