Transcript. (at the threshold of the room) oh I didn t see this room before

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1 Transcript Collected on 29 th April 2010, Liverpool. The speakers are all female and aged 50+. Guide 2: (at the threshold of the room) oh I didn t see this room before well you probably walked straight past it people do no I ve only just opened it that s why it wasn t open before (to visitor 1) we have to close this room if there are not enough guides (visitor 1 looks around) you re meant to look at the wallpaper (.) the wallpaper is the thing to notice in here (.) see that bit over there (.) well it was all like that (.) two students we had here on work placement they cleaned it I saw them do it(.) they did it with two India rubbers it was a labour of love it took them weeks it s William Morris isn t it (.) it s amazing yes and it s original did they leave that bit to show what it was like that s right, and that bit s damaged (.) the owner used to smoke and that s what discoloured it but that bit s dirty from the fire as well lovely tiles though the owner was friends with William Morris (.) it s not like the paper in the blue drawing room that s only a copy (.) you can buy it you know yes I know I have it in my hall at home do you (.) I ve got some in my house I was dead lucky well unlucky really cos we had a flood but they said we could have paper of the same quality as what we had up already (.) it was Laura Ashley but we got it in a sale (.) discontinued (.) then they d stopped doing it so we got William Morris instead (.) it was in similar colours but I love it even more Oh (flicking through a book of designs) I love that pattern it s Daisy isn t it (overlapping) Daisy Page 1 of 5

2 I had a woman in here she was telling me there shouldn t be any wallpaper in this house because it s a Tudor house and they didn t have wallpaper then but that s one of the things I love about this house (.) it s like a home and you can see erm all the different times reflected in it (.) cos people make improvements and redecorate and that don t they that s right (.) but this woman was going mad about it what a purist (Two more visitors come into the room.) (To guide 1) you re in the wrong clothes to sit in that chair what I said you re not in costume. I m a guide (.) that s why I am sitting here oh I didn t realise (.) I thought you were just tired and having a rest (Guide 1 gets her pass out from under her coat) there s my pass (5) look at the wallpaper (.) it was all dirty (.) cleaned by two students on work placement (.) I watched them do it (.) you can look at all the things on this table (.) over there there s a book that was signed by the all the estate workers and given to (name) when she came of age (.) you can t look at the book but you can look at a copy of it in the file next to it (.) The two visitors look through the book. Visitor 1 looks on. thank you (leaves the room) Page 2 of 5

3 Discussion points for group work How does the room guide show that she is an expert? At what point in the conversation do you think the guide and the visitor go beyond their conversational roles? How do the guide and visitor 1 show that they agree about the house? How does the guide regain her standing after visitor 2 fails to recognise her role? How does the guide s conversation differ between the first visitor and the others? Why might this be? Are there any points in the transcript where politeness principles are not followed? What shared values are expressed in the conversation? To what extent do you think the guide adds to the pleasure of the visitors? How typical is this conversation of ones you have experienced in historic houses or other tourist attractions you have visited? What do you notice about the language used by guides and visitors? How do they differ? Visit an historic house or tourist attraction and listen in on some conversations. Independent investigation Using the notes made as a result of the group work, write your own commentary on this transcript, making close reference to it. Then read the commentary provided and evaluate your own in the light of it Page 3 of 5

4 Commentary The context of this conversation is a visit to a Tudor house. The talk is between a visitor and a guide. It is interesting that the guide and the visitor seem to bond quickly, perhaps because the interruption from another guide who is passing was slightly inappropriate as the visitor was not speaking to them but more to herself. The guide within the room defends the visitor from the implied criticism by the other guide, by validating the reason for the visitor missing the room previously. The visitor is alone with the guide, and perhaps this also encourages the conversation to open up, as neither of them has anyone else to talk to. The guide responds to the visitor looking round with a gentle prompt about the wallpaper. The guide reveals her attitude of admiration towards the two students who cleaned the wallpaper as she uses expressions like labour of love and it took them weeks which shows their patience and carefulness. It is clearly a fond memory for her as she will have their company while they were there. The guide fulfils her role by giving information about the owners of the house and how the wallpaper came to be so dirty. This shows that she is well informed and in a position of authority, also that she is an expert in that room s history. The conversation develops when the speakers discover a shared interest in the wallpapers of William Morris. The topic shifts to a personal recollection by the visitor, encouraged by the admission that the guide has the wallpaper in her house. This part of the transcript shows that the visitor is becoming more relaxed and is enjoying talking, as she dominates the turns for a moment, whereas it would be expected that the guide would dominate. The overlap of the identification of the Daisy pattern shows shared interest and knowledge. The next topic shift leads to the guide recounting another memory, a more unpleasant one which involved an encounter with a hostile visitor who criticised the house. The visitor sympathises with the word purist which perhaps reveals that this speaker is highly educated. The visitor s hesitation erm is perhaps because she was struggling to sum up a sufficiently strong way to express her disgust at the hostile visitor. The lexical choices of love and home illustrate her strong feelings Page 4 of 5

5 At this point the conversation, which was flourishing, is interrupted by two more visitors who are friends. One of them makes a slightly inappropriate comment as she has not realised that the woman in the chair is in fact a guide. She attempts to make a joke, but it falls flat because she has addressed the guide as though she is another visitor, without giving any deference to her role and expertise. This error makes an uncomfortable moment, especially as the visitor does not read the clues and repeats her joke a second time using different words. She further asserts her role by returning to the function of guide very emphatically by launching into a list of facts and instructions identical to the ones she gave the first visitor. She has returned to her professional role and the conversation with the first speaker is over. However, although the information given is the same, it is in a far less friendly tone, with more imperative verbs. This could be because she is slightly annoyed with the recent visitors because of the gaffe made, or that she is determined to demonstrate the fact that she is a guide. She could also be hiding her embarrassment of not being given her correct status. There are two new visitors so she is less likely to engage them in conversation. She dominates the turns, giving them no further chance to talk to her unless they ask a question about the room Page 5 of 5