Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawsons Spoken Language Speech Analysis

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Jamie Oliver’s style of speech is very different to many of his contemporaries: he uses his distinctive style to present himself as a down to earth, friendly TV chef. Oliver is the only person talking in his transcripts because he is cooking and explaining his actions for the TV show. The fact that he is cooking while talking means that there are numerous pauses and fillers in the transcript, for example “you wanna coat the bottom … of the pan. The pause indicates that he is demonstrating this action on the programme; it is important in his role as a TV chef that he doesn’t just sit and talk through a recipe because viewers want to see the recipes being made and they also want to be entertained and kept interested by Oliver moving around in the kitchen. Other pauses suggest that, although this programme is scripted to a small degree, Oliver is not reading from a script but retains an element of spontaneity to his speech.

The fillers at the start of the transcript, I got a pan, er the right size pan about, sort of seven inches, are indicators of this spontaneity, as is the non-fluent er. Although sometimes a sign of nervousness, in this case I think the fillers which act like pauses help Oliver to appear normal, like his viewers, so they are more likely to attempt his recipes and, of course, buy his books. However constant fillers may disrupt the fluency of the show and may act as a degrading point towards the audience.

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Comparing this to Nigella Lawson, a much Elder audience may find her style of presenting much more useful and understanding as she Lawson is renowned for her flirtatious manner of presenting, although she argues, “It’s not meant to be flirtatious, I don’t have the talent to adopt a different persona. It’s intimate, not flirtatious”. The perceived overt sexuality of her presentation style has led to Lawson’s being called the “queen of food porn”. Many commentators have alluded to Lawson’s attractiveness, and she was once named as one of the world’s most beautiful women.

She has been referred to as “stunningly beautiful, warm, honest, likeable and amazingly normal”, as well as being described as having “flawless skin, perfect white teeth, a voluptuous body, ample height and lots of lush, brown hair”. The media has also noted Lawson’s ability to engage with both male and female viewers; The Guardian wrote, “Men love her because they want to be with her. Women love her because they want to be her”. This relates to her featuring in lots of close ups of her face, chest and overall figure.

Close ups are the majority of Non-Verbal features which occur on Nigella’s shows, very different from Jamie Oliver’s shows where he seems to have a lot of interaction with the audience through his hand gestures and movements to different parts of the kitchen. He does this to empathise his words through his hands. Her style of presentation is not as spontaneous as Jamie’s. It’s as if she’s used a script and rehearsed her lines a fair bit. Her appealing use of occupational language differentiates her from Jamie.

An example of this is,” Put 250 grams of chunky ginger preserves into a bowl and then stir two table spoons of hot English Mustard. ” The words “PUT and STIR” are traditional cooking commands which are always associated with cooking. They are straightforward, uncomplicated and are standard English, which makes it suitable for all types of audiences to understand. This creates a friendly and private atmosphere as if he is speaking to the audience in personal as in one to one. Jamie Oliver’s Estuary accent and his accompanying use of London slang are also distinctive features of his talk.

Words such as chivvy, ram it up and are colloquial and are not words we expect to hear on a cooking programme. We are used to words from the cooking semantic field such as whisk, bake, stir but Oliver’s language use again makes him seem very normal, approachable and relaxed. As well as specifically accented words such as the dropping of the h in orrible, Oliver’s elisions gonna, wanna and kinda demonstrate his relaxed tone. As well as using these to build a successful TV persona, Oliver could be using this informal language because he is concentrating more on the actual cooking and explaining the key details of the recipe

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Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawsons Spoken Language Speech Analysis. (2016, Nov 27). Retrieved from


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