Hymes’s Model

I. Revising the theory

Exercise 1. Provide the definitions of the following notions.

  • Act sequence
  • speech community;
  • keys.

Exercise 2. According to Hymes’s model, what are the levels of the context? Add to the list below.

Speech community, speech situation …

Insert the missing words.

  1. A speech is a clearly marked occasion that calls for a specific type of speech.

  2. Each situation consists of a series of speech , or identifiable sequence of speech.

  3. is the tone or spirit in which a given activity is undertaken.

  4. are the channels of transmission used (for example, verbal or nonverbal, written or spoken).

  5. A is a specialized type of encoded message.

Exercise 4. In what case is communication considered to be unsuccessful? Think of the ways to improve faulty communication

II. Practicing

Exercise 1. Identify the eight elements of communication in the following situations.

Situation 1

A: Oh hi, Linda, this is Todd.

B: Todd, how nice to hear you!

A: Linda, I just wanted to say that I had a wonderful evening with you last Friday.

B: I really enjoyed our evening together, too.

A: Would you like to go hiking with me in the mountains on Saturday?

B: Hiking would be perfect! I could bring along a picnic lunch.

A: A picnic lunch would be a nice thing.

B: Then I’ll get busy with the lunch, and you decide where we will go. What time will you call?

A: Will nine do?

B: Nine is perfect. See you on Saturday!

Situation 2

A: John, I was looking through some magazines for ideas about where we might go on vacation this year.

B: I’ve already told my buddy, Mark, that I am going hunting with him in Alaska.

A: You can’t be serious!

B: Hey, I always go hunting or fishing on vacation. I am sorry that bothers you.

A: After a year together, I thought it pretty safe to assume that we would automatically spend our vacation together.

B: Says who? I don’t think that is necessarily the case.

A: You know, now that I think about it, I really don’t have much more to say to you at all!

B: Whatever you say!

Situation 3

A: Hi Kara, this is Mike.

B: Hello Mike. How are things?

A: Great, how are you?

B: Fine. Everything is just fine.

A: Kara, I had a great time the other night and was wondering if you would like to go out again this weekend.

B: I really enjoyed your company, Mike, but I am getting ready to graduate soon. I really need to focus on my studies.

A: Maybe I could help you with your work.

B: I’m afraid it would be better for me just to do things on my own.

Situation 4

A: What can I do for you?

B: I’m in need of your services.

A: What do you need me for?

B: I have a court date coming up.

A: What are you being charged with?

B: It’s the felony charge.

A: I’m willing to provide my services.

B: What’s your rate?

A: I work for $150 an hour.

B: That’s too high.

A: That’s what I charge.

B: I’ll hire you anyway.

Adapted from: http://www.eslfast.com

Exercise 2. Read the following definition of a speech community and provide at least five examples of different speech communities from a film or book of your choice.

Speech community is a concept in sociolinguistics that describes a group of people who use language in a unique and mutually accepted way among themselves. Speech communities can be members of a profession with a specialized jargon, distinct social groups like high school students or hip hop fans, or even tight-knit groups like families and friends.

Speech communities may emerge among all groups that interact frequently and share certain norms and ideologies. Such groups can be villages, countries, political or professional communities, communities with shared interests, hobbies, or lifestyles, or even just groups of friends.

A speech community comes to share a specific set of norms for language use through living and interacting together. People within a community may share particular sets of vocabulary, grammatical conventions, speech styles and genres, norms for how and when to speak in particular ways.

III. Applying the model

Exercise 1. Analyze your class of ICB according to Hymes’s model of communication. Give a detailed analysis of the elements of communication.

Exercise 2. Analyze an episode from your favorite TV series applying Hymes’s model. Identify the four levels of context and the eight elements of communication.