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& his aims: Tim Harford, an acclaimed economist/journalist; to provide information about some applications of game theory. Audience: General, especially since Harford is applying game theory to something as universal as love – i.e. not specialist economics (not in an economics journal but the BBC website, which has a v wide audience). Participants in the conversation (i.e. each other’s audience), and their aims: Tim the economist, an expert in his field, is trying to teach Andy how to use game theory to get a date. Andy is apparently going along with Tim’s advice and instructions. B Spoken conversation between Tim Harford and Andy.
SPOKEN TEXT FEATURES OF B Linguistic features exclusive to spoken texts (i) Interactive features Contextual features where derivable
• • • •
Turn-taking between T and A, resulting in adjacency pairs Back-channelling – ‘okay’ (A3), ‘sounds pretty good’ (A5), ‘uh huh’ (A7), ‘I see’ (A28) Overlap – A ol T (4-5) Interruption and completing others’ utterances – A interrupts T etc (‘and then =’ ‘= I get it’, 24-25) Politeness strategies – claims of common opinions/attitudes – ‘sounds pretty good’ (A5)
A using backchannelling to respond politely to T even though he’s not actually being asked to do so. A overlaps & interrupts T, probably not because he’s being rude but because he’s eager to respond / show he’s paying attention.
circuitous way of asking someone to do something – ‘why don’t we watch…see what you think’ (T18)
(ii) Non-fluency features • • Pauses Fillers – ‘um’ (T15, A16), ‘er’ (T19) Repetition – by the SAME speaker: ‘you’re gonna (.) you’re gonna’ (T6), ‘if (.) if’ (T10-11), ‘you never (.) never can tell’ (A16), ‘why don’t we watch (.) why don’t we watch’ (T18), ‘she (.) she’ (T26), ‘to see (.) to see’ (T26), ‘you (.) you’ (T29) False starts – ‘I have to say (.) well I kind of as I say…’ (A16), ‘you invite (.) you tried to persuade…’ (T29) Unfinished utterances / hanging sentences – ‘…I thought something might happen but’ (A16-17) Ellipsis – see Formality
• • •
(iii) Non-verbal features
• • •
Stress – ‘then’ (T24) Rising intonation (interrogative) – ‘…um surprised / ‘ (T15), ‘so / (2) what did you see / did it work /’ (T20). Falling intonation (end of declarative) – (T12, 18, 26)
(iv) Other syntactic and semantic features
Hedging / vague language – ‘well I kind of as I say you never…’ (A16) Discourse markers – ‘well’ (T18), ‘so’ (T20), ‘I mean’ (A21)
1 – doesn’t count) Certainty / assertiveness reduced by • • • The imperative mood (‘think of it…guarantee’ 11-12) Declaratives with semi-modal of medium to high obligation ‘be going to’ (‘you’re gonna…’ 6. and contact is actually fairly low for a spoken interaction because T & A are not friends or even acquaintances.INTERPERSONAL MEANING CONTACT Personal pronouns The writer uses mostly 2p general pronouns (10. 26). etc) – with his certainty / assertiveness reduced only a very little by • Modal and semi-modal auxiliaries of high probability: ‘will’ (18). mostly to respond briefly to T. 24. BTW: A never addresses T directly. to place A in the same group as himself. 25. addressing him individually. ‘might’ (low. perhaps because the article is about the application of game theory to more personal issues. 22-23. etc etc). However. NB: Ignore the 1p & 2p pronouns in quotes (8-11. POWER Mood & modality High degree of authority expressed by the use of: Mood & modality Tim T regulates A’s behaviour with strong instructions / directives via the following linguistic devices – • • many bare declaratives to express opinions / make assertions (1. 4. 3. ‘be going to’ (24. Certainty reduced quite a lot by • Modals of probability: ‘will’ (high. the inclusive ‘we’. Personal pronouns Both T & A use the 1p singular pronoun to place themselves. However. 8) or in the simple present tense (‘you say…’ 8) The interrogative mood used as a directive (‘why don’t we watch…’ 18) • A few modal auxiliaries of probability – ‘can’ (6. 9. 12. A13. the circumstances that call for it. 25. low) NOTE – and by eliciting verbal behaviour using: • If the writer isn’t the subject of verbs of thinking & perception. ‘would’ (30) Andy Uses only the declarative mood. 13). 22 – medium probability). 2. in the 3p. 16. T uses the 1p plural pronoun. ‘might’ (21. ‘could’ (15. Main concern is to explain. 21. ‘what did you see / did it work /’ 20) T also expresses opinions / makes assertions using – • Mostly bare declaratives (1-2. those verbs do NOT contribute to lower certainty on his part (eg the writer is 100% certain that Van Neumann believed something). how game theory can be used.e. The ones in 24-26 could be interpreted as 2p plural pronouns and hence be interpreted by a reader as 2p singular pronouns. T uses the 2p singular pronoun to address A directly (T1. 2 . low). 26). 28). 30. simply because this is a face to face conversation. in the text / refer to themselves as individuals (T22. etc. as individuals. he could be seen as trying to ESTABLISH A LITTLE CONTACT with the readers. ‘Can/could’ in 4 and 8 don’t count because they’re used in other people’s Experiences – ‘Van Neumann believed that the theory could…’ & ‘Real enthusiasts think game theory can…’ The interrogative mood (‘un surprised’ 15. i. they’re to watch the video together (T18). via synthetic personalisation. 23-24) There is a high degree of contact between the two speakers. the level of contact is far lower than that in B. etc) the imperative mood to instruct readers as to what to think in a particular situation (‘…do not let him tell you…’ 25-26) (Expository interrogative. Necessarily lower contact because Harford’s readers constitute a mass audience.
