Spoken Language Study – Gather Your Data

An exploration of the sophistication and richness of the way we modify and elaborate on standard English to enrich our interpersonal communication.

Stage 1:

Transcribe an informal spoken conversation between yourself and someone you know.


These are particular to spoken communication. 

Download (PDF, 50KB)

Stage 2:

Transcribe an instant messaging conversation and annotate it for all instances that deviate from standard English.


These are particular to online and text communication. 

Emoticons – graphic symbols representing emotions
Acronyms – use of words’ initial letters to form a single new word e.g. AIDS
Initialisms – initial letters spelled out e.g. OMG
Contractions – omitted letters, e.g. txt
Logograms – single letters or numbers replacing sections of words e.g. 2day for today or u for you
Ellipsis – omitted parts of a sentence e.g. coming?
Unusual spelling – e.g. wiv for with (often reflecting an accent)
Merged words – e.g. seeya
Repeated letters for emphasis e.g. helllllo
Upper case or lower case to donate tone e.g. NO WAY
Punctuation omitted or added for effect e.g. dont be late!!!
Speech-like interjections e.g. ha ha

Stage 3: Develop an Hypothesis

Based on your gathering and annotation of your speech and text conversations, develop an hypothesis about why we make the modifications we do to the language when we communicate inter-personally.

Posted by Christopher Waugh

“Risk! Risk anything! Care no more for the opinions of others, for those voices. Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth.” (Katherine Mansfield)

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