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Watch the following film clip that will start you thinking about how certain types of speech are privileged in some societies.

Question One

From a first viewing of the clip, what do you notice about the language spoken by the Duchess of York? Jot down anything specific that is different from how you and your friends speak. How does the relationship between the two characters change during their conversation? In what ways does this affect how they speak?

Question Two

Transcribe or write down everything that is said in the clip. You will have to listen over and over again to record it accurately. You do not need to use full stops and commas but you do need to indicate the pauses.

Question Three

Using your transcription as evidence, think about the sound of each speaker’s utterances. As the Duchess of York's reason for visiting the doctor becomes clearer, does anything change in the sounds made by either speaker? Think specifically about:

  • Loudness
  • Pitch
  • Tone
  • Intonation
  • Accent