Unit: Module a dialogue



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HANDOUT 2



What is dialogue?
There are a number of definitions including:


  • conversation between two or more people

  • conversation between characters in a novel, film, film script, etc

  • an exchange of ideas or opinions on a particular issue, including radio or TV interviews

  • literary work in the form of a conversation, eg. a play

In the texts you will study as a part of this elective you will encounter communication through one or more forms of dialogue as outlined in the definitions above.


Dialogue involves both speakers and listeners who exchange ideas with one another. A speaker may be both the writer of the text and the persona (character) created by the writer. The listeners can also be the audience, either directly or indirectly.
In order to communicate ideas effectively speakers must be aware of their audience and they must use a register (degree of formality of language) appropriate to their content (what they are speaking about) and their audience (who they are speaking to).
The level of language they use (formal or informal register) and vocabulary tell us a lot about:

  • the speaker

  • the listener

  • the immediate circumstances

  • the social, cultural, political, and historical context


(Cathy Sly of Barrenjoey High School, http://hsc.edu.au’english/standard/experience/dialogue/1222dialogue.htm, modified by Bozena Szymanska, MaryMacKillop College, Wakeley)
Re-read Monologue 5 and write two conversations:


  • the first one between the homeless woman and a young councillor

  • the second one between the same woman and a police officer who interrogates her at a police station

Discuss with another student the register and language you will use in both conversations. Before you write your own conversations, read and analyse some examples of dialogues.


(Examples of dialogues/ interviews can be taken from: On Purpose, Studying Written, Oral and Visual Language in context by Janne Schill, Heinemann 2003, or On Track Working With Texts and On Track, Creating a Text For A Purpose by Janne Schill, Heinemann 2003.

HANDOUT 3 A




FUNCTIONS OF DIALOGUE
Dialogue fulfills many functions (has many uses or purposes).


  • It can reveal characters, their personalities, their attitudes to other characters and the purposes of their conversations.




  • It can reveal relationships between characters, who is in control and who is silenced.




  • It can reveal conflict between characters.




  • It can cause complications and thus advance action.




  • It can provide background information about characters, about the context of the situation, about past events, etc.




  • It can reveal themes.


All the above functions of dialogue are conveyed through conventions of dialogue, namely through verbal and non-verbal aspects (elements) of dialogue (refer to the next page).

CONVENTIONS OF DIALOGUE (VERBAL AND NON-VERBAL ASPECTS/ELEMENTS OF DIALOGUE)
In studying Dialogue you need to look at:


  • Conventions of dialogue

  • Its interpersonal nature

  • Who controls the conversation

  • Whether certain voices are silenced

  • The differences between spoken and written language

The following conventions of dialogue (aspects of language) should be considered:





  1. Verbal elements of dialogue such as:




  • Vocabulary: word selection, word placement, jargon and circumlocution

  • aspects of grammar and sentence structures

  • colloquialisms: conversational language, use of slang words or phrases including: expletives, clichés, ellipsis

  • devices to suggest or create humour: satire, irony, sarcasm, connotations




  1. Verbal signals:




  • tone, pitch and stress conveying the speaker’s feelings towards the listener, volume and accent, pace or fluency, intonation, enunciation, pauses, interjections and exclamations




  1. Non-verbal signals:




  • facial expression, eye contact, stance, gestures: arms, hands, head



Things to consider in your studied texts:


  1. How has the composer structured the scene?

  2. Which character controls the scene? How do you know it?

  3. What are the characters like? How do you know it?

  4. What does the audience learn about the relationship between the characters from the language they use?

  5. What ideas/values/themes/ are conveyed by the character/composer?

  6. What is your view of the characters from this scene? How has the composer used the elements of dialogue and spoken language to shape your response?


(LIG 2001 English Workshop materials, modified by Bozena Szymanska, Mary MacKillop College, Wakeley)

DISTINCTIVE FEATURES OF DIALOGUE (optional)


  • formal/colloquial language (register)

  • precise punctuation/slang

  • modulated rhythm/unregulated speed

  • serious tone/light-hearted tone

  • main words emphasised/monotonous voice

  • clear/unclear

  • short and to the point

  • slow/quick pace



How does a person persuade using dialogue?


  • emotional appeal

  • enthusiasm


How does speech show agreement/disagreement?


  • agreeable manner

  • silence

  • disinterested voice

  • fillers (eg ‘uh-huh’)


How to maintain control in a dialogue?


  • cutting another speaker off

  • arguing against another view

  • disapproving comments, ”not really”

  • tone (patronising, overbearing)


How to manage another speaker?


  • positive/negative tone of voice, choice of words

  • colder tone/cutting the speaker off

  • praise

  • changing speech, tone to empathise

  • arguing out

  • having the last word


Handout 3 B
Verbal and Non-Verbal Conventions (Elements) of Dialogue.
Activity: Match the following features of dialogue to their meaning.


Term

Definition


1.Body language

a. idea which a word makes one think of in addition to the main meaning, e.g.

2.Circumlocution

b. a form of mockery in which the speaker implies the opposite of what is actually said.

3.Clarity

c. very informal words or phrases considered unsuitable for formal occasions.

4.Cliché

d. is a select use of speech peculiar to a certain district or class and differing from the standard use of the language.

5.Colloquialism

e. the movement in language created by the weight, sound and pace with which individual words in a line/s are said.

6.Connotation

f. the process of communicating through conscious or unconscious gestures and poses.

7.Dialect

g. the speed at which one is speaking.

8.Ellipsis

h. technical or specialized words that relate to a particular group or field of interest.

9.Eye contact

i. use of many words to say something that can be said in a few words.

10.Facial

j. a break in speaking.

11.Gesture

k. a type of language e.g. colloquial, formal, literary.

12.Interjection

l. the state or quality of being clear, esp. of sound or expression.

13.Intonation

m. phrase or idea which is used so often that it has become stale or meaningless, e.g. trials and tribulations.

14.Irony

n. when a statement is expressed in the form of a question although it expects no answer, nor requires any.

