The Language of Speech and Writing

The Language of Speech and Writing

The Language of Speech and Writing

The Language of Speech and Writing


This accessible satellite textbook in the Routledge Intertext series is unique in offering students hands-on practical experience of textual analysis focused on speech and writing. Written in a clear, user-friendly style, it combines practical activities with texts, accompanied by commentaries and suggestions for further study. It can be used individually or in conjunction with the series core textbook Working With Texts: A core introduction to language analysis .Aimed at A and AS Level and beginning undergraduate students, the Language of Speech and Writing :* Analyses the processes involved in writing and speaking* Highlights the differences between these two modes of communication* Explores written texts from recipes to legal language, spoken texts from telephone conversations to interviews and mixed-mode texts from email to adverts* Compares and contrasts spoken and written texts on the same theme


This book explores the nature of speech and writing and the overlaps between spoken and written language. We do not normally think much about speech and speaking. When we speak, we do so largely auto-matically and unconsciously but when we write, we have to be much more aware of what we are doing. Do we type it or write it? Do we send a card or handwrite a letter? Is the message better as an email? Why? And how does the language change? This book aims to make us think more about written and spoken language.

We normally don’t learn to write until we are already able to speak. Speech comes before writing. While there are some languages which are only written and which are used mainly for ceremonial or religious purposes, it is almost impossible to imagine a society which only communicates through writing. On the other hand, in the history of civilisation there have been many societies which have relied only on oral communication and many languages today are used without there being a written record. Why? Here we explore the consequences of speech coming before writing. During the course of an average day we also speak much more than we write. This book explores the dominance of spoken language in everyday communication.

Yet most societies value writing more than speech. Most examinations test knowledge by means of reading and writing tasks and most examinations, including the driving test, cannot be passed without competence in the use of written language. The most highly valued texts in most societies are written texts. The term literature is used to refer to written material, including dramatic texts. Why? In this book we examine some of the reasons for the high prestige of writing.

Speaking can often be difficult. We can have false starts, repeat ourselves, forget what we wanted to say, but, generally, speaking is easier to learn than writing. Learning to write requires us to be more conscious of what we are doing and, from the early stages of forming letters to the more advanced stages of moving from one style to

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