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Vinni & Miss Conway

Analysis of this clip based on Spoken Language and its adaptations for certain purposes. The clip is from Educating Essex.
by

Dev Shah

on 6 November 2014

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Transcript of Vinni & Miss Conway

Miss Conway tries to gain power and maintain control over Vinnie in their conversation. She does this by using a variety of spoken language features such as: interruptions, overlaps and direct language throughout the conversation.

Vinnie and Miss Conway's overlap shows how both of them are arguing for power however eventually Miss Conway stops this. Vinnie eventually allows her to control the turn taking as he allows her to speak a sentence without any interruptions. This could be because it is more necessary for her to control the turn taking because if she gives in to Vinnie's answering back, Vinnie would have power over her. As she is the one trying to convince Vinnie to concentrate more on school, if he has more power he is less likely to listen to her. Also she uses a louder, firmer and more urgent voice and she interrupts him faster than he interrupts her which shows her need rather than her want to have power over Vinnie as she needs him to believe what she says.
This sentence that she says without an interruption is also speaking on Vinnie's behalf as she says "you know as well as i do" in it. This shows she recognizes the fact that he is falling behind and knows about his regression. Furthermore Vinnie doesn't object to that which means that Miss Conway now has full authority over him. She also uses more direct language in contrast in how she started the conversation because she says "you know" instead of "I think you know" or "I'm pretty sure you know"
this direct language tells us that Miss Conway has more power in this asymmetrical power relationship towards the end of the extract. This phrase also has the intention of getting him to consider why he is challenging for her power when he should just accept he is wrong and that he cannot have power over her as his point (I have improved since last year) is completely incorrect.
V: What you think I've got [worse
C: [Yes
V:[No
C:[Yes
V:[I've got better
C:No you haven't and you know as well as I do
C: At the end of the day (.) it's your choice you make the decisions (1) th- las- the next nine months...
Vinnie and Miss Conway
Miss Conway starts off the conversation with " you sort of". The use of this hedge "dilutes" the message she is trying to put across. This asserts a subtle approach to the conversation. Despite Miss Conway trying to gain power over Vinnie she uses a very sympathetic way of convincing him that he has become worse since Year 9 which could suggest she is trying to gain referent power rather than coercive power. This could be due to the fact that women are stereotypically less competitive and less insulting in conversation and they use hedges more. However this could also be because in schools you get some teachers that don't feel using coercive power on students is right as it can be counter-productive. Furthermore she uses a sympathetic and concerned tone to try to listen to him and not try to argue with him (unlike Vinnie's conversation with Mr Drew) which could show although her purpose is to get Vinnie to go to all his lessons she feels empathy and genuine concern for Vinnie. It is also shown that Miss Conway is sitting below Vinnie, this could show how she is trying to make Vinnie seem as if he has more power over her. He also avoids eye contact with her, this could show that he thinks he has more authority and believes he doesn't have to show respect or regard to what she is saying.
"(1) th- las- the next nine..." Miss Conway has pauses and redrafts what she is saying because her purpose is to convince Vinnie that she is right and he must listen, therefore she has to get her message across to Vinnie. However if she's too direct she may insult and anger him. A result of this could mean she loses power and the respect Vinnie would have towards her, so she redrafts and uses pauses because she is thinking hard about what she's saying before saying it to have the best possible chance of getting Vinnie to believe her. Another reason she has pauses could be because she was actually expecting Vinnie to carry on interrupting her and she is surprised than Vinnie had allowed her to speak for so long (6 lines) and hands more power to her by doing so. A final reason she may include pauses in this long utterance is because she is allowing time for her words to sink into Vinnies brain as it makes Vinnie think about himself rather than having words just washing over him.
Miss Conway:
You sort
of rebelling (2) is making your life worse.
Full transcript