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 13:41:04 +0000

Geoff Hart basically agreed with the conclusion I presented but not the
reasoning and gave several examples:

Science journals for complex information: I agree but we're down to
what Bruce was saying about levels. Science journals come in two
general flavours - one aimed at the populace at large and these are, I
would argue, fine examples of the TW art making science accessible to
the masses. The other type, is specifically aimed at readers of a
similar knowledge/experience etc as the writer. They DO explain complex
information but you often need something 'extra' to fully understand
them - knowledge of maths/physics etc.

Spatial information: Simple example but the more complex the
information the more we need to provide - 3rd door on the left, green
door, number 7, third left at the supermarket etc. And if you get into
complex spatial informtion like electrons orbiting a nucleus.... :)

With logic and analysis we're again talking levels. Currently the work
I'm doing involves fast Fourier transforms which I doubt anyone but an
engineer in the same field could make total sense out of.

As for emotions feelings.... I think the point being made was that what
you say isn't necessarily what you mean and often supporting evidence is
needed. If someone says 'I love you', the chances are you DON'T take it
at face value but subconsciously link it to how they treat you etc.

Almost nothing stands alone. If you read a good book you're inclined to
look favourably on one by the same author. On this list, there are
posters whose posts you read because of who's posting, not the thread,
because they're usually, informative/funny/ whatever. If you read a
technical manual/book and find that the instructions in a section are
wrong then you immediately treat the rest with caution.

Language is still the primary tool for most of us but we must realise
that it's only one of the tools available. And as to which tool we
use?... as is often the case in TW, it depends :)

As an aside, she had a quote from Terry Pratchett's 'Equal Rites' about
a tribe that always told the truth. This lead to problems dealing wiht
other races and they worked at telling lies until each village had a
Liar whose job it was to deal with outsiders - a position of great
esteem. Other races however thought they migh have adopted a more
suitable title like politician, diplomat, PR office..... :)

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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