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A Level English Language Starters: Mode & Technology

Beth Kemp | Monday March 25, 2013


Guide Navigation

  • A Level English Language Starters: Frameworks & Analysis
  • A Level English Language Starters: Accent & Dialect
  • A Level English Language Starters: Language & Gender
  • A Level English Language Starters: Language Change
  • A Level English Language Starters: Child Language Acquisition
  • A Level English Language Starters: Language & Power

Spoken Language

Note that some of the starters listed in the ‘Language and Power’ guide focus on spoken language, particularly referencing status differences and politeness.

It can be interesting to ask students to draft a set of rules for conversations before studying speech in any depth. These can easily be drawn up in pairs and then tested against recorded conversations or transcripts. In some ways, it’s good for students to see that they can use their existing, ‘commonsense’ knowledge of language and yet, at the same time, it can be interesting for them to see how many supposed rules we regularly break (e.g. each talking, one at a time, with no interruptions).

How many kinds of answer? is a good activity for focusing on adjacency pairs. Students are given the first part of an adjacency pair and asked to produce a list of possible/ logical responses. They can either be given an utterance, or a label for the type of move. The latter works better for getting students to think in more abstract terms, but the first is more helpful for weaker students, and the category labels can then be added at the feedback stage. Suitable categories include:

  • Question
  • Invitation
  • Compliment
  • Greeting

Alternatively, categories can be elicited from students initially.

Conversational structures can be quickly explored through role play, with pairs or small groups of students figuring out the different ways they do certain things in their everyday communication such as: initiate a conversation; leave a conversation; change the topic; ask for information; make a request.

Alternatively, if you’re...

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