Serving chili

TRANSCRIPT of a family conversation

Setting: A family of four is sitting down to dinner
Participants: P = the mother, J = the father, D = their 20-year-old son, M = their 17-year-old son

D1: Mom, I, give me a rest, give it a rest. I didn’t think about you. I mean, I would rather do it. <unclear> some other instance in my mind.
P1: Yeah, well I can understand you know, I mean <unclear> Hi I’m David’s mother, try to ignore me.
D2: I went with a girl like you once. Let’s serve this damn chili.
M1: Okay, let’s serve the chili. Are you serving or not dad?
J1: Doesn’t matter.
P2: Would you get those chips in there. Michael, could you put them with the crackers.
J2: Here, I’ll come and serve it honey if you want me to.
P3: Oh wait, we still have quite a few.
D3: I don’t see any others.
P4: I know you don’t.
D4: We don’t have any others.
P5: Yes, I got you the big bag I think it will be a help to you.
J3: Here’s mom’s.
M2: Now this isn’t according to grandpa now.
P6: Okay.
M3: The same man who told me it’s okay <unclear>
P7: Are you going to put water in our cups? Whose bowl is that?
M4: Mine.
P8: Mike put all the water in here. Well, here we are.
J4: What.
P9: Will y’all turn off the TV.
J5: Pie, I’ll kill you, I said I’d take you to the bathroom.
P10: Man, get your tail out of the soup – Oh, sorry – Did you hear I saw Sarah’s sister’s baby?
M5: How is it?
P11: She’s cute, pretty really.

Biber, Douglas, Conrad, Susan, and Leech, Geoffrey. Longman Student Grammar of Spoken and Written English. Edinburgh Gate: Pearson Education Limited, 2002. (Print.) (428-429).

From time to time I’ve heard it said that people should “write the way they talk.”

For most of us that would be a very bad idea indeed.

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