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Department of Linguistics

Laura: Problem at college menu

Sound clip: 
Discussion points: 

Conversational historical present Laura uses this tense in many of her quotative expressions, adding drama to her story: all the this is +speaker forms are in this tense (lines 12, 18, 25, 26, 27, 32) and so is GO (line 20). See the discussion of reported speech, below, for more details.

Discourse markers
like (line 8) occurs before the noun phrase the older people on that side. Perhaps like draws attention to the picture that Laura is painting of the two groups on each side of the room.

Note that like in it's like (7, 9, 10) is not a discourse marker; the entire phrase introduces an explanation

hello (line 43) with rising intonation is a recent sense of the word, indicating that Laura can hardly believe what she has just heard

anyway marks a return to the main story, sometimes after a short digression (lines 11, 23) or to introduce a summary (line 21)

well (line 20) may simply fill a pause here

Nonstandard grammar Laura uses the nonstandard past tense forms of BE that are very common in urban varieties of British English: was in a positive clause (line 42) and weren't in a negative clause (line 15).

Quotative expressions Laura mainly uses direct reported speech but there is also some indirect reported speech (lines 28, 45-47).

She introduces direct reported speech with the new London quotative expression this is +speaker (lines 12, 18, 25, 26, 27, 32), and also GO (line 20), SAY (lines 37, 42) and the zero form (line 33).
Some of the this is +speaker quotative expressions are used as part of a rhetorical strategy. Laura first uses a reporting clause: I'd said to him nicely (line 11), I told him about it (line 17) so I said to her today (line 36 '“ though there is then an aside when Laura remembers something that happened before this '“ and 41 (she admitted).  This is me then presents what Laura said as a kind of performance.  The first quotative expression is in the past tense and the second (this is +speaker) is in the conversational historical present tense, which adds to the drama of the story that Laura is recounting.

The point of the story (the ridiculousness of thinking that Laura's shouting had made the girl's arm hurt) is emphasized on lines 44- 47.  Here Laura repeats you made my arm hurt with a quizzical tone (note that her friend then sniggers), then stresses the reported speech by saying that's what she said (line 45) and finally repeats what the girl said, this time using indirect reported speech (lines 46 to 47).

 

Body: 

Laura is a white British 19 year old female from inner London. She is talking here to her friend and the interviewer about a deaf girl at college who had complained that LAURA had been shouting in class. As a result Laura was almost expelled from her course. The point of the story revolves around what the girl said and what Laura said and, though to a lesser extent, what the teacher said, so the extract is rich in examples of reported speech, some of which Laura presents in a very dramatic way.

Discussion points PDF: 
Transcript: 

Laura: female, aged 19, white British, from inner London

one of the teachers has a problem .
even the other teachers said he has a problem with speaking to the younger kids . we're meant to be doing a test here
but all he keeps on doing is looking at the adults
cos it's like we're divided
the young people on that side . and you got like the older people on that side
it's not like we're divided like that cos we all still do chat
but when we sit in the class . it's like we all have our own ..
anyway . he I'd said to him nicely
this is me "you're not look"
we couldn't understand . what was I writing down?
everything was gibberish where I couldn't hear him
and he weren't looking at us
he was only speaking to that s.
so I told him about it <friend sniggers>
this is me "I don't come to school for you to treat me like a little girl" I mean college 'if I wanted to go . do that I go back to school and that'.
well . and he goes "I'm the one who's" .
anyway we had a big argument and cos she's she's meant to be deaf ['¦'¦'¦'¦'¦.] and I do think she does get special treatment ['¦.'¦'¦...]
anyway she stereotyped me as one of them ..
how I should have talked to the teacher
this is me "I was talking to the teacher at first"
this is me "yeah I flipped and I swore at him" .
this is me "and then I went out of the class" .
but she went back and told the teacher because of me she wants to leave the . erm course .
I'm hardly.. how many times have I been with her in a lesson?
other than that I'm mainly off because my daughter's always ill .
this is me "what about all the other people?"
"nah well it was just you that day"
this is me "well you did get me kicked"
so I was talking to her nicely cos she ain't been back in since that day .
so I s . said to her today this is me .. cos she said a hello to me
so I said to her "I'm not gonna let it drop"
I was nice to her
this is me .. "did you" erm
this is me "why did you nearly get me kicked off this course? say it's because of me?"
and she admitted
she said that . "cos you was shouting you made my arm hurt" .
hello? I've heard of getting a headache
but "you made my arm hurt"? <friend laughs> .
that's what she said
she left because I made her arm hurt .
by banging by banging my chair and walking out the classroom ... <friend sniggers>
she needs to go back to the doctor's and I don't think it's her hearing that needs checking ..

['¦'¦.] denotes that some content from the original recording has been edited out.

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