15.Jargon

o. a range of words known to an individual.

16.Pace

p. the degree of highness or lowness of a tone.

17.Pause

q. example of leaving out a word of a sentence when the meaning can be understood without it, e.g. ‘He is dead and I alive’.

18.Pitch

r. quantity or power of sound.

19.Pronunciation

s. word or phrase used as an exclamation, e.g.For goodness sake!

20.Register

t. accentuation; emphasis laid on a syllable or word.

21.Rhythm

u. the way in which a word is pronounced.

22.Rhetorical question

v. the depiction of feeling shown on one’s face.

23.Sarcasm

w. attacking foolish or wicked behaviour by making fun of it.

24.Satire

x. modulation of the voice; accent.

25.Slang

y. refers to the attitude presented by the speaker towards his/her subject and audience.

26.Stress

z. expression suitable for normal conversation but not for formal speech or writing.

27.Stance

A2. bitter remarks intended to wound one’s feelings.

28.Tone

B2. person’s position or way of standing, deportment.

29.Vocabulary

C2. looking directly into another person’s eyes.

30.Volume

D2. expressive movements of a part of a body, especially the hand or head.



Answers: 1-f, 2-i, 3-l, 4-m, 5-z, 6-a, 7-d, 8-q, 9-C2, 10-v, 11-D2, 12-s, 13-x, 14-b, 15-h, 16-g, 17-j, 18-p, 19-u, 20-r, 21-e, 22-n, 23-A2, 24-w, 25-c, 26-t, 27-B2, 28-y, 29-o, 30-r.
Now Place all the terms under the following two headings:
Verbal Non-verbal

(Josephine Pecorella, All Saints Catholic Senior College, Casula)

HANDOUT 4


1. CHOOSE ONE MONOLOGUE AND CONSTRUCT TWO SEPARATE DIALOGUES BETWEEN THE CHARACTER AND TWO OTHER CHARACTERS.
For example, Monologue 1 – between the gardener and his employer (the landlady), and another one between the gardener and his mate; or Monologue 5 – between the homeless woman and a young councillor, and between the homeless woman and a police officer at a police station. The events are the same, but modify your language (register) to suit the circumstances.

2. Analyse your own dialogues using the matrix below; write which elements of dialogue you’ve used and what effect they have:




Elements of dialogue

Quote

Effect

Eg. slang

“her rhodos carked it.”

To show the gardener’s social background

























Handout 5
Read the following scene.
(Away by Michael Gow, Act 2, Scene 3)
Roy and Coral
Roy: Two things!

Coral: Two. Yes?

Roy: Listen to me.

Coral: The whole world is listening to you.

Roy: Just two things.

Coral: Why don’t you help me choose an evening dress to take?

Roy: I’m getting sick of this act.

Coral: This one?

Roy: Two things. One. My position at school. I can’t go on turning up at school functions with you if you’re going to behave like a ghost. You wander around with that smile, staring into the distance, not seeing anyone, ignoring people.

Coral: I don’t ignore anyone.

Roy: Just let me speak. You ignore people –

Coral: I don’t.

Roy: You stare at them like there’s something wrong with them, just stare and smile and say nothing.

Coral: But I’m not ignoring them. I can’t think of anything to say. I would never ignore anyone.

Roy: Don’t split hairs, Coral. I don’t care how you justify it, you behave in a way that’s too … weird for my liking. I can feel people watching us walk away thinking, how much longer before he has to lock the poor ratbag wife up?

Coral: People don’t think like that.

Roy: Well, you’re even weirder than I thought if you think like that. It has to stop. I can’t keep moving school to stop you going over the edge. There’s only so much compassionate ground the Department can keep giving me. You’ll have to take stock, come back to reality.

Coral: I mightn’t like it there.

Roy: Try it for a week, for Christ’s sake. Two. Second thing. I miss the boy too. I feel it. I suffer for it. Will you allow me that? Could you let me in on the sadness just a little? Because Christ I feel it.

Coral: It’s everywhere, isn’t it? In the air we breathe.

Roy: But. But. We are not the only ones. We are not the first people in the history of the world to lose a son in war. There is a time for being grief-stricken, there’s a time for weeping and wailing and carrying on and beating your breast, but it comes to an end. It has to. Otherwise the whole world would simply stop. Jesus, Coral, in the last war practically every family lost someone or knew someone who died. They managed. They picked themselves up and went on. That’s what history is, people picking themselves up, pulling themselves together and going on. We can’t stop.

Coral: Do you still think I look like Kim Novak?

Roy: Jesus Christ.

Coral: You did once.

Roy: There’s no point packing clothes. We won’t go.

Coral: We need a break. We need a change.

Roy: I don’t need a break with you. I can stay home and read a book and be more relaxed. I’m not wasting time and money on airfare and room service if you’re going to spend all your time staring at people.

Coral: I’ll be good! I’ll improve. Watch me get better.

Roy: I can’t take it, Coral.

Coral: I won’t think about death, about –

Roy: I’m not asking you to forget, I won’t forget.

Coral: I’ll be calm, interested, aware of people. I’ll look after myself. I’ll get up at a proper time. I’ll have fun.

Roy: You can sit by a pool all day if you like. But like a normal human being.

Coral: We won’t mention helicopters, or jungles, or mines –

Roy: I’ll tear up the tickets. I’ll give them away. I’ll send someone else who’ll enjoy it.

Coral: I’ll be silent on all controversial topics. Will that do? I won’t bring up anything upsetting or worrying. Death, war, loss –

Roy: Be reasonable. Give it a rest.

Coral: I won’t blame anyone.

Roy: Please, please, stop doing it to me. I didn’t send him. He had to go. Would you rather not pay the price for the life we have? We could just lie down in the street, defenceless, and let whoever wanted to come and take what we have. Would that have been better for you? Would you have been happy then? Jesus, Coral, you’re too selfish. We were picked out to pay. I can’t help that. We’ve paid. I can’t bring him back. So we have a duty to go on with what we have. Maybe we should even be proud? We’re living in a country with one of the highest standards of living on earth and we have shown ourselves willing to defend that standard.

