Quote of the week
“HS2, we’re probably too pregnant to pull out.”
Tracy Brabin, 23rd May 2019 (BBC QT)
“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.”
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.
Reporter: How long is an 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?
Some slips of the tongue (speech errors) for analysis.
“If this doesn’t work out, I’ll probably will do it, maybe definitely.”
Theresa May seems to have developed many ways of saying ‘no’ without actually meaning it. In her interview with Andrew Marr at the weekend, she frequently used reduced articulations of the word (e.g. ‘n-’) to preface her responses to Marr’s questions.
Speech errors don’t get much better when they appear in front of a live audience of millions on the BBC for the final of Strictly Come Dancing. This Freudian slips will go down as one of the classics.
“I believe that all fish should be in the sea.”
Slips of the tongue (speech errors) nearly always include some repair whereby the speaker realises the mistake and then attempts to correct for their error.
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.
Prime Minister’s questions (PMQs) got a ‘whooo!’ of surprise today when Jeremy Corbyn was speaking at the dispatch box.
One way to put a politician on the spot is to ask them how many people have been affected by their policy. Three times seems to be the optimum number of times to ask according to the Andrew Marr’s rulebook as he interviewed Theresa May on Sunday.
Slips of the tongue can be annoying for interviewers when they happen once. But when one error leads into another and then another, all in the space of a few words, it can be triply frustrating.
Vince Cable should perhaps leave sexual innuendos to others after fluffing his lines at the Liberal Democrats’ conference on Tuesday. Cable had intended to say that the Tories were locked in an ‘erotic spasm’ over Brexit, but instead the words came out as ‘exotic spresm’ producing an interesting slip.
Phoneme insertion in line 01.
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.
Standing up and speaking in public is not just a one-way affair from speaker to audience. The reaction of the audience to what is said can be just as important and defining as the speaker’s words themselves.
“This is the most expensive round of golf in history.”
Conversation can sometimes be like a game of poker, raising and doubling stakes, as the Andrew Marr Show demonstrated on Sunday.
Sally Who? You don’t get a name like that unless you work for the BBC!
“You wait forever for a bus question at PMQs, and then seven come along at once.”
An interesting slip of the tongue by Theresa May at Prime Minister’s question time occurred on Wednesday and suggested that perhaps we had voted for rather more than we thought during the EU referendum in 2016!
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.
Richard Madeley knows when to shut down an interview. On ITV’s Good Morning Britain, he abruptly brought his interview with Gavin Williamson, the Defence Secretary, to an end when Williamson refused to answer his question after four strikes.
Prime Minister’s question time (PMQs) is known for lengthy questions and answers from Prime Ministers and backbenchers so it was interesting to observe a brief bit of brevity from the Prime Minister in two of her answers on Wednesday.
Two slips of the tongue from the BBC.
Interviewers don’t always get what they ask for but when they do, it can often cause difficulties for the interview.
Lawyers sometimes say that you should never ask a witness a question during trial to which you don’t the answer to. The same principles usually operates in Prime Minister’s questions in the House of Commons where the question and answer session is really one of “statement” followed by “statement” (even though the statements are dressed up as questions and answers).
A slip of the tongue from a Radio 4 Today programme presenter (Justin Webb).
Claire Perry, Conservative MP, seemed to enjoy asking questions on the Daily Politics today, so much so that Andrew Neil feared she was angling for his job.
A slip of the tongue by Boris Johnson.
“I am officially dead, although I’m alive, I have no income and because I am listed dead, I can’t do anything.”
Interviewers are always looking for ways to hurry their interviewees along, so finishing off their ideas seems to be a nice way to do this with the added advantage that you get the floor back. Why wait for the slow speaker to finish when you can do the job in half the time!
Two slips of the tongues here, courtesy of BBC presenters.