Vocatives galore in audiovisual dialogue
Evidence from a corpus of American and British films
The paper explores the use of vocatives in a corpus of 24 American and British films (the Pavia Corpus of Film Dialogue) by comparing film dialogue with spontaneous speech. A systematic quantitative and qualitative analysis of empirical data is provided to assess how address forms used by English speakers in natural verbal exchanges are reproduced on screen, and to identify patterns of address that can be regarded as distinctive of film dialogue. The findings show a higher frequency of vocatives in film dialogue, which serve diegetic and extradiegetic functions. From a qualitative point of view, filmic speech effectively reproduces interpersonal functions and sociolinguistic variation associated with vocatives in spontaneous interactions; on the other hand, it is characterized by a sophisticated use of address strategies accounted for in terms of authorial expressivity.
Keywords: film dialogue, American English, conversation, British English, vocatives
Published online: 28 April 2014
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