Find a 10–20 minute speech, choose an interview fragment, and transcribe it. Then comment on the “verbals” and “visuals” of the material and on how you found this process with regard to the interpretative process of the transcription reflecting on your choices. Refer to Norman Fairclough's Language and Power.

After transcribing the material, discuss how the process reflects Norman Fairclough’s belief that verbal text is interwoven with visuals such as hand gestures, posture, and facial expressions.

Expert Answers

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When it comes to finding a 10–20 minute speech, interview, or clip from a movie or TV show, one will probably want to select material that has some meaning to them. Perhaps there’s a TedTalk, political speech, or a scene from a TV show that particularly resonated for someone. It’d be wise to choose material that one values, because it’s often easier to transcribe and talk about something that one feels a connection with.

For example, if someone likes the HBO drama The Sopranos, they might want to consider transcribing some of the interactions between Tony Soprano, the show’s mob-boss antihero, and his psychiatrist, Dr. Jennifer Melfi. Their sessions should lead to insightful discoveries regarding Norman Fairclough’s ideas about verbal and visual language. Their meetings are, for the most part, verbal. They’re in Dr. Melfi’s office, discussing, sometimes very indirectly, Tony’s lifestyle and problems.

Of course, the verbal text ties into an array of visuals. Think about how Tony’s words and sighs reflect his ongoing doubts about the benefits of therapy. Tony’s verbal text relates to the visuals that he creates when he is in Dr. Melfi’s office. It's not uncommon for him to look fidgety and anxious, as if therapy is a punishment or an irritating chore.

Dr. Melfi’s text, too, ties to her visuals. Think about how what she says, even if one is only looking at a transcription, underlies her typically calm and composed appearance.

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