The relationship between Spoken and Written language

G’day mate. What’s up? Today, I am going to talk about the relationship between Spoken and Written language. They are somehow intertwined with each other. If you can do in speaking, you should be able to do in writing. Conversely speaking, if you cannot do in writing, you may not be able to do in speaking, either. It might be useful when it comes to the way of learning speaking and writing, in particular. Let’s elaborate what I think.

Understood the 44 sounds of English pronunciation and enunciate them accurately vs Can write words with correct spelling

First up, you should’ve understood the key sounds of English pronunciation and can speak up without necessarily knowing correct spelling, whereas you are probably not good with spelling in writing. This means that you speaking fluently does not necessarily mean you are good at writing. But, of course, even if you are good at spelling, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t speak fluently. This is such a big difference between the two. Therefore, knowing correct spelling is not synonymous with pronouncing words correctly. Conversely, if you are pronouncing words correctly, you should be able to master spelling easily.

Producing English sentences instantaneously vs Having much time and space for formulating English sentences with your hand

As for Spoken language, you are making English sentences using your brain and mouth pretty much immediately. Of course there is an exception such as writing down the sentences you want to say in advance (Presentations, Job Interviews, etc.). Apart from them, you can’t really think too long about things what you want to say.

On the other hand, Written language seems much easier than Spoken language as there’s enough time and space for you to think carefully and write sentences using your memorised grammar rules, vocabularies, knowledge and correct spelling without improvisation.

Can use slangs and fillers vs Having more complex sentence structures and words

In respect of Spoken language, you often say some slangs and fillers such as ‘You know’, ‘I mean’, ‘Well’, ‘Look’, etc. Even if you don’t really know what to say for a second or need to think about something significant, then you usually use these fillers. And, there are so many colloquial expressions and words in Spoken language.

However, as for Written language, strictly speaking, the use of slangs and fillers are not acceptable, depending on circumstances. Instead of using them, more formal sentence structures, complex sentences and abstract words should be used. But, of course, when you are reading newspapers, magazines or blogs, you often see some slangs and even fillers, in which case they are somehow accepted. Nevertheless usually it’s against Written language rules.

Having a tone and phrasing with rhythms vs Having the rules of punctuations and layouts

With respect to Spoken language, you should have a tone and phrasing with rhythms. You wouldn’t necessarily say ‘full stop’, ‘comma’, ‘quotation mark’, something like that. Instead of saying these words, you put an emphasis on your speaking tone and phrasing with rhythms, depending on circumstances. People can understand what you are saying with ease.

In contrast, when it comes to Written language, it is not technically possible to put any tone and phrasing with rhythms in your writing. Instead of this, Written language has the rules of punctuations and layouts to make readers understood properly. These rules can do excellent jobs in the lieu of speech tone and phrasing. For instance, you put a full-stop at the end of your sentence, which means that readers immediately understand that you want to stop the sentence here, not want to continue. Put a direct quotation mark means that readers immediately think you used someone’s idea.

Can correct yourself and change your words anytime vs Can’t edit after publishing

When you are talking with someone, you have opportunities to correct yourself and modify your words anytime. Some cares about sudden changes, but normally no worries about you repeating the same words, changing your expressions during speaking. Therefore, Spoken language has more flexibility.

By the same token, you can possibly modify the words and expressions in Written language. However, if it’s for a publication purpose, then once you’ve published you cannot change anymore. And the responsibility for the words you’ve written is so much higher than Spoken language. Because, Written language virtually remains forever, which means that it’s almost impossible to delete, unlike Spoken language. So, you write more carefully than speak. But of course it doesn’t mean Spoken language incurs less responsibilities. Nevertheless, when you think about general laws or touts, lawyers strictly refer to the written documentation rather than listen to someone’s talks. Talks can deceive quite easily, whereas Written documentation cannot be changed. Thus, Written language seems heavier than Spoken one.

That’s all for today. Thanks for reading!

Have a lovely day!

Published by Masato Kawaguchi

I am an English entrepreneur here in Australia. I've been teaching the PTE exam for the last 2 years or so, now mainly general English online.

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