Coral: Shhhh, Roy …Shhhh, relax. We need a break. A rest. Rest and recreation. Let’s get away. Just the two of us.

Roy: Coral .. be like you were.

Coral: I will, I will.

Roy: Smile.

Coral: I will. I’ll be as good as gold. I’ll be like Kim Novak. I’ll purr like a kitten.

Roy: Sweetheart …

Coral: I don’t think this dress is the right one.

Roy: Coral …

Coral: I know.

Roy: Look at me.

Coral: There.

Roy: You remind me of Kim Novak.

Coral: You remind me … but I mustn’t say.



(silence) We’ll have a wonderful, wonderful time.

Answer the following questions:




  1. What does the reader learn about Roy and Coral’s past from their conversation?

  2. What type of conflict is presented in this dialogue?

  3. Have Roy and Coral resolved their problems at the end of the scene?

  4. With a partner discuss how Roy expresses his frustration; look at the dialogue again and come up with suggestions regarding verbal (tone and pace of voice, interjections) and non-verbal (facial expression, gestures, body language) signals he uses.

  5. How does Coral convey her detachment through her tone and pace of voice, her facial expressions and body language?

  6. Re-write part of the scene, adding stage directions and instructions for the actors to convey their relationship and conflict.


(The following are suggestions only; teachers may need to add to the list.)
Roy
verbal signals - tone of voice: impatient, angry, frustrated, depressed, annoyed,

sad, resigned

- pace: slow, quick, interjects
non-verbal signals - facial expression: resigned facial expression,

- body language: gesticulates, throws up hands in

frustration, looks away
Coral
verbal signals – tone of voice: soft, detached, disinterested, sad, uncertain,

defensive, exaggerated, excited, pleading, persuasive


non-verbal signals – looks away, stares in front of her, looks helplessly around,

smiles unconvincingly, faces Roy, looks him straight in the eyes


(Teachers can choose any scene from this or any other play.)

Handout 6
Read the following scene.
(From Norm and Ahmed by Alex Buzo.)
Midnight on a summer night at a Sydney bus stop. Norm stops a passing Pakistani, Ahmed, to ask him for a light.
Norm: My name’s Norm Gallagher, what’s yours?

Ahmed: My name is Ahmed. (Moving away) Well, I don’t wish to seem rude …

Norm: Pleased to meet you, Ahmed.

He offers his hand.

Ahmed: (shaking hands) How do you do?

Norm: Pakistan. Now that’s an interesting place. I’ve never been to Pakistan. I was in Egypt during the war, but we never went anywhere else. How do you like Australia?

Ahmed: It is a very nice place. Naturally I tend to get a little homesick at times, but I quite like it out here. The people are very friendly.

Norm: It’s good to hear that, Ahmed. You feel you’re settling down all right?

Ahmed: Yes, I think so. One always experiences difficulties when one is seeking to adjust to an alien environment. But once the initial period of adjustment is over, it is easier to acclimatise oneself.

Norm: That’s very true.

Ahmed: Yes. Now if you excuse me, I’ll –

Norm: Do you know what? You’re insulting me, do you know that? Eh? You’re insinuating that I am some kind of drunken pervert.

Ahmed: Oh, no, you have misconstrued my actions. I think nothing of the kind.

Norm: Then why do you keep backing away, eh? Answer me that.

Ahmed: Well … I mean … it’s late. It’s late at night.

Norm: I know it’s late. That’s no reason. You think you’re a bit above me. You don’t want to talk to me. I’m insulted. If you think I’m a drunken perv, why don’ you say so? Why don’t you come right out and say it?

Ahmed: I’m very sorry if you think that. Perhaps I have shown bad manners. I offer my humble apologies.

Norm: Never been so insulted in all –

Ahmed: Please! Believe me. I did not mean to be rude.

Norm: You sure?

Ahmed: Of course I’m sure.

Norm: Well, all right then, don’t worry about it. Just a bit of misunderstanding, that’s all. No hard feelings. Jees. I tell you what, Ahmed, you really looked scared there for a minute.

He laughs.


  1. Analyse the language both characters use. What social backgrounds do these two characters come from? Substantiate your answer with textual evidence.

  2. Ahmed is afraid of Norm. Find examples from the text which substantiate this statement.

  3. Imagine you are to direct a dramatic presentation of this extract. What advice would you give to the actors for acting the roles of Norm and Ahmed so that their presentation clearly conveys the characters’ relationship? Think of all the verbal signals and non-verbal elements of dialogue.


(Teachers can choose any other scene from this play or from any other play.)

LIST OF “TONE” WORDS
Tone refers to the “sound” of the written or spoken piece. It is achieved through the careful selection of words and phrases, and it can be a powerful device. It can convey attitudes, it can convey who controls the conversation and who is silenced, it can create atmosphere; it can shape the responder’s attitude towards a character or an issue, it can persuade.
Below is a list of different “tone” words:
* matter-of-fact impatient angry annoyed critical
discouraging
* contemptuous patronising condescending
* sarcastic ironic
* authoritative questioning bullying threatening menacing
* scared frightened
* serious sad depressed frustrated
* exaggerated enthusiastic passionate excited encouraging
supportive sympathetic
* happy joyful

(The following web site contains “A Bank of Tone Words” and a number of activities: www.gaston.k12.nc.us/highland/class/baron/tonewords.htm)

Handout 7 A
Listening Task
Guido Hatsis CD (Triple M)
Students will listen to the eight scenarios of the Guido Hatsis CD recording and answer the following questions identifying the distinctive elements of dialogue (verbal and non verbal).
Question 1: What are the distinctive elements of dialogue in each scenario?

Question 2: What is the relationship between the speakers?

Question 3: Who is controlling the conversation? How?

Question 4: How does the dialogue engage the audience?

