A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


13 found.

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An Academic Strikes Back: Transgressing the Genre of Bureaucracy

The rhetorical event described in this article shows that the rhetor can introduce an alien genre into a community of practice and createa kairotic moment.

Tachino, Tosh. Newsletter of the CASLL (2003). Articles>Language>Rhetoric


Confronting Doublespeak   (PDF)

The Doublethink and Newspeak of Orwell's 1984 have counterparts in the Doublespeak that can be identified in many contemporary public documents. As technical editors, we may be confronted with documents that use Doublespeak to misdirect or deceive the reader. What is our role in dealing with such documents?

Bowermaster, Philip. STC Proceedings (1993). Articles>Language>Rhetoric


Could You Mind Your Language? An Investigation of Communicators' Ability to Inhibit Linguistic Bias   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Three experiments that examine communicators' ability to inhibit linguistic bias are reported. Research has shown that communicators use more abstract language (e.g., "Jamie is affectionate" vs. "Jamie kisses Rose") to describe more expected behavior. Recent research has shown that this bias may be overwhelmed by goals to put a "spin" on actions or to manipulate audiences' impressions of actors. Similarly, the present experiments show that people who wish to communicate without bias may often be able to do so. Inhibition occurred when participants selected descriptions from a list of alternatives and when they freely described both expected and unexpected behaviors. However, inhibition failed when participants were asked to freely describe either expected or unexpected behaviors alone.

Douglas, Karen M., Robbie M. Sutton and Katie Wilkin. Journal of Language and Social Psychology (2008). Articles>Language>Professionalism>Rhetoric


The Effects of Culture-Specific Rhetorical Conventions on the L2 Reading Recall of Chinese Students   (PDF)   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This study explores whether culture-specific rhetorical conventions affect the reading recall of Chinese EFL college students at two grade levels. Four English passages verified as texts that used Chinese rhetorical conventions were modified into four counterpart versions reflecting English rhetorical conventions. One hundred twenty Taiwanese Freshmen and 120 Seniors read two of the four topics, one in each rhetorical convention. After each reading, students completed a Text-Perception Questionnaire, and performed an immediate recall. One week later, participants wrote delayed recalls and completed a Topic-Assessment Questionnaire. Although students failed to perceive rhetorical differences, different rhetorical convention had a significant overall effect on Chinese students' reading comprehension in both immediate and delayed recall. Moreover, post hoc comparisons revealed that two topics among the four reflected in the eight texts showed more impact from rhetorical convention than did the others. Analysis of questionnaire data suggested that factors such as topic interest and topic familiarity moderated the effect of rhetorical convention. The study concludes with suggestions for future research and classroom implications.

Hsi-Chin, Janet Chu, Janet Swaffar and Davida Charney. TESOL Quarterly (2002). Articles>Rhetoric>Usability>Language


Ethical Implications of Intercultural Audiences

Argues that it is crucial that technical writing courses raise the awareness of the implications of intercultural communication, and specifically, how to include the translator as the target audience.

Heitzman, Lisa. Orange Journal, The (2005). Articles>Language>Ethics>Rhetoric


Lenguaje Visual

El lenguaje escrito no es más que un caso particular del lenguaje visual. En realidad hay muchos lenguajes visuales que parecen tener reglas en común. Pensar en el lenguaje visual nos puede ayudar a transmitir nuestros mensajes de forma más efectiva.

Dursteler, Juan Carlos. InfoVis (2003). (Spanish) Articles>Language>Visual Rhetoric>Technical Illustration



Links to resources about the Minimalist Model applied to documentation and training.

Ryder, Martin. University of Colorado at Denver (1995). Articles>Language>Rhetoric>Minimalism


The Most Annoying, Overused Words in the Workplace   (members only)

"Leverage," "interface," and "circle back" are among the most annoying and overused terms in work settings today, according to a new survey of executives.

Musbach, Tom. Yahoo (2009). Articles>Language>Workplace>Rhetoric


Systemic Functional-Multimodal Discourse Analysis (SF-MDA): Constructing Ideational Meaning Using Language and Visual Imagery   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The systemic functional (SF) approach to multimodal discourse analysis (MDA) is concerned with the theory and practice of analysing meaning arising from the use of multiple semiotic resources in discourses which range from written, printed and electronic texts to material lived-in reality. The SF-MDA approach developed in this article explores the meaning arising through the use of language and visual imagery in printed texts. This involves investigation of linguistic and visual forms of semiosis, and formulation of cross-functional systems such as colour. An integrative platform based on the SF metafunctional principle is proposed, and intersemiotic mechanisms and systems (content and expression strata) are developed to capture the expansion of meaning which occurs when linguistic and visual forms combine. The SF-MDA approach is demonstrated through the analysis of ideational meaning in a print advertisement. The practical approach involves the use of digital technology in the form of image-editing software which gives rise to a more detailed semantic and ideological interpretation. The analysis reveals how metaphorical constructions of meaning (i.e. semiotic metaphors) take place across linguistic and visual elements.

