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When we watch and listen to actors speaking lines that have been written by someone else—a common experience if we watch any television at all—the illusion of "people talking" is strong. These characters are people like us, but they are also different, products of a dramatic imagination, and the talk they exchange is not quite like ours.
Television Dramatic Dialogue examines, from an applied sociolinguistic perspective and with reference to television, the particular kind of "artificial" talk that we know as dialogue: onscreen/on-mike talk delivered by characters as part of dramatic storytelling in a range of fictional and nonfictional TV genres. As well as trying to identify the place this kind of language occupies in sociolinguistic space, Richardson seeks to understand the conditions of its production by screenwriters and the conditions of its reception by audiences, offering two case studies, one British (Life on Mars) and one American (House).
Chapter 1 Introduction 3
Chapter 2 Previous Research 21
Chapter 3 What Is TV Dialogue Like? 42
Chapter 4 What TV Screenwriters Know about Dialogue 63
Chapter 5 What Audiences Know about Dialogue 85
Chapter 6 Dialogue as Social Interaction 105
Chapter 7 Dialogue, Character, and Social Cognition 127
Chapter 8 Dialogue and Dramatic Meaning: Life on Mars 151
Chapter 9 House and Snark 169
Chapter 10 Conclusion 187
Appendix: List of Television Shows 198