ERIC Number: ED512734
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Apr-8
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 15
A Critical Look at the Discourse of Popular Television: The Case of "Friends"
Mora, Raul A.
Online Submission, Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (San Francisco, CA, Apr 8, 2006)
The following study explored the structures and themes found in a few episodes of a popular TV sitcom ("Friends"). Drawing on James Gee's ideas about critical discourse analysis as the main analytical lens for this study, this study discussed the language found in a sitcom and analyzed the complexity of structures and vocabulary in the conversational turns in the episodes, while presenting implications of TV show selection for classroom purposes and the potential of this kind of discourse analysis. Findings indicated that most of the conversation ranged between simple present and past tenses. Many of the sentences analyzed are really short, preventing students from seeing how real-life discourse actually operates. Regarding the themes of "Friends," there were two salient elements: (a) the lack of references to popular culture and the lack of information to create a situated identity as far as where the characters are in time and space and (b) the lack of congruence between the social situations presented in the show and the actual language people would use in said situations. In terms of proficiency level, "Friends" is a show that would lend itself suitable to students with an intermediate level. More advanced students might benefit from a kind of media that portrays more elaborate discourse and a more varied use of tenses. Nonetheless, using a more critical lens, such as Media Literacy, teachers might be able to utilize some of the themes in "Friends" to elicit rich cultural discussions stemming from the issues laid out here. (Contains 1 footnote.)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A