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The English of speech tends to be different from the English of writing some fai

rly obvious ways. For instance:


We have time to plan our message in writing, but that is not possible while usin
g the spoken form of English.
We often use words like Well, You see etc in speech. But in writing we tend to a
void these. These kind of words and phrases add little facts , but tell us somet
hing about the attitude of the speaker towards the context and audience.
We often use Hesitate fillers, i.e. some speech forms like um / /, err/ / while
we think of what next to say.
More over in spoken form, we may fail to complete the sentence and mix up one gr
ammatical construction with another. These do not occur in writing.
In spoken form a sentence has a less strict construction than the sentence in a
writing form. It is also difficult to divide a spoken conversation into separate
sentences and the relationships between one clause to another is less clear in
this case as the speaker relies more on hearer s understanding of the context. The
speaker also depends upon the ability of the listener to interpret if he fails
to provide the exact sound representation to his expression.
More over the speaker is able to rely on features of intonation which tell us a
great deal, which can t be given in written punctuation.
Even, as far as the sound or the phonetic aspect of the analysis is concerned, t
here are some important point to note which makes spoken form some what special.
Though the sound system of our spoken language serves us primarily as a medium
of communication, its efficiency as such an instrument of communication does not
depend upon the perfect production and reception of every single element of spe
ech.
The speaker will , in almost any utterance, provide the listener with far more c
ues than he needs for easy comprehension. The situation or the context of which
both the speaker and the listener are aware of , limit the purport of an utteran
ce. A.C. Gimson, in his book An Introduction to Pronounciation in English gives
an example as follows:
Thus, in any discussion about a zoo, involving a statement such as We saw the lio
ns and the tigers , we are predisposed by the context to understand lions, even if
the n is omitted and the word actually said is liars . or again , we are condit
ioned by grammatical probabilities, so that a particular sound may lose much of
its significance, e. g. in the phrase The men are working , the quality of the vowe
l in men is not as vitally important for deciding whether it is a question of me
n or man .as it would be if the word were said in isolation , since here plurali
ty is determined in addition by the demonstrative adjective preceding men and th
e verb form following.
This kind of appropriation of sound is called redundancy.
About The Author
Samir K. Dash is a MA in English (UGC-NET qulaified) from Ravenshaw College, Cut
tack (INDIA). Currently he is working as senior content developer at AniGraphs.c
om