A corpus-based study on linguistic and functional features of American sitcom

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A corpus-based study on linguistic and functional features of American sitcom


Author: Ying, Qianyu
Title: A corpus-based study on linguistic and functional features of American sitcom
Degree: M.A.
Year: 2013
Subject: Dialogue analysis.
Conversation analysis.
Discourse analysis.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of English
Pages: 73 pages
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2687629
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/7670
Abstract: There has been an increasing demand of authentic spoken material, while it is difficulty for language teachers and learners to obtain those data. Some scholars (Kramer, 1997; Washburn, 2011) suggest that making use of excerpts from situated comedy for the representation of natural conversations is of great possibility. This study aims to find out whether television dialogues have the potential to be spoken learning material in the replacement of authentic conversations. In this study, I compare the television dialogues from the American sitcom Modern Family with natural conversations from the Santa Barbara Corpus of Spoken American English and investigate the linguistic and functional features of television dialogues. This study applies a corpus based approach for a frequency based analysis of linguistic features selected from Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English. WordSmith Tools were chosen as the research tool. After the completion of counting frequency, calculations have been analyzed. The analysis is divided into three parts, general features, linguistic features and inserts. According to the frequency and analysis, conclusions have been drawn that most frequent lexical items of two corpora are almost the same. The results of this study indicate that the television dialogues in Modern Family shares the core linguistic and functional features of naturally occurring conversations, so it has the potential to be regarded as spoken language teaching material. However, TV conversation still owns some special features because of the influence of sitcom so language teachers and learners should not neglect these unique characteristics. In future studies, the differences between television dialogues and natural conversations could be further explored.

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