Question 5: What does the audience learn about the relationship between the speakers from the language they use?
Consider the following aspects of language:


  • Vocabulary, word selection, word placement, jargon, and circumlocution

  • Aspects of grammar and sentence structure

  • Colloquialisms – conversational language, use of slang words, or phrases including: expletive, clichés, ellipsis

  • Non-verbal language – facial expression, stance, gestures – arms, hands, head

  • Tone – expression, intonation, volume and accent.

  • Pace – fluency, pronunciation, enunciation, pauses, interjections and exclamations

  • Devices to suggest or create humour: satire, irony, sarcasm, connotation, eg. Sexual innuendo, corollary of laughter, audience response, interaction, effect of ‘canned laughter’.


(Students may also use Handout 3 to assist them with this task).

(Guido Hatzis’ CD available on: www.goggle.com.au, Guido Hatzis Album)
Scenario1:

Scenario 2:

Scenario 3:

Scenario 4:

Scenario 5:

Scenario 6:

Scenario 7:

Scenario 8:


Suggested answers.

Scenario1:

- Guido uses a patronising tone; heavy accent, pauses, limited word selection


Scenario 2:

- Tony has a fluent pace, interjects, frustrated tone of voice.


Scenario 3:

- Guido has condescending tone, informal register: slang. He is overbearing and always wants to have the last word.


Scenario 4:

- Guido’s use of sarcasm is very apparent. Uses offensive language. Frequent use of imperative eg. You speak to me now.


Scenario 5:

- Concierge has a very professional and respectful tone and manner

- Guido is very offensive. Language is very vulgar.
Scenario 6:

- Guido has a slow paced tone

- Concierge remains polite however is angry and is sarcastic
Scenario 7:

- Guido has a high-pitched voice


Scenario 8:

-Very repetitive.



(Teresa Baroni, All Saints Catholic Senior College, Casula)

Handout 7 B
SAMPLE QUESTION:
What have you learned about Dialogue through the study of this module?

Support your response by reflecting upon the ideas and features of your prescribed text and one other related text of your own choosing.
SAMPLE RESPONSE:
Dialogue can be defined as a conversation between two or more people who are exchanging ideas or opinions on a particular issue. While it can be said that dialogue is most effective when both or all parties have an equal say, this is a rare occurrence. Many factors can influence the balance of power within a dialogue and various techniques are used to assume control; the purpose of dialogue, status of people involved in a conversation and context, all influence the outcomes of dialogue. The issue at hand is often unclear until these aspects have been identified. Dialogue reveals that there is more than a spoken word to a conversation; other verbal elements such as tone, volume, pace, pauses, etc, and non-verbal elements, eg. body language, facial expression, gestures, are also its important components.
The following texts, ………………….. and GUIDO HATZIS radio conversations with unsuspecting listeners, exemplify the above, and they help the responder to understand better how characters can dominate each other through dialogue.

In ……………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….



Another text, the comic routine (audio conversation) Don’t talk over me is an example of one party trying to dominate another one. Guido Hatzis (a radio comic) plays pranks on people, calling them and pretending he wants to do business with them. His interlocutors think he is a prospective customer and they engage in a conversation which is supposed to lead to a business deal. They are in a vulnerable position, because they do not have all the information and they do not know the real purpose of the conversation. In this particular conversation, a tow truck driver adopts a business-like tone and sounds confident, shown through his polite factual vocabulary and his own short, sharp questions, eg. ………………….Guido’s ridiculous responses, eg. …………….. confuse him. His control of the conversation is quickly eroded as it occurs to him that Guido could be playing a prank, “…all right I’ll go along with the joke.”
As the conversation progresses, his tone becomes confused, then impatient and finally frustrated. Guido’s purpose in this dialogue (unknown to the driver) is to provoke the driver into anger, which is exactly what Guido does through the use of irrelevant, evasive dialogue, eg. …………… His repeated use of “my friend’ in addressing the driver projects an arrogant tone and his exaggerated accent is condescending (patronising) and sarcastic. A few times the driver attempts to regain control of the conversation by resorting to business-like exchanges, eg. …………., yet to no avail.
Because this is an audio-text, emotions can only be expressed verbally. A greater emphasis is placed on the spoken word and its expression. Shifts in volume and tone and attempts to speak over the other person are evidence of the driver’s state of mind. Verbal violence and insults, eg. ……………, are used by Guido in the third phone call in an attempt to provoke the driver into anger. The driver’s tone of voice is showing increasing signs of frustration and confusion at this stage of the conversation as he is often silenced before finding something to say back to his unknown attacker. Threats aimed at Guido, eg. ……………….., are reversed into a putdown and are thrown back at the truck driver, eg. ……….. This is how Guido resumes control and assumes a powerful position in order to achieve his purpose. The driver’s frustration and confusion come out in his increasing volume and pauses where he is lost for words. As using silence and mimicked insults, eg. ………….., cannot reverse his weak position, he uses loud volume to regain control, but it is not successful. He lacks the opportunity to have an equal say, because he does not have all the information.
(adapted from the 2002 HSC student’s response, available in the English Package CD)

HANDOUT 8 – STRICTLY BALLROOM
Dialogue can convey much more than what is actually spoken about. It can fulfill many functions (roles) such as giving us information about what the characters are like (their personality) and about their relationships; it can give us background knowledge about the characters, the context of their situation and past conflicts; dialogue can advance action and show future conflicts. And, finally, dialogue can reveal themes.
All these functions of dialogue are revealed to the responder through the different aspects of dialogue (conventions of dialogue). Conventions of dialogue include verbal and non-verbal elements.
Verbal conventions (elements) of dialogue include:


  • Vocabulary: word selection, word placement, jargon, colloquialisms, slang, etc

  • aspects of grammar and sentence structures

  • verbal signals: tone, pitch, volume, pace of voice conveying the speaker’s attitude towards the listener or towards the issue, intonation, pauses, interjections


Non-verbal elements include:


  • stance, body language, eye contact, facial expression, gestures

In the following activity we will concentrate on the characters and their relationships. What the characters say and how they say it reveals a lot about them, the context of their situation and their relationships.


