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Features of spoken English

Although many grammatical features of everyday, unplanned conversation are judged incorrect by standards of written English (Carter and McCarthy 1995; McCarthy and Carter 1995), these features of natural con- versation should not be considered incorrect deviations from standard English (Cullen and Kuo 2007). Unlike written English, spoken English is usually spontaneous and unplanned and produced in real time with no opportu- nity for editing (Cullen and Kuo 2007). This spontaneity produces some distinct features, as speakers deal with and adapt to the pres- sures of “real time processing,” resulting in a “step-by-step assembly” of speech (Cullen and Kuo 2007, 363). In addition, speech usually occurs face-to-face, resulting in highly interac- tive situations with a “shared context” (Cullen and Kuo 2007, 363). Thus, the nature and characteristics of conversational English itself lead to several distinct grammatical features of spoken English as speakers try to fulfill the interpersonal and interactive functions of spoken language in real time.

Not learning features of spoken grammar

can impede students’ ability to speak English fluently and appropriately (Mumford 2009). The following six features of spoken grammar will help language instructors to understand what spoken grammar is and to provide class- room instruction and activities that advance their students’ development of spoken gram- mar knowledge and overall English speaking skills.

Six features of spoken grammar

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