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Spoken Language

Studying spoken language, how we speak, can be fascinating. When you transcribe recorded speech you become aware of the difference between writing and speech. Spontaneous speech contains repetition, fillers, hesitations, interruptions, unfinished sentences and sentences which appear ungrammatical. A good dialogue, or speaking with others, also involves turn-taking and cooperation.

See how well you understand the technical aspects of spoken language by trying this quiz.

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  1. The words 'um', 'er', 'uh', 'okay', or 'you know' are examples of...
    Fillers give the speaker a chance to think - they can also be used to discourage another speaker from taking a turn in the conversation
  2. What is a transcript?
    A transcript includes the hesitations, interruptions, unfinished sentences, filler words, etc., which are present in spoken language
  3. Speaking purely for social purposes or for the sake of interacting is known as...
    Phatic communication is generally called 'small talk'
  4. When more than one person speaks at a time, ......... occurs.
    Sometimes speakers say the same thing; sometimes they finish each other's sentences; at other times, an overlap might result from a disagreement between the two speakers
  5. People vary their speech according to their audience (or other participants) and the ...... in which they are speaking.
  6. Someone who speaks without much repetition or many fillers, pauses, or false starts would be described as...
  7. Spontaneous speech is the opposite of...
    Scripted speech has been written (and probably rehearsed) beforehand; spontaneous speech is unrehearsed
  8. In a transcript, which of the following represents a micro pause?
    As with interruptions, there are many different reasons why a speaker might pause: a change of mind, hesitating to finish the sentence, asking the other person a question, indicating that it is someone else's turn to speak, etc.
  9. Which one of the following is a reason why one speaker might interrupt another?
    Speakers frequently interrupt each other, so it's important to be sensitive to the tone of the interruption
  10. What does 'stress' mean in the context of spoken language?
    Part of a word might be stressed, rather than the entire word

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