Assignment 1 – How Language Works

2520 words - 11 pages


To maintain confidentiality, the learner I have selected for this assignment will be referred to as John.

John is a 30 year old single male, living at home with both parents. He has a full time job in a distribution centre, employed as a forklift truck driver. He has worked in this field for the last 12 years and in this particular company, for 3 years. John was born in Coventry and has a brother who is two years older. During early years at school, John and his brother, were described by teachers, as disruptive and badly behaved and both were excluded from normal classroom activities, spending much of the school day isolated from classmates and ...view middle of the document...

John remembers his secondary education as being a very positive experience. He did suffer at the hands of bullies and was often called names. Ultimately, this led to some confrontations when he was 15 years old, but the school dealt with the issues and his final year at school was good, resulting in John gaining three GCSE’s at grade D. It is interesting to note that his father was diagnosed as dyslexic in 2002 after years of believing he was just did not do well at school.

In everyday life, John explained that he uses avoidance tactics in situations where he needs to read. At work, during team briefings there are often information sheets handed out. John will joke that he can’t be bothered to read it right now, or puts it in his bag to read later. Only his superior is aware of his dyslexia and John has requested that the information remains confidential. He explained that he does not want to become an easy target for some of his colleagues and fears if they know he is dyslexic, he will either be subjected to constant jokes about being stupid or treated with pity.

John enjoys fishing a great deal and is very knowledgeable. He spends a much of his free time doing solitary activities and freely admits that he prefers his own company.
From the initial assessments that were carried out earlier in the year, John is working entry level 3 at text, sentence and word level.
John has a very strong regional midlands accent and typical dialect associated with the area. He has a naturally loud voice and speaks clearly with some nasal sounds. I noticed in our discussion preparation sessions John is able to tailor his speech to the audience. He appears to be less formal in the general class environment speaking in normal everyday language including localised slang, but was able to adapt his speech to suit a more formal discussion environment. There are variations in John’s speech and he uses local dialect such as ain’t (am not) in’it (isn’t it) and pronunciations are local such as, won’t/don’t pronounced as wunt/dunt. However, he refrains from including the localised slang when he is speaking formally.

Jean Aitchison said “We human beings are odd compared with our nearest animal relatives. Unlike them, we can say what we want, when we want. All normal humans can produce and understand any number of new words and sentences. Humans use multiple options of language often without thinking. But blindly, they sometimes fall into its’ traps. They are like spiders who exploit their webs, but themselves get caught in the sticky strands” (2012, The University of Warwick)

John is a pragmatic speaker. The language he uses is appropriate to the audience and his verbal communication is good. He uses body language and expression to accompany his speech. His pitch changes accordingly, throughout the conversation and he uses variable tones of voice. Openings of conversations include the exchange of greetings and John is aware of...

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