ACTIVE & PASSIVE VOICE A has some instances of the passive voice to do with the development & use of game theory (‘was developed’. Focus on what it can be used for. 8) Former object ‘game theory’ shifted to subject position by passivisation because it’s one of the main topics of the text. N’s & N COLLOCATIONS PRE-MOD N’s Both texts have a combination of gradable adjectives (& adverbs). This is because A is a planned written text. Tim is arguably not as spontaneous as Andy. GRAD / NON-GRAD A’s & ADV’s. 24) while B has none at all. two in 1-2). 5. Gradable A’s & ADVs Gradable A’s & ADVs shaky (24) Subjective descriptions / evaluations of how useful game theory is. but T’s turns are obviously far longer than A’s. T has more power than A in every way. B has more instances of conjunction (1. etc). 4. T & A have almost the same number of turns. ’I mean’ (21) Hedging / vague language – ‘well I kind of as I say you never…’ (A16) Turn taking Harford cannot be 100% certain about whether game theory is the best way of analysing certain situations.g. not on who uses it. ‘I thought’ (16). ‘[be] used’. it has fewer than A. interrogatives 15 & 20). However. B is entirely in the active voice. whereas B has speakers that are speaking relatively spontaneously and therefore less likely to utter highly complex sentences. especially concerning Andy’s feelings. 3 . Only T initiates topics (game theory 1. 9. and the person giving advice as to what A should do to get a date. B has fewer non-gradable adjectives and nouns / noun collocations premod Ns than gradable adjectives. 17. 2. 9. non-gradable adjectives and nouns / noun collocations pre-modifying Ns. because he’s the expert and knows the subject well – hence the surprisingly large number of subordinate clauses in the parts spoken by him. 23) serious (11) importantly (11) long (15) expensive (19) strong (19) valuable (24) • • • • • • • best (4) good (5. 4. his generally high level of authority comes from his superior knowledge of the subject of game theory. 22. being the expert to A’s layman. However. A interrupts & overlaps.17) • • Verbs of thinking & perception: ‘sounds’ (5). or about what people really do and think about love and marriage (hence the modals in 6. 10. etc etc) than A (16. A has a few marked themes (14. GENERAL STUFF COMPLEXITY While B has quite a lot of subordinate clauses (e. thoughts and actions. Andy. and the various situations in which it • • • • • • • • • versatile (6) important (9. the signal 4. 6. 15. Tim (who does most of the speaking) uses the active voice to focus mainly on various individuals (himself. obviously (21) quickly (30) Subjective descriptions / evaluations of various aspects of the situation. 22). but only through eagerness to concur with T. etc) Only T allocates turns (‘think of it as a money-back guarantee’ 11-12. 14) favourite (6) confident (9) surprised (15) stilted. the girl) and what they have done or should do. 8.