Analyse the following scenes filling in the grid.


Scene

What does this scene reveal about the characters and their relationships?

How do you know it?

Analyse the characters’ dialogue and its verbal and non-verbal features (refer to the above explanation)

Scene1
Shirley and Doug are being interviewed on TV (pages 1-9 of the film script).








Scene 2
Dialogue between Scott and Fran (pages 21-24)








Scene 3
Conversation between Shirley and Fran regarding Scott’s new partner (pages 37-40)








Scene 4
Shirley talks to Fran about Scott, persuading her not to dance with him (page 43)








Scene 5
Conversation between Rico and Scott (pages 48-51)








Scene 6
Shirley, Scott and Doug in their kitchen (p. 51-52)

What does this scene tell us about the three characters and their relationship?









Scene 7
Conversation between Scott and Barry (pages 60-64









Scene 8
Doug explaining to Scott (pages71-75) what has happened in the past. What does this conversation reveal about Barry?







Teachers can choose different scenes and analyse them, using the grid above.


Page numbers refer to a screenplay Strictly Ballroom by Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce adapted from a screenplay by Baz Luhrmann and Andrew Bovell, Currency Press, Sydney, 2002
Examples of Responses.



Scene

What does this scene reveal about the characters and their relationships?

How do you know it?

Analyse the characters’ dialogue and its verbal and non-verbal features (refer to the above explanation)

Scene1
Shirley and Doug are being interviewed on TV (pages 1-9 of the film script).


* Shirley is a middle-aged ballroom dance instructor.

* She is cartoon-like, nearly a caricature.

* She is highly competitive, is obsessed with her son winning.

* She adheres to the rules and regulations of the Ballroom Dancing Federation unquestionably and has a deferential attitude towards Barry Fife.


* Doug is portrayed as insignificant, he does not say anything, and the viewer realises Shirley does not respect him.

* Her make-up, hair, costume (too bright colours), smiles and facial grimaces are exaggerated.

* “Scott won most of the trophies in this room – you see that’s the tragedy, my son was a champion.” “Have I failed as a mother?”+ contorted facial expression conveying her despair, + exaggerated, emotional tone of voice, hesitations conveying how difficult it is for her to cope with what has happened.

* “We never imagined he’d (Scott) do such a thing in front of …. Barry Fife!”

* During the interview, Doug sits leaning backwards in the lounge while Shirley leans forward. Yet, each time he disagrees with her, he squirts his mouth with breath freshener.



Scene 2
Dialogue between Scott and Fran (pages 21-24)


* Scott is a talented , handsome rebel who wants to dance his own steps.

* Initially he dominates the conversation, he is arrogant towards Fran and does not treat her seriously. He is taken aback by Fran’s determination to dance with him and surprised by her outburst.

* Fran is shown as an ugly duckling, a clumsy, unattractive character with no dancing partner. She is nervous to approach Scott, submissive and anxious to please. Annoyed by Scott’s patronising tone of voice, she gathers her courage and lashes out at him, regaining control of the conversation.


* His words, body language and tone of voice show his arrogant attitude towards Fran. He looks down at her, he repeats questioningly in a dismissive tone what Fran says to show her how ridiculous she is, “You want to dance my way at the Pan Pacific?” Sarcastically he says, “Oh, I see, that’s you (the right partner”.
His patronising attitude is conveyed through his tone of voice and words, “Look, what are you carrying on about? You’ve never had a partner. You’ve been dancing with a girl for two years, haven’t you?”

Finally, he boasts openly, “A beginner has no right to approach an open Amateur.”


* Fran’s shyness and insecurity is conveyed through her body language, facial expression and her submissive tone of voice. She does not look him in the face, her shoulders stoop and she uses a lot of pauses, hesitations and repetitions. When Scott asks her, “What are you doing here?”, she stammers, “I uh, I, I, just ..”

When Scott continuously rejects her proposal, she expresses her anger and regains the control of the conversation, “… you’re just really scared to give someone new a go, because you think … they might just be better than you…. You are pathetic, ….. you are just a gutless wonder.”



Scene 3
Conversation between Shirley and Fran regarding Scott’s new partner (pages 37-40)








Scene 4
Shirley talks to Fran about Scott persuading her not to dance with him (page 43)








Scene 5
Conversation between Rico and Scott (pages 48-51)







Scene 6
Shirley, Scott and Doug in their kitchen (p. 51-52)
What does this scene tell us about the three characters and their relationship?







Scene 7
Conversation between Scott and Barry (pages 60-64









Scene 8
Doug explaining to Scott (pages71-75) what has happened in the past. What does this conversation reveal about Barry?
















HANDOUT 9 – STRICTLY BALLROOM
This is an alternative worksheet which provides descriptive vocabulary portraying characters. Students need to look at some scenes and provide textual evidence (verbal and non-verbal conventions of dialogue) that supports judgment about the characters.
Characters
Scott Hastings
Look at the different scenes where Scott talks to the other characters and explain how conventions of dialogue convey that Scott is:

  • rebel of the film who wants “to dance his own steps”

  • boastful and patronising towards Fran

  • changing his attitude towards Fran

  • disrespectful of his father

Shirley Hastings



  • she is a likeable caricature, a cartoon-like, middle-aged ballroom dance instructor

  • all her life she has followed the rules and regulations of the Ballroom Dancing Federation

  • she is obsessed with her son winning the Pan Pacific Competition

  • very competitive

  • often denigrates Doug

  • manipulative (in scenes with Fran)

Doug Hastings



  • lives in the shadow of his wife and son

  • quiet, unassuming

  • becomes assertive in the closing scene of the film

Fran


  • unattractive, clumsy in the beginning of the film

  • dominated by Shirley and by Scott (initially)

  • has an underlying strength of character

  • changes from a submissive character into an assertive one who is determined to follow her dream

Barry Fife



  • a caricature of an aging ex-ballroom dancing champion, pretentious

  • loud and domineering

  • patronising attitude towards all, disdainful towards some characters

  • manipulative

  • resorts to lies to achieve his goals

When you analyse the persona’s character traits, you must refer to specific scenes and analyse the verbal language they use (Barry – pretentious vocabulary, eg. ….., exclamations, eg. …., patronising tone of voice – describe the scene in detail) and non-verbal elements of dialogue, eg. exaggerated gestures.


