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: Mon, 27 Nov 2000 13:34:12 +0000

Dan Emory said that 'catering to the post-literate world only guarantees
it will arrive'. Unfortunately, I fell that it may already be here!

Education is changing (not always for the better I feel); there's more
to learn and sometimes what I'd call the basics suffer but, hopefully,
it's only a pendulum effect and it'll swing back again.There was a
survey carried out by one of the newspapers here recently and a series
of articles (Dumb and Dumber) which basically compared what young people
knew vs those a bit older with some startling differences highlighted.
Very simplistically, the younger generation were very up on modern
culture (pop, celebrities etc) but were relatively ignorant of 'classic'
literature, history (even relatively modern history) etc with the
implication that it was irrelevant to them.

We do live in the 'soundbite age' where the snippet seems to be more
important than the issues behind them. I've read of several cases (in
the last couple of years) where films were either not made because it
was thought they were too 'arty/intellectual' for the audience or they
were severely edited because 'nobody was going to watch a 3 hr long

Unfortunately 'dumbing down' is happening to a greater or smaller degree
and we have to recognise that fact - basic audience analysis. Having
done that analysis it's up to us to decide on the best method of
delivering the information the audience needs be it a wonderfully
written manual, a comic or anything in between.

Damien Braniff
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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