Department of Linguistics

Madeleine: Dressing up menu

Sound clip: 
Discussion points: 

Discourse markers
like (line 7, 75). In both cases the discourse marker like acts as a hedge. In line 7, thing combines with like to introduce a new item to the discourse and to simultaneously convey that Madeleine knows she is notdescribing what she wore precisely; in line 75 she suggests that what's important is that she was very young, rather than her actual age at the time.Like may also work with innithere to add emphasis to the fact that she was only three years old.

Note that Madeleine also uses BE LIKE as a quotative expression (see below). Likealso occurs in the phrase like that (lines 9, 11, 21, 36, 48) where that is a deictic expression referring to the sound or gesture that she makes (like is not a discourse marker when it occurs as a part of a quotative expression or in the phrase like that!)

Clause final yeah (lines 1, 3, 6, 12, 29, 47, 50, 68) punctuates the story and checks that the listener is following

innit(line 75) may add emphasis to what Madeleine has just said whilst also acting as a face-saving strategy, appealing to the listener for understanding (after all, she was very young so could hardly be expected to take a good photograph).

General extenders
and all that (line 33) is the third part of a list (a common use for general extenders) and suggests that there are other things that punks wear that Madeleine could mention, but she assumes she doesn't need to itemise them because the interviewer and Ben know what punks wear.

really really shiny (line 25)
not really bothered line 50
all smudged line 69
that small 73

Quotative expressions
Madeleine reports a lot of direct speech and gestures, and the quotative expressions that she uses for this are very varied for an 8 year old:
SAY (lines 37, 42, 51, 54, 64)
GO (lines 9, 11, 21, 36, 39, 48)
BE LIKE (55, 63, 67)
She also says do that followed by a gesture (line 53)

However with GO the quote is either nonlexicalised sound (sounds that are not words; see lines 9, 11, 21) or gestures (line 36, 48), and she follows them with the phrase like that (like that comes before the gesture in line 48), with the deictic form that pointing out the sound or gesture. It is debatable therefore whether GO is a fully fledgedquotative expression in Madeleine's speech. In line 48,especially, it is similar in function to DO in line 53, which is also followed by the deictic that and a gesture. In this extract Madeleine never uses GO to introduce direct reported speech, unlike BE LIKE which introduces both gestures (line 67) and direct speech (lines 55 and 63).SAY always introduces direct speech here.

Rhetorical strategies
Madeleine uses the three part list strategy (lines 34-36, and lines 65-67). Lines 34 and 35 differ only in their verb; line 36 then varies the structure slightly, with no always and go like that followed by a gesture. Lines 65 and 66 differ this time only in the nouns; again the third clause (line 67) differs slightly, with was like and a gesture. Note that on both occasions the interviewer reacts by laughing after the third clause (partly because of the gesture).


Madeleine is a mixed race white British/AfroCaribbean 8 year old from inner London. She was recorded with her friend Ben by the interviewer, Arfaan. In this extract it is Madeleine who takes the floor. For an 8 year old, she is an accomplished storyteller, making her story lively and involving her listeners by, amongst other things, her use of intensifiers, direct reported speech and rhetorical strategies.

Discussion points PDF: 

Madeleine, Female, 8 years old, White British/AfroCaribbean mixed race

                                                  Dressing up

1 Madeleine:                 since I was little yeah
2                                  I had an afro
3                                  it was a small afro yeah <Ben laughs>
4                                  and yeah and I used to like wear..
5                                  you know this yeah?
6                                  I used to yeah
7                                  no but it was like a little cloth thing [Arfaan: yeah]
8                                  and I always used to tie it
9                                  I used to go "mm" like that
10                                and I used to pose
11                                and always used to go "<sound effect>." like that at my mum 12                                    yeah
13                                and she always let me wear her makeup
14                                but she had this kinda brownish one
15                                you know that? [Arfaan: yeah] yeah with the leaf on it.
16                                it'll be like that kinda colour   
17 Interviewer: oh right okay wow   
18 Madeleine               of brown
19                                and I and I always used to wear it
20                                and put on little bits of brown blusher
21                                and I always used to go "<sound effect>" like that
22                                and mum and my mum always said that I'm an angel [Arfaan:
23                                yeah]
24                                and I put glitter in my hair [Arfaan: oh wow]
25                                and it was really shiny [Ben: aargh]
26                                and I used to dress up as a pop star
27 Int:                          as a /pop star?/
28 Madeleine:                      /I mean/ not a pop star a punk
29                                yeah
30                                and I always used to wear punk things
31                                and punk earrings
32 Int:                          did you really?
33 Madeleine:               and all that
34                                and I always used to pose
35                                and I always used to stand up
36                                and I used to go like that <gesture> <Interviewer laughs>
37                                and my mum always said "sit down"
38                                and I and I sat down
39                                and I went <stamps feet> <Interviewer laughs>
40                                cos I was bored
41 Int:                          you were bored
42 Madeleine:               and she said "well not like that"
43                                and then I went
44                                /and then . and then/
45 Int:                          /oops care. it's come off/ <referring to the microphone which
46                                came unclipped>
47 Madeleine:               I stood on the chair yeah
48                                and I kept on going like that <gesture> 
49 Int:                          yeah. yeah <laughs>   
50 Madeleine:               cos I'm not really bothered to do it. yeah
51                                and then erm everytime my mum said "sit down and do a pose" 52                                 I always used I always used to sit down
53                                and I always used to do that <gesture> <Arfaan laughs>
54                                and my mum said "is that a punk thing?"
55                                and I was like "alright?"  
56 Int:                          alright <laughs>  
57                                and and she actually took a picture of /that/
58 Int:                                                                                      /ah did/ she take a
59                                picture? /wow/   
60 Madeleine:                             /yeah/
61                                and it was stuck on my wall
62                                and when (name) came round to look at it
63                                she was like "puh what's that man?"
64                                and then said "why didn't you. watch me take a picture of you"
65                                and then she put on the same makeup
66                                and she put on the same clothes
67                                and she was like  <gesture> <Arfaan laughs>
68                                and I took a picture of her yeah
69                                but but her face was all smudged 
70                                /cos she was/
71 Int:                          /smudged/
72 Madeleine:               yeah cos she was too back
73                                and she looked like she was that small
74 Int:                          small /tiny/
75 Madeleine:                        /yeah but/ I was like three years old innit

Return to top