O'Halloran, Kay L. Visual Communication (2008). Articles>Language>Visual Rhetoric


Text Models in the USA and The Netherlands   (PDF)

Text models are handy tools for planning or recognizing the global structure of a text. In this paper we compare a few modern communication handbooks in the USA and The Netherlands as to their treatment of text models. The Dutch “vaste structure” may contribute to the tool kit of American technical writers. After that we present a short discussion of the characteristics of ideal text models and their ideal users. The first text model in history, the classical 'partes orationis,' and the first text models for Environmental Impact Statements from the 1970’s prove to possess a series of deficiencies. We conclude our paper with a proposed procedure for pretesting new text models for new documents.

Bulter, Willem J. STC Proceedings (1996). Articles>Language>Theory>Rhetoric


Toward a Critical Perspective of Culture: Contrast or Compare Rhetorics   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Kaplan's framework of contrastive rhetoric has been widely accepted in the field of cross-cultural technical communication. However, in the last four decades, contextual factors such as economic globalization trend and the advances of communication technologies are changing our ways of interacting with others. As a result our understanding of culture and cultural differences need to be adjusted. In this research, I start by recommending a workable definition of culture in the present context—culture as a process, which establishes a foundation for cross-cultural rhetorical research in the new era when communication across cultures transcends national boundaries. Based on the critical perspective of culture, I continue to point out the limitations of contrastive rhetoric and argue that contrastive rhetoric's view of culture and its research purpose and methodology need to be modified to overcome its constraints and better meet the needs of the present social context.

Wang, Junhua. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication (2008). Articles>Language>Rhetoric>Cultural Theory


Visual Communication: Crossing International Boundaries   (PDF)

Technical communicators often produce documents that are then translated into another language. Much has been written about creating a text that is “translatable” by eliminating analogies and metaphors; using short, clear sentences; organizing information according to the cultural preference for order; and eliminating jargon. whenever possible. Because technical communicators often provide both text and graphics, such attention to the translatability of graphics is essential to producing documents that fit the cultural conventions of the country in which the document is to be used.

Bosley, Deborah S. STC Proceedings (1996). Articles>Language>Localization>Visual Rhetoric


Язык как Форма Жизни

Поворот от сознания к языку обычно расценивают как исток неклассической философии. Он состоит в понимание языка не как нейтрального средства выражения мысли, а как продуктивного медиума, определяющего онтологию бытия и сознания. Однако постановка и решение центральной проблемы значения еще долгое время опирались на классическое понимание истины как соответствия высказывания и реальности. Язык считался средством выражения мыслей и чувств и обозначения предметов. Парадокс состоял в том, что теория значения в семантике выдвигалась для преодоления затруднений классической теории истины и вместе с тем опиралась на нее при анализе и проверке значения. Принцип лингвистической относительности устраняет данный парадокс. Согласно Сепиру и Уорфу, каждый национальный язык содержит свою собственную онтологию. Признание этого тезиса означало, что ни в мысли, ни в действительности не существует чего-то такого, что обусловливает единство языков и дает возможность их понимания и перевода на основе универсальной логической или онтологической структуры. Язык не принимает каких-либо внешних ориентиров, и только в его рамках определяется, что такое "истина", "мир" и "значение". Соответственно, помимо языка не существует независимых масштабов оценки моральности, красоты, блага, рациональности и т.п. Но такая радикальная программа кажется заведомо бесперспективной, ибо обрекает на солипсизм и релятивизм. Если все "языковые миры" признаются изолированными, несоизмеримыми и равноправными, то непонятно, как возможно общение между представителями различными языковых систем. Ведь в современном мультикультурном мире взаимодействуют различные дискурсы и системы взглядов. В связи с этим возникает вопрос о том, что или кто, если не разум, является медиумом, обеспечивающим взаимопонимание и перевод разных языков.

Markov, B.V. Argumentation (2000). Articles>Language>Rhetoric

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