language and communication

Subject: language and communication
From: Damien Braniff <dbraniff -at- iss-dsp -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 24 Nov 2000 10:22:59 +0000

Doing some tidying up recently I came across some information from a
conference I went to a
couple of years ago and thought I'd share it with the list as it's
fairly quiet at the moment. The
general gist was that much of what we do is mediated through language
and that we often expect
too much (or too little) from what is said or written.

Language is BAD at:

conveying complex information
spatial information
logic and cold analysis (we invented maths and other 'languages'
for that)
conveying emotions, senses and feelings

Language is GOOD at:

Gossip, grooming and reputation setting
Showing off
Second (3rd, 4th etc) guessing
Deception and delusion
Marking identity thro' dialect

This led on to the fact that we need to be good communicators, not just
good writers and that
language should simply be one of the tools we use to get across our
message. So after the
various discussions re Word vs Frame etc, perhaps we need to look at how
we can 'supplement'
the written word - do we make enough use of graphics etc.


Damien Braniff
Technical Author
Integrated Silicon Systems Ltd. Tel: +44 28 90 50 4000
50 Malone Road Fax: +44 28 90 50
Belfast BT9 5BS Web:

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