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    Describe the difference between spoken and written modes in form and function Essay

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    Speaking and writing are two different methods of communication which today’s society cannot be without. The mode a person chooses to communicate with depends on a number of things such as the situation, the person giving the information and the person receiving it. Speech is an impermanent method of communication as it cannot be recalled due to memory problems, therefore, it is less suitable for long and complex messages.

    It is a instantaneous and interactive method of a communication which is why it is a useful way of communicating emotions as well as the best method for conversation. It is more likely to be informal, subjective and personal. The written mode of communication is fixed and permanent. Writing is more objective and impersonal and is a good method of communication to use for planning, correctness, keeping records and organisation. I will convey why these two different modes of communication are beneficial in different forms and how and why their functions make this so.

    In the written mode of communication, you may have a distant or unknown audience whereas in the spoken mode, you will be able to see or hear the person you are speaking to which means that speech is interactive. The other person therefore has chance to reply and ask questions. This is where minimal responses such as “mmm” and “yeah” are used to let the speaker know that they are being understood or followed. The speaker often requests this minimal response with questions like “you see” or “do you know what I mean”.

    This is clearly displayed in Extract 1 when Henry Cockburn says “because its quite near you see” and the interviewer replies with “yeah” and then Henry carries on speaking. Henry probably did not want to know if the interviewer knew that “it was quite near”, just that he was listening and followed his speech which is why this requests for a response actually occur. Speech is interactive because it can be used in a face to face situation, over the phone and interpersonal in many other respects. However there are exceptions to this.

    The spoken mode is not always an interactive experience; spoken words can be recorded onto a Dictaphone for example and later played back to the receiver which also means that it is not an impermanent method of communication as previously mentioned, nor is it instantaneous. Recorded speech is just as useful as the written mode of communication in some respects; this is because it can be listened to over and over again until the recipient fully understands the meaning. It is also suitable for complex messages for the same reasons.

    Feedback, if necessary, can also be slow or delayed because of this. The written mode of communication is “distant” in time which means that reading and feedback can be slow or delayed. It can also be one way communication with no feedback. However, there are always exceptions to rules. Writing is not always “distant” in time as new technology such as instant messaging allows communication through the written mode to take place instantaneously. Using the written mode of communication can be beneficial in many ways.

    The written text will reach the recipient in the form which has been exactly desired by the writer as it can be revised and edited many times before passing it on corrected to the recipient. This is very useful as you have time to spend thinking about what you want to say and how you want to say it whereas with speech you cannot have time to spend thinking about how or what you want to say and how you want to say it as it is instantaneous. This is clearly displayed in “Extract 1 – Joining Manchester United FC” where the interviewer says “How how what was the age range… Here, two of the most prominent flaws in speech are conveyed; repetition and then a change of what is being said due to a false start.

    These are extremely common flaws in speech as the language is more redundant. As speech is spontaneous, and errors are constantly made, we tend to correct ourselves as we go along. This is called non fluency. This is clearly displayed in “Extract 2- News of the Munich Air Crash” where Henry Cockburn keeps on correcting himself during his speech: “down there at the Evening Chron – Evening News its called- no – aye – Evening something in Peterborough”

    Other flaws include long rambling turns due to loose sentence structure as well sentence digression which too, can be attributed to this. This is clearly displayed in Extract 1 again, when Henry Cockburn speaks about Cyril Edge wanting to sign him for Blackpool FC: “and he came round to sign me – one particular – Saturday – Cyril Edge he was called Mister Edge- and his son played for the second team Lancashire second team fast bowler and ur- I was in bed with the ‘flu… ” Here Henry Cockburn clearly displays a long rambling turn and sentence digression as well as self correction and many continuers such as “and ur”.

    Every dash – in the extract stands for a pause in the flow of speech. This is a common factor of speech. All of these typical flaws of speech make it so recognisable that when it is wrote down, you could identify it as speech even without the aid of speech and/or quotation marks! The written mode of communication is useful as it is a lot more suitable for long and complex messages as it is fixed and permanent which means that it can be recovered and looked at many times and it will not change.

    This is clearly not the case with speech as it is impermanent and not recoverable which means that any message which is of reasonable length will either be unintentionally distorted, have sections missed out or not explained correctly when passed on all due to memory problems. However, this is not the case with recorded speech as it is recoverable and has all the beneficial aspects of written text in the context of passing a long and complex message on. The written mode of communication has a self contained medium.