25) modern (21) separate (22) second (23. and their thoughts and emotions. 22) Real enthusiasts think… (8) ? persuade someone… (10 – could be verbal) work out… (11) are / is serious… (10-12) they could be trusted… (14) Modern lovers might think… (21) size up their partners (22) wants to [hang on to his…flat] (25) Game theory tells you he is up to something (26) Used to describe mental events involving two main sets of Experiencers: (i) the academics who came up with. 24) N’s & N collocations pre-modifying N’s game [theory] (1. Relational processes and process verbs DOMINATED BY MENTAL PROCESSES Mental processes and process verbs sounds pretty good (5) I hope you’d want to [go on a date] (8) I feel confident…you’ve got to know me (9) you will like me (10) you don’t like me…see the show with somebody else (11) think of it as a money-back guarantee (11-12) I’ll think of it like that (13) surprised / (15) you never (. 18. ‘why don’t we watch…’ etc) (ii) people involved in romantic pursuits. and use. theory. 23) third (10) money-back (11-12) first (29) • • • • • • • • N’s & N collocations pre-modifying N’s • • • • world champion poker [players] (5) • love [lives] (9-10) • engagement [ring(s)] (13.can be used. 21) • escape [route] (24) • bachelor [flat] (25) A’s aim is more technical than B’s – focuses on some very specific concepts and issues to do with the application of game theory to human behaviour. and what they think / feel about their partners / situations. game theory (ii) lovers. B is much less technical than A. eg ‘the third date’ (10). 8. because B focuses on the practical application of game theory in a real-life situation.by…von Neumann… (34) Von Neumann believed…theory could be used… (4) has…been used by…poker players (5) [game theory] can be used / using / can use (6. in which Andy must know exactly what to do rather than the background. 23) IDEATIONAL MEANING (controversial but acceptable eg’s marked with ?) DOMINATED BY MENTAL PROCESSES Mental processes and process verbs Economists think they understand (1) Game theory was developed. Otherwise. 23) B is specific only with regard to a few details of the instructions Tim gives Andy. used to describe mental events involving two kinds of Experiencers: (i) Tim and Andy planning and observing the use of game theory to get Andy a date (‘think of it as a moneyback guarantee’. Relational processes and process verbs 4 .. body [language] (21. 2. etc etc) World [War] (3) • • • • two (4. • • • game [theory] (1) ? West [End] (4..) never can tell (16) I thought [something might happen] (16-17) why don’t we watch…we’ll see what you think (18) what did you see / (20) she was going to like you and get to know you (24) I get it (25) I see (28) ? you tried to persuade her… (29 – could be verbal) As in A. 19. Non-gradable A’s Non-gradable A’s • • three (1) Second (3) Cold [War] (4) one (7) other (8) real (8) another (15) financial (20. etc of game theory. 9.
29) used by T to refer endophorically to the girl that A favours. etc signify. 6. 26. the ring]… (18) for the man to stick around… (19) move in together… (23) insignificant / no particular pattern Material processes and process verbs give her the tickets (8) go on a couple of dates (9) go to the show with you (10) go to [see the show] (11) we’ll go on a date (23) take you on the first date (29) Used to describe the physical events/actions in the dating process. a second home. in the process of attempting to get them together. 27. or people (especially A) involved in the dating process. 18. Grammatical cohesion Reference Reference 2p singular pronouns ‘you’ used by T to refer exophorically to Andy from beginning to end (1. 4. very much focused on A and the girl he’s trying to date. 2p singular pronouns ‘you/yours’ (8-11) & 3p feminine pronouns ‘she/her’ (8.e. Verbal processes and process verbs insignificant / no particular pattern Describes verbal behaviour in which the Sayers are either T giving instructions/advice to A. 2. etc etc). 19) sounds pretty good (5) 5 . i. Ellipsis Ellipsis • • okay (7. NB: MANY 2PP’S IN THE QUOTE IN 8-11 REFER TO THE ‘FAVOURITE LADY’. Material processes and process verbs giving engagement rings (13) kept it [i. insignificant / no particular pattern The use of 2p and 3p singular pronouns to achieve cohesion reflects the fact that the conversation is. 8. TEXTUAL MEANING 1.the idea of engagement ring as guarantee is a thing of the past (21) selling the second home is an important signal (23) that second home is an escape route… (24) your relationship is shaky (24) it is merely a financial investment (25-26) Used to attribute VALUES to certain aspects of a romantic relationship – hence describing what Tokens like the idea of ring as guarantee.) a bribe (27) you invite… (29) ? you tried to persuade her (29 – could be mental) Used to describe the physical events/actions performed by the main Agents. 20. 22. 24. NOT TO ANDY. people involved in romantic relationships. in which the main Agents are the man (eg Andy) and woman interacting with each other. Verbal processes and process verbs you say “these tickets…” (8) “…you’ll invite me…” (10) I asked you to… (22) she was going to invite you… (26) ? offer a guarantee…gave her (.e.
