A View from the Bridge

Throughout Educating Essex, there are many examples where speakers in the programme adapt the way they use language to suit the situation or conversation.
In one scene we find Mr Drew and Charlotte having a conversation in the hallway. This scene follows a prior interview with Mr Drew conducted by the Narrator concerning Charlotte. In the conversation between Mr Drew and Charlotte, Mr Drew states to Charlotte he does not wish to experience her unpleasantness. This opening line establishes the purpose of the conversation because as viewers we see Charlotte being “unpleasant” and we understand Mr Drew wishes not to experience it. One could say the purpose of this conversation would be Mr Drew wanted to highlight to Charlotte her boundaries thus he does not want a repeat of the situation.
Following the opening line, there is a rally of words between the two people. By Mr Drew asking “am I amused?” we see this question is an attempt from Mr Drew to instigate and engage Charlotte in some sort of relational communication and by asking this question he allows for turn taking to take place. One could say this question could be seen as a hedge Mr Drew uses to create an opportunity to build rapport as he just used the imperative “do not make me experience it” and it could cause charlotte to diverge and cause an awkward atmosphere between them. The hedge “am I amused” was a clever way to engage Charlotte in a conversation as we see Mr Drew called Charlotte “unpleasant” and she replied with the one word answer “alright”. This caused Mr Drew to detect Charlotte’s divergence thus he replied with an open question.
Mr Drew’s choice of using a hedge could be seen as transactional conversation as well because he wanted Charlotte to converge so that they can build rapport. As a viewer, this sequence of spontaneous spoken language, to me, highlights Mr Drew’s indirect ability to manipulate what he says to get the response he desires. Viewers may not at first notice this as many are...