Speech vs. Writing: Key Differences and Similarities

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  • Transient
  • Additive or 'rhapsodic'
  • Aggregative
  • Redundant or 'copious'
  • Loosely structured grammatically
  • People-centered
  • Context dependent


  • Permanent
  • Hierarchically ordered within the clause structure
  • Medium for logical reasoning
  • Tends to avoid redundancy
  • Structured grammatically, compact
  • Topic-centered
  • Context-reduced


  • Both depend on their culture
  • Both change in different situations


  • Speech is transient, writing is permanent
  • Speech is loosely grammatically, writing is lexically and grammatically compact

Relationship between Language and Culture in Language Study

  • Native speakers
  • Cross-cultural

Key Linguistic Concepts


A term coined by sociologist Erving Goffman to denote the stance we take up to the others present in the way we manage the production or reception of utterances.


Verbal strategy by which bilingual or bi-dialectal speakers change linguistic code within the same speech event as a sign of cultural solidarity or distance, and as an act of (cultural) identity.

Phatic Communion

To characterize the ready-made chunks of speech like 'Hi, how are you?' that people use more to maintain social contact than to convey information.

Conversational Style

A person's way of talking in the management of conversations.

Native Speaker

A person who is recognized, linguistically and culturally, by members of a discourse community as being one of them.


Process by which language indexes the physical, temporal, and social location of the speaker at the moment of utterance.

Social Deixis

Process by which language indexes not only the physical and temporal location of the speaker at the moment of speaking, but also his/her social status and the status given to the addressee.


To index is to point to the presence of some entity in the immediate situation at hand.


Are words or phrases that point the time, place or situation in which speakers are.

Examples: 'HERE', 'I am with them'

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