Evidence from Multi-Dimensional Analysis and Corpora
15 Preface Over the last several decades, English language movies (and television shows) have probably had a greater influence on spreading English world-wide than any other mechanism. Viewers around the world regularly watch English-language movies, and many ELT professionals advocate using such movies in the classroom to teach and model natu- ral conversation. However, other professionals caution that movie lan- guage is not natural conversation, and thus not an accurate model for language learners. Surprisingly, this issue has not been previously investigated empiri- cally. But in this important book, Forchini does exactly that, using large-scale corpus analysis to compare the linguistic characteristics of movie dialogues with spontaneous face-to-face conversations. Forchini applies a variety of research approaches, including detailed considera- tion of individual lexical phrases and linguistic features, as well as Multi-Dimensional Analysis, and also compares the characteristics of movie comedies and dramas. The results will surprise some readers, indicating that movie dialogues are in many ways very similar to spon- taneous face-to-face conversations with respect to a wide range of linguistic characteristics. In conclusion, Forchini discusses the impli- cations of these findings for ELT professionals looking for ways to help their students acquire natural conversational skills. Douglas Biber Regents’ Professor Northern Arizona University 16
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