Quote of the week
South Ayrshire Golf club owner loses 2020 presidential election.
South Ayrshire Golf club owner loses 2020 presidential election.
Networks don’t get to decide elections. Courts do.
Interviewers usually ask questions and interviewees usually gives answers, right? Well in the ‘strange’ world of political interviews these rights and roles sometimes need to be explicitly stated.Continue reading “Occasional questions and comprehensive answers”
It’s quite literally government in hindsight.
Continue reading “Hampden Books announces:”
Slips of the Tongue from the Linguistic Graveyard: One shit, two c*nts and a Brexit Breakfast!by Michael Cribb
One of the more amusing exchanges was Biden counting to three but skipping two. Trump was quick to pull him up on this.Continue reading “First Presidential Debate (2020)”
The first US presidential debate last night was a pretty torrid affair with frequent interruptions and negotiations for the floor between the candidates and the host. Here is a short transcription and analysis of a specific stretch of discourse.Continue reading “First Presidential Debate (2020)”
Some slips of the tongue (speech errors) for analysis. Latest ones on top.Continue reading “Slips of the Tongue”
A slip of the tongue from Keir Starmer (KS) at Prime Minister’s Questions.Continue reading “Slip of the Tongue”
Ever thought there might be something missing from our understanding of the universe? Ever thought there may be some extra dimension curled up, hidden away right in front of us? What if language was that dimension, a fifth dimension in the fabric of the universe which unfurls itself whenever we think, speak or write? Continue reading “It’s language, stupid!”
Gove: without wanting to be overly semantic
Marr: be as semantic as you like
A single speech error (slip of the tongue) often cascades into multiple errors within the space of a few words as Boris Johnson found out yesterday. This has to be one of the all-time great slips that linguists will be analysing for years to come.Continue reading “A Cascade of Slips”
Many commentators and broadcasters have fallen foul of Jeremy Hunt’s name over the years. Some make light of the slip, some ignore it, others apologise profusely. Hunt himself has acknowledged the problems people have had with his surname over the years including teachers at school.Continue reading “Why do so many fall foul of the Hunt/cunt slip?”
A lot was made on Twitter of Helen Whatley’s appearance on Sky TV this morning. The claim by some distractors was that Whatley was saying that the government could blame scientists for mistakes made in the COVID-19 policy.
Within ten seconds of listening to the discourse, however, it was clear to me that this is not what she meant to say. (And I believe that most people could easily reach this conclusion.) Face-to-face discourse goes pretty fast and Whatley misspoke for three words and 0.7 seconds! Not much time for the Minister but plenty of time for her opponents.Continue reading “Three words and 0.7 seconds: Not much time for a Minister”
Poor old Naga Munchetty was the latest presenter to fall to the dreaded ‘cunt’ slip of the tongue on the BBC Breakfast show this morning.Continue reading “The dreaded c*nt slip strikes again”
The quote below of Andrew Neil on the GMB show, said somewhat tongue-in-cheek, claims that a virus ‘can’t read’. Most people would agree with that I think.Continue reading “Viruses can’t read”
“Comets rare enough to be seen without needing to use a telescope are rare.”
An interesting slip of the tongue here by Kay Burley, Sky news presenter, which can almost be called an internal Spoonerism.
Amidst all the doom and gloom of Coronavirus, sometimes thanking your Business correspondent is just too much as Jackie Long found out on Channel 4 news recently.
In spoken discourse, we can usually predict when our conversational partner is about to finish a turn by listening to their intonation. This is not always successful, however, as demonstrated by the following clip in which a TV host assumes that the reporter has finished his lines when in fact he has more to say.
It is the day after the General Election in Britain and Boris Johnson, the newly re-elected Prime Minister of the country, is standing on the steps of Downing Street delivering his address to the nation. Within 30 seconds of starting his speech, that oft-repeated phrase ‘Get Brexit done’ has tripped from his lips. This well-trodden phrase, that was at the heart of the Tory election strategy, is now a permanent feature of the Prime Minister’s discourse.
