Language in U.S Society.

Language in U.S Society.

Before we analyze discourse in the “real world,” we are going to practice analyzing a fictional conversation. I want you to pick a brief scene from a favorite movie or TV episode. The scene should run around five minutes total. When re-viewing you scene, take careful notes and present your findings in the following format:

Section 1: Participants

List all characters present in the scene. Identify each characters’ demographics in as much detail as possible. Consider: race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, age, profession, nationality, species (e.g. vampire), and any others you think are important for analysis.

Section 2: Non-verbal elements

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Consider all the un-spoken things that influence communication” body language, costumes, spatial relationships on the screen (is one character higher than another); lighting, camera angles. Consider any filmmaking technique that conveys meaning outside of the dialogue.

Section 3: Speech Acts

List all the most interesting/strange/surprising speech acts that stand out to you. Consider tone, volume, and accent in addition to the words spoken. Which speech acts are most telling for analyzing how power is established, maintained, and/or denied.

Section 4: Conclusions

Interpret the most important examples from the evidence you’ve presented above. What does the scene reveal about power relations in society? Consider that whatever ideologies it reveals it is also actively reinforcing. In the end, is this a representation of communication in society that you would recommend as a model for others, or is it an example of methods of communication that you should point out as an example of things you want others to avoid.

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