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A Comparative Study of Dialogues in English textbooks and TV Series: A Speech Acts Analysis

Marjan Keyvan & Dr. Alireza Jalilifar

 Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz

 

This study aimed to compare the speech acts used in English language course books compiled by authors and the speech acts used in popular English TV series. Three textbook series, namely, Interchange Third Edition (Richards, 2005), Top Notch (Saslow & Asher, 2006), and Talk Time (Stempleski, 2007) were selected for this study, and the utterances from the conversation section of these books were analyzed according to Searle’s (1976) model of classification of speech acts. The conversations from one episode of three American English TV series, namely, Friends, Desperate Housewives, and Lost were also analyzed based on the same model. The results revealed a significant difference between expressive and commissive speech acts. While expressives were significantly higher in the textbooks, commissives in the TV series outnumbered their counterparts in the textbooks. On the other hand, assertives and directives showed no significant difference in the two series, and declaratives were not exploited in either series. The existing differences mark the relative failure of textbook series in presenting the authentic use of speech act categories if TV series resemble more authentic and closer-to-real life language.

The above abstract is part  of the article which was accepted at The Second National Conference on English Studies and Linguistics (WWW.ELTL.IR) , 4-5 February 2016 , Iran-Ahwaz.