Words that replace speech marks
Friday 27 January 2012
by Ken Paterson
A few years ago, I noticed that one of the students in my class would often add little remarks that her friends or family had made into her conversation. She would never turn them into indirect speech by making grammatical changes, but would instead prefix the quotations with the word ‘look’. In other words, she would say something like:
- And then my dad said, look why don’t you call me when you get to the station?
She was one of those students who are particularly good at spotting features of native speech that might be useful to her later on. It struck me that what she liked about this structure was that she could drop direct speech into her conversation whenever she liked and, at the same time, make it clear to the listener that it was direct speech by using ‘look’ as a kind of speech mark.
Reading around the subject for ‘A Handbook of Spoken Grammar’ (follow the links ‘Titles’ and ‘Language Practice’ on the DELTA website for details), we found that six other ‘marker’ words seem to be used for the same purpose, either being deliberately introduced to indicate the beginning of direct speech, or ‘copied’ from the speaker if he or she happened to have used the word:
- but, hey, listen, oh, okay, well
The interesting thing is that the word you choose may show your attitude to what was originally said:
- So I said to her, hey, aren’t you walking off with my bag?
In the book, we explore the use of these words, and offer some practice exercises and activities for learners who may want to bring them into their conversation.
A way to get students working on this is simply to ask them in pairs to practise reporting conversations they’ve had in the last few days, but suggest they try dropping in as much direct speech as possible, using one or two ‘marker’ words when they do.
Next time …. the way we use ‘synonymous language’ in conversation:
- A: It’s a great view! B: Magic, isn’t it?
Delta Development Blog
This blog will be updated at least once a week, so add it to your bookmarks. You can also subscribe to the feed to be notified when it's updated.
Meet the Bloggers
- Bob Dignen & Steve Flinders (February to April 2013)
- Hania Kryszewska & Paul Davis (April to June 2012)
- Louis Rogers (January to March 2012)
- Ken Paterson (December 2011 to February 2012)
- Richard Brown & Lewis Richards (September to November 2011)
- Liz Walter & Kate Woodford (September to October 2011)
- Kyle Mawer & Graham Stanley (April to August 2011)
- Nik Peachey (from November 2010)
- Nicky Hockly (September & October 2010)
- Julie Pratten (July & August 2010)
- Gill Johnson (April 2010)
- Chaz Pugliese (March 2010)
- Luke Meddings (August 2009)
- Lindsay Clandfield (July 2009)
- Duncan Foord (June 2009)
- Scott Thornbury (May 2009)
The Developing Teacher
The Developing Teacher has been awarded the 2009 Duke of Edinburgh/ESU Award for Best Entry for Teachers. The Developing Teacher suggests that teachers themselves are the most powerful agents of change and development in their own professional career.
Teaching Online is essential reading for any teacher interested in online teaching and course delivery. It deals comprehensively with both the tools and the techniques necessary for online language instruction.
DIGITAL PLAY - 2012 ELTONS WINNER IN INNOVATION IN TEACHER RESOURCES! Digital Play is a pioneering book on the use of computer games in language teaching. Authors Kyle and Graham are experts in teaching with technology and training teachers in innovative classroom practice.
Culture in our Classrooms
Part of the Delta Teacher Development Series. Culture in our Classrooms acknowledges the role of culture in the English Language Teaching classroom and provides lesson content which is relevant, useful and engaging for students.
The Company Words Keep
Part of the multi-award-winning Delta Teacher Development Series. The Company Words Keep is a practical and thought-provoking guide for language teachers, showing how the latest insights into “language chunks” can lead to learners acquiring natural and fluent English.
The Business English Teacher
From the multi-award-winning DELTA TEACHER DEVELOPMENT SERIES. The Business English Teacher is a book not only for teachers who are thinking of making a career move into the field of business English teaching but also for those who would like to increase their skills and develop their potential.
Teaching Unplugged was awarded the British Council 2010 ELTons UK Award for Innovation. Teaching Unplugged is the first book to deal comprehensively with the approach in English Language Teaching known as Dogme ELT.
Part of the Delta Teacher Development Series. Being Creative takes you on a journey that reveals how all teachers have the potential to become creative. Whether you are experienced or new to the classroom, Being Creative allows your teaching to take flight.
The Book of Pronunciation
Part of the multi-award-winning Delta Teacher Development Series. The Book of Pronunciation is a definitive account of the key role pronunciation plays in teaching and learning, providing a highly authoritative but hugely accessible overview of the essential elements of English pronunciation as well as a wide range of classroom practice.
Arlington Ebune-Nakeli on Teaching children how to learn :
This could be a very good companion...
July 6, 2015 3:38 pm
Helen Beesley on Film in Action:
Hi Mary, thanks for your message to Kieran, which we’ll...
May 18, 2015 10:07 am
Mary on Film in Action:
Hi kieran I advocate your site everywhere. I currently work in China and...
May 18, 2015 12:56 am
Helen Beesley on Going Mobile :
Going Mobile is not only shortlisted for the 2015 ELTons but is...
April 1, 2015 3:43 pm
Sophie Rome on Financial Fridays with Julie Pratten – Stress Testing for Banks :
March 21, 2015 9:46 am
13 Mar 15
13 Feb 15
30 Jan 15
16 Jan 15
11 Dec 14
27 Nov 14
25 Nov 14
13 Nov 14
30 Oct 14
30 Oct 14
15 Oct 14
6 Oct 14
1 Oct 14
6 Aug 14
2 Jul 14