RE: A prescriptive language?

Subject: RE: A prescriptive language?
From: "Neumann, Eileen" <ENeuman -at- franklintempleton -dot- ca>
To: "Rob Tovey" <robtovey -at- hotmail -dot- co -dot- uk>, <TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- TECHWR-L -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2005 14:42:47 -0500

Hi Rob,
I'm not an academic, though I remember some of these terms from student days. I'll offer a few comments anyway.

"Does communication design use a restricted language? In terms of semiotics,
does this type of design use a very particular paradigm that can be
prescriptive?"

Technical writers usually try to use the same word to refer to the same thing over and over. We don't look to variety as a good thing the way a creative writer might. The goal is ease of comprehension and precision, as opposed to an aesthetic goal.

"Should communication design forget a universal, global approach and instead
target niche groups, using niche language?"

Both, I think. Or, sometimes one, sometimes the other. Or, it all depends. There are no definitive shoulds.

Technical writers are ultra conscious of the audience we're writing for, and we carefully target our approach to a particular audience. As opposed again to creative writers, who might have an overriding goal of self-expression, and leave looking for an audience to their publishers. Before we start writing, we do (or at least we should do) an audience analysis to determine audience needs. Sometimes, our audience may be global, however. Or it may be limited to one team of our company.

In general, we're pragmatists, reacting to facts and adopting theory to fit.

Hey, I think I'm back in university!

Cheers,
Eileen

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+eneuman=franklintempleton -dot- ca -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+eneuman=franklintempleton -dot- ca -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of Rob Tovey
Sent: Wednesday, November 16, 2005 11:31 AM
To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- TECHWR-L -dot- COM
Subject: A prescriptive language?

Does communication design use a restricted language? In terms of semiotics,
does this type of design use a very particular paradigm that can be
prescriptive?

Is there a Modernist mindset that's defined by an idea of the "best" way to
communicate?

Should communication design forget a universal, global approach and instead
target niche groups, using niche language?

If you look at certain leading KD furniture manufacturers, although their
consumers are different, the instructions are of an identical format.

I realise this reads like a manifesto but I really would like to know what
people think. I hope this presents the opportunity to have an open debate on
the subject.

Thanks


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