7. Using movie corpora to explore spoken American English

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Face-to-face and movie conversation are usually claimed to differ: the first is often described as the quintessence of spontaneity, whereas the second as the quintessence of artificiality. In fact, there are few empirical studies that demonstrate this and, in spite of what is generally maintained by the literature, empirical data, which are investigated here by applying Biber’s (1988) Multi-Dimensional approach, prove that the involved production typical of face-to-face conversation also characterizes movie conversation. This resemblance has interesting implications for the teaching of spoken discourse, as movies may be effectively used as a valid source of material. The present research also illustrates an experiment with 3rd year Italian students of English that proves this potentiality especially in the learning of elisions, blends, repetitions, false starts, reformulations, discourse markers, and interjections.


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