Get access

Authenticity and TV Shows: A Multidimensional Analysis Perspective



Television shows, especially soap operas and sitcoms, are usually considered by English as a second language practitioners as a source of authentic spoken conversational materials presumably because they reflect the linguistic features of natural conversation. However, practitioners are faced with the dilemma of how to assess whether such conversational materials reflect the linguistic characteristics of natural ones. Previous classifications were based on practitioners' personal impressions and intuitions. The present study shows that this subjective approach is problematic and instead adopts a corpus-based register analysis tool to investigate the extent to which soap opera, compared to sitcom, reflects the linguistic representation of natural conversation. The tool is the multidimensional analysis developed by Biber (1988). Findings indicate that sitcom captures the linguistic features of natural conversation more than soap opera does. Implications for research, teaching, and teaching materials development are discussed.