WORKSHEET 9B

Strictly Ballroom
Character Analysis of Scott Hastings

Brainstorm: Find examples from the film where Scott portrays the following qualities.

1. Confident



2. Passionate



3. Rebellious


When he breaks with the conventions and expresses his individuality on the dance floor.


4. A conformist


When he plays by the rules of the ballroom – dancing world.


5. Ambitious



6. Cowardly


Allowing his mother and his coach Les dictate his life.


7. Confused






8. Fearful


Initially, Scott will not go against the rules for fear of losing.


9. Rule – breaker






10. Crowd – Pleaser



11. Courageous






12. Charming



13. Dominant






14. Honorable







WORKSHEET 9B (continued)
Character Analysis of Scott Hastings
Scott’s character traits are interesting. Through his use of dialogue we can track Scott’s journey through the film.
We see him move from being a coward, manipulated and confused, to being courageous, passionate and free in expressing his individuality.
* Using the above Character Analysis Table, find examples of dialogue that reinforce the qualities that depict him. [Use the screenplay if necessary].


Qualities

Examples

1. Confident



2. Passionate

‘Vivir con miedo, es como vivir a miedas.

(pg. 23). The Spanish culture/language shows passion and influences Scott to overcome this fear. Fran suggests that Scott cannot truly live because of his fear.



3. Rebellious

‘I’m not dancing with you till you dance like you’re supposed to (pg. 11). Liz is angry with Scott’s rebellious dance moves!

4. A conformist



5. Ambitious



6. Cowardly



7. Confused


“You just pretend to be in love, it’s not real.” It points out Scott’s inability to dance with feeling at this early stage in the film. He’s having to conceal his true self.

8. Fearful

  1. Fran’s cutting remark to Scott about his lack of courage. ‘I’m sure you will win’. (pg.41)

  2. …..you’re just really scared. (pg.23). Scott fearful to be an individual and to be free from the authority of the ballroom world.

9. Rule-breaker


‘You can dance any steps you like, but that doesn’t mean you’ll … win (pg. 10). Barry’s authority and control affects Scott’s inability to question the authority of those in control.

10. Crowd-pleaser



11. Courageous





12. Charming



13. Dominant





14. Honorable


Handout 10 A

‘DIALOGUE’ ESSAY QUESTIONS





  1. How does dialogue reveal relationships between characters? In your answer refer to at least two characters from the film Strictly Ballroom and to characters from one other text of your own choosing. (HSC 2001)


Or: How is dialogue used to reveal relationships between characters? In your answer refer to the following extract from Strictly Ballroom and at least, one other scene from the film.
Examiners’ comments: “Candidates who attempted this question were very familiar with the film, but once again many candidates retold the story. The better responses were able to focus on key scenes and draw out the connection between the elements of dialogue and how they were used to reveal relationships between characters.”


  1. Analyse the use of dialogue in your prescribed text and in one other example of your own choosing. In you response, refer to at least two of the following aspects of dialogue:




  • uses and conventions of dialogue

  • the interpersonal nature of dialogue

  • how dialogue reveals relationships (HSC 2002)

(“Uses of dialogue” means the purposes of dialogue.)


Conventions of dialogue” means verbal and non-verbal language features. Conventions of dialogue reveal different functions of dialogue, eg they reveal characters, relationships, themes; show conflict; advance action; cause complication; provide background knowledge. In this case you could choose which functions of dialogue you would like to analyse.
Interpersonal nature of dialogue” means the way dialogue shows communication between people. )


  1. Dialogue is much more than the words that are spoken. Explain how this is true of Strictly Ballroom and one other text of your own choosing. (HSC 2003)

(Examiners’ comments: better responses demonstrated a good understanding of many of the conventions of dialogue such as tone, pitch, pause and pace, and non-verbal elements of dialogue such as body language, gestures and facial expression.)




  1. You are a host of a panel discussion at the Sydney Festival of Arts. You are interviewing Baz Luhrmann and one other composer about the way they used dialogue in their texts. Write the script of the interview. In your script you must refer to Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom and one other text of your own choosing. (HSC 2004)

How do your prescribed text and one other text of your own choice use the conventions of dialogue?



Examples of other essay questions from different half-yearly,


yearly and trial exams



  1. How does dialogue engage the audience in Strictly Ballroom and one related text of your own choosing?




  1. “Effective dialogue evokes our response.” Explain how composers shape our responses to characters and their relationships through dialogue. Refer in detail to your prescribed text and support it with reference to one other text of your own choosing.




  1. Explain how conventions of dialogue are used in your prescribed text and in one more text of your own choosing to promote viewers’ involvement. In your answer refer to specific scenes.




  1. Dialogue is one of the most important ways of engaging the audience. Explain how dialogue has been used in your prescribed text and in one more text of your own choosing to make these texts interesting.




