Re: The Source of Bad Writing - WSJ

Subject: Re: The Source of Bad Writing - WSJ
From: Debra Kahn <kahndebra -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Sun, 28 Sep 2014 17:31:02 -0600

I, too, read the WSJ article as well as the WSJ review of Pinker's book (along side that of grammarian Neville Martin Gwynne) and the Q&A with Pinker in today's NYT's book review.

See the WSJ book review here: http://online.wsj.com/articles/book-review-gwynnes-grammar-by-n-m-gwynne-the-sense-of-style-by-steven-pinker-1411765107.

See the NYT's Q&A here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/28/books/review/steven-pinker-by-the-book.html?_r=0.

Pinker appears to be an interesting fellow, who likes to stir things up. Without having read any of Pinker's books (and so relying on this current crop of articles) two things strike me about this psycholinguist: He hasn't read many of the classics of modern (post 18th century) literature. And he considers tech writers to be plaid-wearing babblers, which means that he seems also to have missed the increasing influence that usability testing and user experience (UX) awareness has had on the profession over the past two decades.

I might lack context here, but, then, in some ways so does he. And isn't plaid "in" again this year?

Sunday thoughts...
Deb K

**

*Debra Kahn**, MA, PMP, CA-AM*
debra -at- dk-consulting -dot- co /or /kahndebra -at- gmail -dot- com
Business: 970-541-0888
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Twitter: @dkconsultco

On 9/28/2014 3:40 AM, Joe Pairman wrote:

Thanks for the link, Mike! Great piece that sums up in a page the essence
of good technical communication.

Pinker's trendy for a reason; he really does know what he's talking about.
"The Language Instinct" should be mandatory reading for every writer, and
everyone who's thinking of criticizing the writing of others. It looks as
if his new book will be well worth reading too:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Sense-Style-Thinking-Person%C2%92s/dp/0670025852

Joe Pairman
Senior Consultant
*Mekon <http://www.mekon.com/>*

On Sun, Sep 28, 2014 at 8:01 AM, Mike Starr <mike -at- writestarr -dot- com> wrote:

Trendy Harvard professor Steven Pinker on bad writing... a lot of
interesting comments as well as a lot of opportunities to be an evangelist
for technical writing (I just wasn't up to it at 2AM).
http://online.wsj.com/articles/the-cause-of-bad-writing-1411660188?tesla=y

Best Regards,

Mike
--
Mike Starr, Writer
Technical Writer - Online Help Developer - WordPress Websites
Graphic Designer - Desktop Publisher - Custom Microsoft Word templates
(262) 694-1028 - mike -at- writestarr -dot- com - http://www.writestarr.com
President - Working Writers of Wisconsin http://www.workingwriters.org/


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References:
The Source of Bad Writing - WSJ: From: Mike Starr
Re: The Source of Bad Writing - WSJ: From: Joe Pairman

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