Slip of the Tongue: Borrowing from downstream

Speech errors (slips of the tongue) often ‘borrow’ from language in the mind that is downstream of the target language. Here is a good example from Theresa May at PMQs.

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Slip of the Tongue

Slips of the tongue that involve word substitution always seem to get the biggest laughs. Here Jeremy Hunt, the new Foreign Secretary, mistakenly refers to his wife as Japanese when she is in fact Chinese. The humour in this slip was obvious to the audience of Chinese dignitaries during a visit by Hunt to Beijing to discuss post-Brexit trade talks.

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a/the Single Market

It seems strange that two of the smallest and most commonest words in the English dictionary could cause confusion between interviewer and interviewee but that is what ‘a’ and ‘the’ seemed to do on Sunday when Andrew Marr interviewed James Brokenshire, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, on the BBC.

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Closing an interview

In day-to-day conversation, closing a conversation requires both participants to clear the floor. That is, each has to offer the floor to the other and only when neither has anything more to contribute can the conversation close. If you have ever tried to get off the phone from a friend who doesn’t want to finish the conversation, you know how difficult this can be sometimes.

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Quote of the week

Interviewer: Are the Brexit talks in chaos, or are the actually making reasonable progress?”

Juncker: “They are.”

Jean-Claude Juncker, 24th November, 2017

Quote of the week

“Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me ‘old’ when I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat’?”

Donald Trump, 12th November 2017

 

 

Rephrasing

By Jonathan Maxey, Coventry University

Repairs, when initiated or performed by a conversational other, are often a reliable indicator of power within spoken discourse. However, additional social areas may also be underscored by this phenomenon. For example, the establishing or highlighting of a rapport.

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Pausing as a marker of equivocation intentions

Pausing briefly while speaking is a natural part of delivery. We pause for several reason. The most obvious one is to take breath so we can carry on speaking. Some pauses occur before content words or complex clauses suggesting that the cognitive planning processes can delay the output of the words. It has also been suggested that we pause more when we have to make choices in what words and expressions we select to say. So giving ones opinion would include more pause time on average than reporting factual ideas.

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