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Nabokov on spoken language

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Thursday, 15 Jul 2021, 17:27

Many courses that I teach and have teach discuss the differences between spoken and written language and I was interested to read the following description by the narrator in a novel by Nabokov that I was rereading recently:

“I am a bad speaker, and the oration which I seem to render word by word did not flow with the lissom glide it has on paper.  Indeed it is not really possible to set down my incoherent speech, that tumble and jumble of words, the forlornness of subordinate clauses that have lost their masters and strayed away, and all the superfluous gibberish …..”

This short extract seems to refer to the difficulty of transcribing speech, the frequency of false starts and redundancy, which is commonly mentioned in the literature on spoken discourse.

Nabokov, V (1965) Despair Harmondsworth:Penguin

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Voice messages on WeChat

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Thursday, 4 Mar 2021, 13:57

I notice that several ex students and colleagues contact me on WeChat by voice message rather than written messages and I wonder why this is.  Do they think it is easier to speak than compose a message?  It seems less convenient to me as the receiver as they cannot be processed as quickly.

This is a contrast to many of my OU tutorials where many students seem keener to use text chat than the microphone.

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Recording some teaching materials

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Tuesday, 12 May 2015, 15:41

Yesterday, I was interviewed on reading strategies (along with a colleague, Anna Calvi) as part of the development of listening materials for a rewrite for LB160 "Communication Skills for Business Studies" (the new module will be LB170).

It was an interesting experience.  I was surprised at how quickly we finished the recording and most of it was done on the first take.  One of the few parts that went to a second take were the result of my drinking some water being picked up by the microphone.  Other reasons for second takes included very obvious stumbles over words and a missed cue (I though Anna was responsible for one answer I should have spoken on).

I think there will be some editing of the product but authenticity is more highly prized than linguistic polish.  So, some hesitators, false starts etc will be included.

 

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