Text A is a transcript of authentic speech between parents and their two children. There are obvious differences in status between the speakers, as the conversations that arise are directed at the children by the more dominant parents; it is a transactional conversation, taking place in a busy kitchen before the parents go to work and the children go to school and maybe nursery.
Text B, in comparison, is an extract from a play script; it is clear that Petey is the dominant speaker in the extract because he chooses when to answer, and in what manner. Unlike the transactional conversation in text A, this text replicates an interactional conversation. The purpose of the play nevertheless, is to entertain in front of a live audience. A seemingly obvious connection between the two texts is that it is breakfast time, and conversations are taking place while the speakers are preoccupied.
In Text A, the conversation is largely dominated by the father. Although the transcript opens with the mother talking to Tom, it cannot be called a conversation as he is only one year old, and no real verbal response is expected. Consequently it can be assumed that she is addressing him to encourage him to eat his breakfast, and to give him the attention that he requires. She only involves herself in the conversation as the feeding session is coming to its end, ‘um what’s photosynthesis Katie?’ It is noticeable that she changes her formality from very informal ’tummy’ to less informal when talking to Katie again, for obvious reasons that adults addressing infants do so in a very particular, informal manner.
The first ‘real’ conversation that takes place is between nine year old Katie and her father, ‘what’s school what have you got as school today (1.0) Katie?’ as he is aware that she is not involved in the conversations that are going on around her. After a one second pause, he nominates her, because she is not aware that she is being spoken to, understandably. He knows...