being concerned with the one particular individual Andy and his character / situation / date. 26). date(s) (9. 21). 17). Semantic fields (Actually rather tenuous) SF associated with romance & specifically dating • trustworthiness (2). 11. fiancé (14).• • • • No (see Degrees of Formality) yup (13) good luck (14) no date…surprised / (15) I mean…a bit stilted obviously (21) no (. Synonyms & near-synonyms 6 . 23. 15. Direct repetition • • • • signal (1.e. 10. being concerned with the applications of game theory to a variety of romantic situations. commitment (23). engagement ring(s) / engagement / ring (s) (13. Both A & B contain SFs to do with romance. 8X2. Semantic fields SF associated with romantic relationships • love (1. Synonyms & near-synonyms Both A & B contain SFs to do with romance. 6. 8. 30 ) date(s) (9. 22. 10). 4. 22. playboy (30) Text mainly concerned with the application of game theory to people’s love lives. 24. your favourite lady (6). to get A a date. marriage (15). 21) Repetition of the expressions that refer to the key items used in the exercise and its ultimate aim – i. 23X2. 26) tickets (4. 15. relationship (24). sue. Emphasis in that particular section on the significance of the engagement ring as a signal / guarantee according to game theory. 24). “breach of promise” (16). which in themselves do not contribute to cohesion. invite (10. date/dating (8. 19. 18. serious about… (11-12). like (10. 29) show (4.) it’s not (. 26) Bolstered by Reference (‘it’ 5. 18. 24. but B’s is much narrower. 25). Lexical cohesion Direct repetition • game theory (2. Repetition around the 3rd paragraph: • engagement ring(s) / engagement / ring (s) (13. 29). financial compensation (20) That section is about how a signal like an engagement ring takes the place of legal procedures. 10. SF associated with the law in the 3rd paragraph • courts (16. but A’s is much more wide-ranging.6) & Specific-General Reference (‘the theory’ 4). 10. couple (22). 9). Conjunction 2. 23) For obvious reasons. partner(s) (22. See Complexity. with the tickets to the show as a signal. love lives (9-10). 11. 9. 19.) nothing to do with the body language (22) • Characteristic of unplanned spoken texts (see Degrees of Formality) Conjunction See Complexity.
30) Insignificant Theme reiteration is the simplest pattern and more likely to be used in unplanned spoken texts to emphasise some topic (here. 29. Hence the text is relatively neutral in tone. security (17). positive & negative connotations and denotations are used to describe the positive and negative aspects of romantic relationships (‘trustworthiness’. ‘favourite lady’ etc vs ‘playboy’). stick around (19). they are mainly used to describe the positive and negative aspects of romantic relationships that game theory can be applied to (with the obvious exception of ‘versatile’. Theme / rheme / thematic progression Insignificant Insignificant None Thematic progression patterns Thematic progression patterns Theme reiteration • You (referring to Andy) in sentence-initial position (6. playboy (30) Positive & negative connotations are not linked to the writer’s attitudes. stilted (21). trusted (14). [sounds pretty] good (5). guarantee (12. broken off (1819). Meronyms Meronyms Insignificant Hyponyms Hyponyms Insignificant Ordered series Ordered series None 3. valuable (24) Relatively emotive Expressions with positive connotations & denotations • trustworthiness (2). “breach of promise” (16). up to something (26) Expressions with negative connotations & denotations • oh dear (15). etc). broke off (14). which describes game theory). Andy). 8. Instead. Like A. Specific-general reference Insignificant Antonyms Insignificant Specific-general reference Insignificant Antonyms trustworthiness (2) vs playboy (30) Insignificant The entire exercise is largely aimed at getting A to turn over a new leaf and hence be able to get a female to trust him enough to date him. commitment (23). best [show] (4). and a problem that Harford claims that game theory can solve. serious about… (11-12). like (10. SEMANTICS Relatively neutral / unemotive Expressions with positive connotations • versatile (6). good luck (14) Expressions with negative connotations • trouble (14).serious about… (11-12) – stick around (19) – commitment (23) Commitment being a key issue in romantic relationships. signal confidence (19). bribe (27). shaky (24). without prospects… (15). confident (9). moving too quickly (29-30). But the negative connotations & denotations are 7 . 26. favourite [lady] (6). etc).
Some ellipsis (see Grammatical Cohesion for eg’s). No implied / inferred meaning Insignificant. Although T is instructing A on how to apply game theory. But not as formal as a genuinely academic text. ‘shaky’ (23). financial compensation (20). etc). especially as it’s aimed at a mass audience (not a specialist one). because the topic is a fairly technical / academic one. game theory. gonna (6 etc). incentive (19). playboy (30). practical situation being discussed in an unplanned spoken conversation means that it would definitely be less formal than A. sounds…good (5). This reflects their negative views of the outcome of the exercise.e. and hence has to be as clear and straightforward as possible. pick your favourite lady (6). 8 . i. the fact that it is a real-life. Informal Some non-standard & colloquial expressions – okay (3). complex &/or technical expressions – ? economist(s) (1.also used by A & especially T to assess A’s performance. mathematician (3). Relatively formal. deterrence (5). ‘up to something’ (25) No ellipsis A few long. Very few long. etc. 27. complex &/or technical expressions – very ordinary words used except for ‘game theory’ at the start. Relatively formal Very few non-standard or colloquial expressions – ‘stick around’ (19). because aimed at a mass audience. game theory (2. T has to explain how to apply game theory and the entire exercise very clearly and unambiguously to A if he is to get his point across. No implied meaning Insignificant – text is about a fairly technical / academic subject. and maybe ‘trustworthiness’ & ‘guarantee’ (12. yup (13). 4). etc). oh dear (15).
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