Speaking is a varied and complex phenomenon which covers such categories as function ( a means of communication), type (one of the kinds of man’s activity) and result or product of such activity which leads to an utterance.
Thus, speaking is not only a means of activity, it is also a means of communication. It helps children to learn about social and historic experience of mankind, because they exchange skills, habits, results of activity embodied in material, spiritual and cultural values.
Some methodologists speak about two groups of functions: 1) social – planning and co-ordination of collective activity, management and social control; interaction; 2) phatic – function of contact.
Others speak about three classes of functions:
1) informative-communicative (information is conveyed and received);
2) regulative-communicative (which regulates people’s behaviour);
3) affective-communicative (which determines emotional spheres of human endeavour).
Some western methodologists differentiate between 1) transactional (concerned with transmitting information) and 2) interactional (connected with the establishment and maintenance of human relationships [cf. 77].
Still others differentiate between cognitive, emotional, and educative functions (Kovalev A.V.)
But all researchers agree that all functions intertwine in real communication. It is an interactive process. This influence can be overt, latent, direct, positive or negative. Its impact depends on the spiritual wealth of an individual; its accomplishments, fascination, therefore a teacher must be a personality. Social function imposes certain constraints. Communication, as we have mentioned, is stipulated by informative, regulative and affective types of functions: it is circumscribed both in content and form. Different individuals under different conditions will act differently. Such type of activity is called formal.
There is also informal communication, people are apt to informal contacts. Communicability, good-naturedness, openness and cordiality are just a few prerequisites of communication.
Ancillary types of activity
These are known to include: 1) reading aloud; 2) recording; 3) translation.
Besides verbal means of communication manifested in spoken and written forms there exist non-verbal ones: 1) paralinguistic – intonation, pausing, breathing, diction,, loudness, rhythm, tone, melody; 2) extralinguistic- a knock at the door, laughter, cry, noises 3) kinaesthetic – gestures, mime, eyes contact; 4) proxemic – pauses, body movements, distance, i.e. spatial and ral organization of communication.
Forms of Communication
Communication is usually realized in two forms: oral and written. Each of them has its own characteristics:
1. Oral form is characterized by: a) rich intonation patterns; b) various paralinguistic means; c) a certain tempo (otherwise a temporal connection with a situation will be lost); d) a high degree of automacy because tempo is based on it; e) contactivity with a collocutor; f) a specific set of speech patterns and structures: division is the norm here; and g) a temporal linear character.
2. Written form is characterized by: a) a specific set of speech patterns peculiar to a written form; b) a greater structural complexity; c) a thorough planning and selection of vocabulary; interior monologue; d) amplitude and elaborateness; there is no feedback with a collocutor; e) different prosodic means, parting; word order.
Speaking as activity
Speaking is an active process. It is in speaking that we show our relation to the surrounding reality. We react to what we are listening to, we scrutinize it, assess it and plan our comments.
The basis of communicative motivation is of two types: a) the necessity to communicate, which is intrinsic to man as a social being; b) the necessity to do a certain speech act, the necessity to but in.
2. Purposefulness – every speech act is purposeful. The speaker always pursues some aim: to convince somebody to cause compassion, to infuriate, coax, support, etc.
3. Relation to reality: a) speaking is related to spheres of man’s activity; b) it is always stimulated. If people are placed in similar conditions, it is easier for them to understand each other.
4. Relation to communicative function of thinking.
5. Speaking and personality aspect. A person, as a social being, establishes objective-subjective relations with other people.
6. Situational speech.
Situational speech as activity is referential to speech acts, as their basic components of this speaking process.
7. Phatic function of communication (the conversation is either kept going (sustained), or it is poised in the air).
8. Heurism – unpredictability of speech acts – is viewed here asof communicative tasks; subject matter; collocutor; content and language means. Heurism is an effective anti-conning device.
5. Speaking is independent.
6. Speaking has a certain tempo.
Близнюк М.І. Курс лекцій з методики викладання англійської мови. – Чернівці: ЧДУ, 1999 – с.