  1. How do your prescribed text and one other text of your own choosing use the conventions of dialogue?




  1. What has appealed to you most effectively in your prescribed text and in one more text of your own choosing?

Remember that even when the essay question does not refer directly to dialogue, or its functions and conventions (eg. Question 6), this is what you must discuss as it is the central element of your Module. A suggested response to Question 6 may start as below:



In both texts, dialogue is the most effective element that appeals to the audience. Verbal and non-verbal conventions of dialogue are used very effectively to reveal characters and their relationships, and they shape the responder’s attitudes to the characters. Conventions of dialogue are also used to create conflict which promotes viewer’s involvement ….
You can decide yourself which functions of dialogue you are going to write about and you write in detail only about your chosen function(s) and how the conventions of dialogue that are used appeal to the audience.
Handout 10 B
How does dialogue reveal themes?
One of the most important themes in Strictly Ballroom is the theme of domination and control. Dialogue between different persona (characters) reveals how the characters manipulate each other, how they try to influence each other’s actions or how they attempt to ensure their own control over the other characters.
Shirley and Barry are the two strong characters with their own private agendas (goals) for whom the Ballroom Dancing Federation, its rules and regulations are the most important elements in their lives. They are prepared to do anything to ensure the Federation’s authority.
Shirley is a very competitive person for whom winning is most important. She is not interested in what Scott, her son, wants; what counts most for her is for her son to become a champion. In the scene with Fran, Shirley resorts to emotional blackmail to ensure that Fran gives up the silly idea of dancing with her son. Fran is a very vulnerable person, in love with Scott, at least that’s what Shirley counts on. Shirley takes advantage of this and plays on Fran’s feelings. She cuts Fran off a few times to prevent her from expressing her feelings, “I don’t know what you two thought you were doing.” She plays a role of a good understanding mother who gives the friendly advice, “I think it would be best for everyone if you went home.” When Fran shyly protests, “Scott wanted …”, Shirley cuts her off again, but she uses a friendly tone of voice, “(…) you don’t want to ruin his chances?” “Do you?” she adds pleadingly. This is clearly a manipulation. Shirley makes Fran feel badly about her decision. When Fran hesitates, Shirley again uses a “friendly” tone of voice and addresses her as “Franny”, someone she cares about, and Fran can do nothing else but to agree with her. This scene clearly manifests Shirley’s domination over Fran.
Similarly, Barry dominates the other characters in different situations, resorting both to lies and emotional blackmail. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
In conclusion, …………………………………

Handout 10 C
HOW DOES DIALOGUE REVEAL RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN CHARACTERS?
In your answer refer to at least two characters from the film Strictly Ballroom and characters from one other text of your own choosing.
(HSC 2001 question)
Dialogue fulfils many functions; one of them is revealing characters and their relationships. This function of dialogue is achieved not simply by the words and sentences the characters exchange, but by a number of other verbal and non-verbal clues (elements) such as, for example, tone of voice, pauses, hesitations, repetition. All these elements expose the characters’ personalities and their relationships as they give a greater insight into how people function in a society. This is apparent in a number of scenes in “Strictly Ballroom” and in “…………”
One of the first main scenes in Strictly Ballroom portrays Scott, the main rebellious character, and Fran, an “ugly duckling” of the ballroom dancing scene. Their first conversation clearly conveys their personalities and the relationship between them. Fran is initially presented as a plain, unattractive and anxious to please. There is a big gap between her and Scott who is talented, handsome and the hero of the ballroom dance community. Fran’s frequent use of repetition, “I, uh, I, I, just …” and pauses, “…it’s um … I wanna try to …” creates an image of clumsiness and it indicates that she is nervous to approach Scott. Fran’s tone is submissive, although she does not give up in spite of Scott’s arrogance. Scott repeats what Fran says to show her how ridiculous she is, “You want to dance my way at the Pan Pacific?” Sarcastically, he says, “Oh, I see, that’s you (the right partner).” His dismissive, annoyed tone of voice further conveys his condescending (patronising) attitude towards her, “Look, what are you carrying on about? You’ve never had a partner. You’ve been dancing with a girl for two years, haven’t you?” He dismisses her and insults her openly, “Go home.” “This is very embarrassing.” “You’re going to wake up tomorrow and feel like a real idiot about this.” Finally, he boasts openly, “A beginner has no right to approach an open amateur.”
However, when Scott continues to reject her proposal, Fran expresses her anger; her changed angry tone of voice and the intensity with which she speaks reverses their relationship; now she establishes (gains) the control over (of) their conversation and Scott becomes confused. “You’re just like the rest of them (…) You’re just really scared to give someone new a go, because you think (…) they might just be better than you (…). You are pathetic (…), you are just a gutless wonder!” Additionally, she vets her anger in Spanish which further confuses Scott, and it all changes her position from an insignificant, submissive character to becoming a partner who challenges Scott.
Yet, Scott’s boastfulness does not stop there. In the scene at Fran’s place, when Rico, Fran’s father, challenges Scott to dance Paso double, Scott still thinks he is in control of the situation; he whispers to Fran, “Just keep up with me.” However, the loud increasing laughter of the whole company confuses him and makes him vulnerable.

Barry Fife is a very different character who is manipulative and hypocritical. His relations with the other characters involve manipulation or bullying. Barry is portrayed as a caricature of a dominating president who uses lies to keep the status quo and the authority of his Federation. Angered by Scott’s lack of compliance with the Federation’s regulations, he attempts to turn Scott’s best friend, Wayne, against Scott, “You know, Scott is not the only one with a future to think about (…)” “One bad egg can rot the whole barrel.” Later on, Barry manipulates Scott by telling him a false story about his father’s past. He uses overt lies, exaggerated, melodramatic tone of voice and an emotional blackmail to convince Scott to dance with Liz. In an emotional tone of voice with tears in his eyes, he begs Scott, “I’m begging you – dance with Liz and win the Pan Pacifics once, just once for Doug. He’s suffered enough.”


Barry’s manipulative and revengeful character is further revealed in his conversation with drunk Ken. In a boastful, ostentatious tone of voice he announces, ”I’ve set it up for you to win, no matter how you dance. (…) Your year, Ken. Just get on the floor, go through the motions and it’s in the bag.” His real goal is to make Scott lose the competition as a punishment for his rebellious nature. Barry’s manipulative approach to people has been long standing. He tells Les, “You’ve betrayed his father (Doug).” When Les protests, “But Doug wanted me to dance with Shirley – you told me that,” Barry retorts maliciously, “Yeah, but it’s easy to believe what you want to hear,” which reveals he lied to Les about it as well and manipulated Les into dancing with Shirley.
Similarly to “Strictly Ballroom”, the characters and their relationships in “…..” are clearly portrayed through their dialogue. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..……………………………………………………………………………………..

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..


