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“Spread your Wings” is an extract from a novel, and is written to entertain. It is apparent that the piece is written for young adults, as the dialogue is that of two teenagers, and the slack use of English language from Chris, that immediately shows the reader his social class. However, the speech in this extract is only a representation of real speech. The characters within it speak using well-structured sentences, and do not show examples of real speech like repairs and stutters. The main hint of real speech is when Louisa interrupts Chris,

“But Tobias…”


“Yes! Tobias killed me…”

The interview between Michael Parkinson and Elijah Wood also has a purpose to entertain, but it is real speech that has been written down, exactly the same way that it is said. It shows each and every mistake that is made, such as stutters and repairs, and gives an idea of the tone used, from the pauses indicated by (.).

The relationship between Louisa and Chris in the extract from “Spread your Wings” is quite informal, such as when Louisa appears sarcastic with him with the line, “Get up you idiot” and “Stupid soppy git.” However, at some points in the extract, Louisa’s monologue becomes quite formal when talking about the upcoming war, and she has a high register in comparison to Chris. This also gives the reader the impression that Louisa is of a higher social class than Chris. This is because Chris repetitively drops his ‘t’s and ‘g’s, such as, “Wha’ are you on abou’?” showing a clear accent, whereas Louisa is continually well spoken yet the reader is under the impression that this has not always been so when Chris comments on her new accent and she replies with, “My motto innit.”

The relationship between Michael Parkinson and Elijah Wood is also quite informal, though Parkinson has a higher register than Wood. Wood shows that he is younger through his dialect, dropping letters and informal manner such as, “…rach helped the script writers and the actors on where to move and how an stuff (.) kinda handy…” whereas Parkinson remains well spoken, continually using the word “extraordinary.” This word is a very typical example of Parkinson’s idiolect and is a tag Parkinson often uses.

Normally, and interviewer is expected to speak perfectly, as the questions have been prepared for them to ask beforehand. However, Parkinson often stutters, and occasionally pauses’, giving an indication that he is thinking of how to phrase his next question. An example of this is, “oh so y-you don’t think she has a er (.) crush on you”. This shows that Parkinson adopts a friendly manner when talking to his guests, which makes them feel more relaxed in his company. This is why many guests confide some secrets to him that normally they would not utter, such as, “…well (1) rach even threw her knickers at me”. Due to Parkinson’s chatty tone, the interview is more fulfilling than it would be with a more formal interviewer.

Even though Louisa gently teases Chris in the novel extract, the reader knows that she loves him, and he is as equally smitten towards her. This is apparent from Chris continually asking for conformation that Louisa is back and no longer dead, for example, “Sen’ back? For…forever?” and “I have you back?” The relationship is further confirmed as those of lovers through the paralinguistics, as the couple often touch each other, like hand holding and kissing.

Another aspect of the extract that shows how close the two protagonists are is the adjacency pairs used. The way the characters respond to each other shows that the speech is fast paced showing that they know each other well.

This is contrasted by Louisa’s relationship with her daemon killer Tobias. Her tone, which has been friendly, though somewhat fondly sarcastic and bossy, changes to an icy tone. She is frostily polite, exchanging an opening sequence with,

“Hello Tobias.”

“Good evening your Angelness…”

This cold well-mannered way of addressing each other immediately establishes their hatred for each other. This sense of hate heightened by the fact that Louisa magically calls a weapon into existence. However, the fact that Tobias uses the lexical field of dance when discussing battle and that for him, mortal combat is like a dance, makes the reader feels he has done much killing in his lifetime. This affect is harrowing, as dance is a thing of beauty, and war so ugly. It even seems as though he enjoys it, like a couple dancing together would enjoy a waltz around the dance floor. This idea is chilling, and the reader feels fear for Louisa, as her character is a likeable one. The reader has already come to dislike Tobias as they have learnt Tobias has already killed Louisa once and caused both Louisa and Chris much pain. This makes the reader feel protective of the two lovers.

In the conversation between the two, there are two main topics of discussion, Louisa’s impossible existence and the upcoming war between the worlds. These topics are almost mixed together and the discussion constantly loops back to one or the other.

One aspect of this extract that is different from real speech is the gender roles. Normally, in a conversation between a male and female, the man will dominate the discussion, interrupting more than the woman and steering the conversation to a topic he would prefer to talk about.

However, Louisa is clearly in charge of the conversation between her and Chris. Chris mainly uses short sentences but Louisa has several long pieces of dialogue. It seems as though Chris is patiently waiting for Louisa to explain before he says his piece.

This is the same in the interview. Parkinson rarely interrupts or discusses his views, and lets Elijah talk for most of the interview, gently prodding Elijah to the right topic with occasional questions.

Parkinson gives a lot of positive feedback, such as, “/mmmm/” and “/oh really?/”. Often he will ask Wood one question and allow him to go off on a tangent before looping the topic back to where he wanted it of changing the subject known as a topic shift. Again, this shows why guests are so comfortable in Parkinson’s company that he does not nag them or put them off.

Overall, these two pieces show a clear distinction between real speech and a representation of real speech. The interview gives examples of repairs and speech defects, but showing an interesting twist that the interviewer makes mistakes as well. The extract shows that a representation of speech is constructed in sentences, with no self-repairs. An accent can be shown, but normally is only an example of the accent. If it were all written exactly how it sounded, it would be extremely hard to read. Both pieces also show difference of speech to different people, particularly in the novel extract as we see the way Louisa talks to someone she loves, then someone she hates.

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Kylie Garcia

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