    This is highly beneficial in certain forms as there are no other messages given other than the one you intend to be unlike in seen in the spoken mode of communication. Recorded speech does not always have the same benefits of written text pending on the context and situation it is used in. This is because speech contains much regional and personal variation such as idiolect and dialect which can bring about the wrong judgements of a personality because of prejudices. Therefore, the form in which you use recorded speech or speech in general must be relevant to what you wish the outcome of the communication to be.

    For instance, if a person with a very regional dialect wanted to apply for a loan from a bank, the best way of going about it would be to firstly, write to the bank and then to go in for an interview. This is because using the written mode of communication is likely to be more formal as well as more standardised and less personal. Therefore assumptions of character will not take place meaning that the letter will be read with and unbiased approach. The fact that the spoken mode of communication means that you can hear the accent and dialect and get a good grasp of the persons idiolect are not necessarily bad things.

    This can be highly beneficial as well depending on the context the spoken mode is used in as meaning can be added to speech through context, body language and tone. For instance; confessing your un-dying love for someone would be better done using the spoken mode of communication as they could be able to tell from these things that you were genuine. Apologising to someone using spoken mode would be beneficial if you were sincere but it would be more beneficial to use the written mode of communication if you were insincere about it as they will only be getting a small view of a bigger picture.

    As well as being more standardised and less personal, the written mode of communication has to be clear and unambiguous, and avoid context-bound expressions. This is especially relevant when writing to an “unknown” or mass audience so they can fully understand what you are trying to convey to them. Speech is unlike this. It is a lot more context bound and can be vague, imprecise, “roundabout” and also need feedback questions. However this is not the case with prepared speech. The requirements for the written mode of communication I have just mentioned do not always apply though.

    Many quick notes and text messages between friends are just as full of the inaccuracies of speech as speech itself! An extract from a recent text message I recieved from a friend read, “boo! dontforget 2meet us outside the place where u no who fullmontybonked wiv dickwad@9ish txtbak luvk8xxx” That extract from a text message between two friends is very vague, imprecise, totally informal with no punctuation or structured sentences and is extremely context bound. It also has mis-spelled words, colloquialisms and the taboo language is from and the specific group of friends lexis.

    If that particular text message had been written in standard English and in a more formal situation it would have probably read “Hello Cassie, I would like to confirm the previously made arrangement to meet with you outside “The Bridgwater Hotel”, at nine O’clock tonight. I would greatly appreciate it if you could contact me at your earliest convenience to clarify this. Thank you, Kate. However, as it was a text message sent between two friends and the recipient of the message was able to understand the sender clearly. This is because it was a situation understood by a group of friends so it was OK for it to be context bound and vague.

    As I mentioned previously, prepared speech is unlike spontaneous speech and does not conform to the stereotypes of the spoken mode, as it is more like the written mode. In prepared speech, the language is less redundant, with tighter sentence construction and a lot less, if no self-correction . it is also likely to be more formal. As it is prepared it flows a lot easier as you know what you are going to say so typical flaws of the spoken mode of communication are not as readily present. This is could also be because prepared speech is sometimes read.

    And as the written mode of communication is of more organised grammar with periodic sentences and paragraphs, it is by far more structured. Depending on the context, one form of communication will be required firstly above the other. Because conversation plays such a big part in all of our lives, speech I would the most widely used mode of communication. This is because it is instantaneous, giving us instant feedback and also lets us know more about the whole person due to emotions being conveyed more effectively through not only the language itself, but body language, tone and eye contact.

    The written mode of communication is more widely used in business as it is very useful for keeping permanent records of customer details and transactions which are completely necessary. It is also useful in case they ever have a dispute and need to prove something in court as they have a written evidence. However, new technology such as text messaging, instant messaging over the inter-net and e-mail are encouraging people to contact each other using the written mode of communication a lot more frequently.

    However, speaking from personal experience, I do have to add that the only time I talk on an instant messaging service is when the person who I am trying to contact is engaged on their phone line! It is the same with text messages; if they have there phone turned off, I text them so I know that as soon as they turn it on they will receive a message from me telling them what I needed them to know! My personal favourite method of communication is speech; there is nothing better than a good conversation!

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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