In conclusion, dialogue in Strictly Ballroom and in “…..”, its verbal and non-verbal elements, are vital in revealing characters and their relationships.

Handout 11
HSC ENGLISH ESL (Stage 6)
YEAR 12 ASSESSMENT TASK
MODULE / UNIT: Experience Through

Language
TASK TITLE: Composing Dialogue
CONTEXT: This module requires students to explore the uses and conventions of dialogue, its interpersonal nature, who controls the conversation and whether certain voices are silenced.
DATE / TIMING / SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS:
Students must write two drafts of their two dialogues and present them to the teacher with the final polished copy, displaying evidence of editing at the end of the unit (Week 7).
WEIGHTING: 20 %

COMPONENTS:
1. Writing 10%

2. Speaking 5%

3. Viewing/representing 5%
SYLLABUS OUTCOMES:
5. A student demonstrates understanding of how audience and purpose affect the language and structure of texts

7. A student analyses the effect of technology on meaning

8. A student adapts a variety of textual forms to different purposes, audiences and contexts in all modes

9. A student engages with the details of text in order to develop a considered and informed personal response

12. A student draws upon imagination to transform experience and ideas into text, demonstrating control of language

13. a student reflects on own processes of responding and composing




TASK DESCRIPTION / SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS:
Part A – Imagine that you have just learnt you are going to visit your country for the first time since you had left it as a child. You are thrilled, but the next moment you learn about the real reason of your visit: you are to meet your future spouse. Write two dialogues:


  • either a dialogue you have with your parents when you learn about their plans for your future or a dialogue with your friend about it, after the conversation with your parents

  • a radio interview in which together with one other peer you discuss the issue of arranged marriages.

Remember to use the conventions of dialogue appropriate to the two situations. Decide who controls the conversation, whether some voices are silenced and how you are going to reveal relationships and conflict.


As an alternative, you may choose any other interesting, exciting, humorous or terrifying moment from your life or from someone else’s life and write two dialogues:


  • a dialogue between you and your parent or a friend

  • a radio interview

Each text should be of 300 to 500 words in length. You should do it by producing two solid working drafts and your third final polished copy to the teacher on the dates indicated in this assessment task. Your drafts should show evidence of editing.


Part B – Deliver a three to five minutes’ speech, explaining how you have used dialogue in your two conversations. Explain why you have used different dialogue conventions (its verbal and non-verbal elements) in each conversation and how you have used dialogue to convey who controls the conversation, to express feelings, to reveal relationships, conflict and future complications.
Part C – Choose two scenes from Strictly Ballroom and explain how dialogue in these scenes reveals themes.




(Regarding Part A - teachers can choose any other topic which they feel their students will relate to well. The more relevant the topic is to students’ interests, the better the creative responses.)




ASSESSMENT CRITERIA:

Better answers will demonstrate:


  • comprehensive understanding of how audience and purpose affect the language and structure of texts, and a highly developed ability to describe and analyse how dialogue conveys who controls the conversation and how it reveals relationships, conflict and themes

  • an ability to compose imaginatively with sustained precision, originality, and flair for a specific purpose and context

  • sustained reflection on own processes of responding and composing to ensure consistent and appropriate style in each text

  • excellent speaking skills



Average answers will demonstrate:


  • understanding of how audience and purpose affect the language and structure of texts, and a developed ability to describe and analyse how dialogue conveys who controls the conversation and how it reveals relationships, conflict and themes

  • an ability to compose imaginatively with a degree of control for a specific purpose and context

  • some reflection on own processes of responding and composing to ensure consistent and appropriate style in each text

  • good speaking skills


Poor answers will demonstrate:


  • elementary understanding of how audience and purpose affect the language and structure of texts, and a basic ability to describe and analyse how dialogue conveys who controls the conversation and how it reveals relationships, conflict and themes

  • elementary ability to compose imaginatively with little degree of control for a specific purpose and context

  • little evidence of reflection on own processes of responding and composing to ensure consistent and appropriate style in each text

  • elementary speaking skills

MARKING GUIDELINES




Guideline Level Descriptions


Mark




  • comprehensive, highly developed understanding of how audience and purpose affect the language and structure of texts, and highly developed ability to describe and analyse how dialogue conveys who controls the conversation and how it reveals relationships, conflict and themes

  • highly developed ability to compose imaginatively with sustained precision, originality, and flair for a specific purpose and context

  • sustained reflection on own processes of responding and composing to ensure consistent and appropriate style in each text

  • excellent speaking skills


17 –20




  • well developed understanding of how audience and purpose affect the language and structure of texts, and well developed ability to describe and analyse how dialogue conveys who controls the conversation and how it reveals relationships, conflict and themes

  • well developed ability to compose imaginatively with precision, originality, and flair for a specific purpose and context

  • well developed reflection on own processes of responding and composing to ensure consistent and appropriate style in each text

  • well developed speaking skills


13 -16




  • reasonable understanding of how audience and purpose affect the language and structure of texts, and well developed ability to describe and analyse how dialogue conveys who controls the conversation and how it reveals relationships, conflict and themes

  • sound ability to compose imaginatively with some precision and originality for a specific purpose and context

  • satisfactory reflection on own processes of responding and composing to ensure appropriate style in each text

  • developed speaking skills


9 –12




  • generalised understanding of how audience and purpose affect the language and structure of texts, and generalised ability to describe and analyse how dialogue conveys who controls the conversation and how it reveals relationships, conflict and themes

  • generalised ability to compose imaginatively for a specific purpose and context

  • some reflection on own processes of responding and composing

  • limited speaking skills


5 –8




  • elementary understanding of how audience and purpose affect the language and structure of texts, and elementary ability to describe and analyse how dialogue conveys who controls the conversation and how it reveals relationships, conflict and themes

  • limited ability to compose for a specific purpose and context

  • limited reflection on own processes of responding and composing

  • few speaking skills


1 – 4




ATESOL NSW AGQTP funded project Stage 6 English unit – HSC Module A Dialogue Teresa Baroni, Joesphine Pecorella, Bozena Szymanska
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