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Lord Lilley being interviewed by Emily Maitlis on BBC Newsnight. I like how the interviewee sets his own agenda and tries to control the floor in line 08 and then in 14.
Andrew Neil interviewed Jeremy Corbyn on BBC television tonight. Neil is a forensic interviewer who usually pins his interviewees down to exact words and syllables. But Corbyn is know for his own brand of stubbornness, and there was one wonderful moment when the two negotiated the terms of a question like children in the school yard fighting over whether to play tag or hide and seek.
Political interviewers like to pretend that they are are asking genuine questions to their political guests. But sometimes it is revealed all too clearly that their questions are really designed to try and steer the guest towards a particular answer.
Politicians often get accused of not answering questions but sometimes they fight back as Andy McDonald did on Friday.
“I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo.”
Michael Gove, Conservative MP, serves up some curious hand gestures while speaking including teacup gestures and steeple Vulcans. Here are some of the more interesting examples from his interview on the Andrew Marr show on Sunday.
John Bercow retired from the post of The Speaker in the House of Commons. Here are some of his best bits from this website.
“The prime minister said he would die and yet he lives! Who does he think he is? The people of this country expect him to be dead, and he has the temerity to come here today, both living and breathing.”
Politicians use all means to try and grab and hold the floor during interviews including non-verbal means. Nigel Farage has developed an interesting technique where he flutters his eyes for a few seconds, almost bringing them to a close, in an attempt to shut out the interviewer and hold the floor.
“It’s like saying I want to get childbirth over and done with so I can get back to getting lots of sleep and reading lots of novels.”
Brexit has not only changed the political landscape but has also given rise to a number of new species in the Homo genus according to scientists. Here is a quick run through some of the newcomers.
Sometimes being impolite and creating conflict doesn’t take much effort. All you need to do is raise your voice!
“once again we’re living above the shop!”
Fight for control of the floor can sometimes produce odd utterances out of the mouths of the interlocutors. Here is Boris Johnson and Nick Robinson spluttering syllables like bird wings flapping in the air as they fight for the turn in an interview on Radio 4 Today programme.
The eyes play an important part in human communication. They can signal an intention to communicate and sometimes act to facilitate turn transition. In this example here, we see Tom Watson, the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, using his eyes to hold the floor during an interview on Sunday.
“She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!”
“Mr Davey, you have to understand, that we’re all looking at you as hypocrites.”
John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, likes to pick up on members who ‘chunter from a sedentary position’ – a slightly politer, and perhaps archaic, way of saying ‘shut up and stop muttering’.
Certain words in the House of Commons are normally taboo but sometimes it is possible to get away with using them by quoting someone and asking for ‘leave’ from The Speaker.
Political commentators and journalists all have their own idiosyncratic styles when interviewing politicians. Emily Maitlis, the BBC Newsnight commentator, often shows exasperation and incredulity in her voice through sweeping intonation falls and facial expressions. Here is a brief analysis to show how she uses linguistic features to signal this attitude.
“HS2, we’re probably too pregnant to pull out.”
Editor: The BBC’s Question Time programme on Thursday nights seems to court controversy these days as we hold it to ever more stringent impartiality standards. In this blog, Elena Ioannidou dissects the discourse that this programme produces from a CA perspective. The blog is split into two parts. Part two is here.
Editor: This is part 2 of the blog on the BBC Question Time programme. Part 1 is here.
Negotiating the floor can take on epic proportions at times with your interlocutor when you both want to get something out. In the following two examples, David Davis and John Humphrys almost end up rapping together as they fight for the floor with each other!
“If you now try to hold us in against our will you will be facing perfidious Albion on speed.”
Reporter: How long is a long extension, please?
Juncker: Until the very end.
The dreaded Brexit slip strikes again!
What is the best way to guarantee nobody ever interrupts you during a debate?