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Can viruses read?

The quote below of Andrew Neil on the GMB show, said somewhat tongue-in-cheek, claims that a virus ‘can’t read’. Most people would agree with that I think. Andrew Neil01 well as you say02 the only reason for not making this… Continue Reading →

Quote of the times

New book by Michael Cribb

Ever thought there might be something missing from our understanding of the universe? Ever thought there may be some extra dimension curled up, hidden away right in front of us? What if language was that dimension, a fifth dimension in… Continue Reading →

What if the physical world had questions?

What if the physical world had questions? What if electrons and protons, and all the subatomic particles were able to ask questions about themselves and their existence. That would be a pretty scary thing. What if a bunch of electrons… Continue Reading →

Slip of the Tongue

An interesting slip of the tongue here by Kay Burley, Sky news presenter, which can almost be called an internal Spoonerism.

Using intonation to predict the end of turn

In spoken discourse, we can usually predict when our conversational partner is about to finish a turn by listening to their intonation. This is not always successful, however, as demonstrated by the following clip in which a TV host assumes… Continue Reading →

Quote of the times

Prezie Grammar Analysis

See a full grammatical analysis of a text using Prezie in a new way which allows for infinite zoom and scroll. 

Verb Phrase (VP) Analysis

The Verb Phrase (VP) consists of a main (lexical) verb with, optionally, a number of auxillary verbs in front. (AUX) VERB e.g. He might have been watching me

Noun Phrase (NP) Analysis

A Noun Phrase consists of a head noun, and optionally a determiner, some pre-modification and post-modification. Here is an analysis of a text to show you how to identify noun phrases.

Quote of the times

A book by Dr Michael Cribb

Hesitation, Equivocation and Pausing Unveiling the micro-world of political rhetoric and spin £2.99 (eBook) /£10 (paperback) on Amazon Every day we are bombarded with political rhetoric in the form of interviews, debates and statements from our political leaders and commentators,… Continue Reading →

The Grammar Family

The Grammar family has been around for as long as this sentence has. The family is headed by Grandma Syntax and her younger sister, Minnie Morphology.

MARR: “I know the answer”

Political interviewers like to pretend that they are are asking genuine questions to their political guests. But sometimes it is revealed all too clearly that their questions are really designed to try and steer the guest towards a particular answer.

“Can I explain why?” “No explain how.”

Andrew Neil interviewed Jeremy Corbyn on BBC television tonight. Neil is a forensic interviewer who usually pins his interviewees down to exact words and syllables. But Corbyn is know for his own brand of stubbornness, and there was one wonderful… Continue Reading →

Tone unit – worked example (L2)

When we speak, we tend to speak in ‘chunks’ – small groups of words. Each chunk has its own change in intonation and there is usually a brief pause before the next chunk. We call these chunks ‘tone units’ and… Continue Reading →

I AM answering your question

Politicians often get accused of not answering questions but sometimes they fight back as Andy McDonald did on Friday.

Eye fluttering

Politicians use all means to try and grab and hold the floor during interviews including non-verbal means. Nigel Farage has developed an interesting technique where he flutters his eyes for a few seconds, almost bringing them to a close, in… Continue Reading →

New species observed since Brexit referendum

Brexit has not only changed the political landscape but has also given rise to a number of new species in the Homo genus according to scientists. Here is a quick run through some of the newcomers.

Impolite conversation of the week

Sometimes being impolite and creating conflict doesn’t take much effort. All you need to do is raise your voice!

Grice’s maxim

Grice’s maxim of relevance states that: “expect a partner’s contribution to be appropriate to immediate needs at each stage of the transaction”.Leech (1983: 94) In the following turns, we see in line 01 that A signals to B that he… Continue Reading →

Fighting for control of the floor

Fight for control of the floor can sometimes produce odd utterances out of the mouths of the interlocutors. Here is Boris Johnson and Nick Robinson spluttering syllables like bird wings flapping in the air as they fight for the turn… Continue Reading →

Quote of the week

once again we're living above the shop!

Sajid Javid, Conservative Party Conference, 30th September 2019

In this quote, Sajid Javid references the fact that he is the Chancellor of the Exchequer living upstairs in No. 11 Downing Street. The Chancellor and h...

Interruptions at Prime Minister’s Questions

Interruptions at PMQs (Prime Minister’s Questions) are recorded in Hansard in a limited way, usually through the insertion of the word ‘[Interruption.]’ and are often followed by the Speaker’s call to order. The house however is collective body and background… Continue Reading →

Revealing ‘ah’ in PMQs

In a previous post I have argued that the house is a multi-faceted chamber with comments and background noise from members of the chamber combining with the current speaker to create a multi-modal discourse act. This is particularly important during Prime Minister’s… Continue Reading →

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