Spoken vs. Written Discourse Benjamin L. Stewart, phd

Why does it matter?

  • Getting hired for a job position (Written or spoken... and why?)
  • Getting fired from a job (Written or spoken... and why?)
  • Breaking up with someone (Written or spoken... and why?)
  • Applying for a job (Written or spoken... and why?)
  • Getting accepted into the university (Written or spoken... and why?)
  • Finding out where someone lives (Written or spoken... and why?)
  • Hiring a wedding band (Written or spoken... and why?)


Say the following: "I want to go to the party."

How do spoken and written discourse differ?

An exchange

initiation - response - followup

Adjacency pairs (utterance function and expected response)

  • greeting - greeting
  • congratulation - thanks
  • apology - acceptance
  • inform - acknowledge
  • leave-taking - leave-taking
Grammatical intricacy
Lexical density
Action as nouns
Repetition, hesitations, and redundancy

Differences between spoken and written discourse: grammatical intricacy; lexical density; nominalization; explicitness; contextualization; spontaneity; and repetition, hesitations, and redundancy (Paltridge, 2012).

Synchronous vs. asynchronous

Rank from synchronous (inter-personally involved) to asynchronous (detached)...

Facebook chat, academic article, prepared lecture, newspaper article, cell phone conversation, WhatsApp chat, interview

Personal involvement

One possible "answer": Interview, cell phone conversation; WhatsApp Chat, Facebook chat, prepared lecture, newspaper article, academic article

Written Discourse

Types of texts...

  • Leaflet/brochure
  • Letter to/from a friend
  • Public notice
  • Product label
  • Newspaper
  • Poem
  • News report
  • Academic aritcle
  • Small ads
  • Postcard to/from a friend
  • Business letter
  • Text to/from a friend
Manage your own eportfolio!
Created By
Benjamin Stewart


Created with images by Omar Prestwich - "Taking night photo on phone" • Bewakoof.com Official - "untitled image" • Waylin - "words adjectives feelings sentiments positive words text" • MIH83 - "books pay numbers" • skeeze - "baseball player shortstop infield sport playing glove" • MichaelGaida - "globe map country" • John Michael Thomson - "The Bookshop" • Markos Mant - "Sailing in Aegean Sea" • aitoff - "stormtrooper bohemian rhapsody queen lego star war" • Efraimstochter - "dolphins swim dolphin" • Naassom Azevedo - "Amigos Correndo" • rawpixel - "untitled image" • Jeevan - "birthday cake candles sweet flowers fire happiness" • Lina Trochez - "Brindar siempre lo mejor de ti." • Felix Koutchinski - "Forgiveness" • The HK Photo Company - "Bride and Groom holding Thank You Signs" • RobinHiggins - "ok a-ok woman" • rawpixel - "untitled image" • skeeze - "child waving goodbye departure plane" • rawpixel - "Man holding river photo"

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.