Leave it out! The use of soap operas as models of spoken discourse in the ELT classroom

Christian Jones, Tania Horak


This study analyses spoken language from a small corpus of the popular UK soap opera EastEnders in order to understand the extent to which the language used may be a useful model of conversational English at intermediate levels and above. Results suggest that the spoken language used in EastEnders has a number of similarities to unscripted conversational language in general spoken corpora. It involves extensive use of the two thousand most frequent words in the British National Corpus (BNC) spoken lists and the most frequent words and two-word chunks are comparable to general spoken corpora and a larger soap opera corpus. The findings suggest that soap operas of this type may be a useful model of spoken language as they have more similarities to unscripted, naturally occurring conversations than dialogues often found in ELT textbooks.  


Spoken language; authentic materials; soap operas; corpora

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