Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Top tips for ENA3 transcript analysis

Following on from yesterday's quick tips for ENA1 textual analysis, here are some for the transcript analysis on ENA3. I'm not an examiner for this unit, but have picked up advice from those who are, so hopefully this will help. If you want more detail, check Beth Kemp's excellent site.

  • Read and annotate the transcript carefully at the start of the exam.
  • Use highlighters to mark out different speakers' turns if this helps you see patterns more quickly.
  • Label word classes, sentence functions and sentence types (e.g. The use of the noun phrase acting as a minor sentence "stupid men" by speaker x is a humorous utterance which serves to draw the speakers together.).
  • Discuss and label the features and effects of interaction (e.g. The use of a tag question by speaker y when she says "we studied this text last week didn't we" helps to facilitate a response from the other students in the class.).
  • Think about context all the time - much of what the speakers say will be linked to the type of talk they are engaged in and what they are doing.
  • Use the bullet points on the question paper to help cover all the assessment objectives.
  • Take an overview of the whole interaction and discuss patterns that you see across the transcript.

  • Discuss the transcript line by line; this is usually boring and unhelpful.
  • Make "deficit judgements" about spoken language with comments such as "this is bad grammar", "speaker x uses broken English" or "no one really speaks like this".
  • Try to apply theory to everything, especially if all you're doing is talking about Grice's (bloody) maxims; if you see accommodation, patterns of female/ male converstaional behaviour, face threatening acts, by all means mention them, but don't write too much.
  • Forget the context; context is everything in spoken interaction.
  • Assume every micropause or non-fluency feature is a significant hesitation; we all use micropauses and false starts.

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