Grammar and spelling - a self-test for relevance

Subject: Grammar and spelling - a self-test for relevance
From: "Peter Ring, PRC" <prc -at- PIP -dot- DKNET -dot- DK>
Date: Tue, 8 Oct 1996 10:19:59 +1

I have followed the - sometimes almost "religiously" hateful -
discussion about YES or NO to grammar and other linguistic issues on
the list, and I can easily follow Eric in his worries and standpoint:
that TECHWR-L is on techwriting only and not general English, and
that the list is/could be so crowded with general linguistic issues,
that it is/will be too big and consequently unreadable for busy

But I also understand the people who ...

* asks: what is THEN techwriting related linguistic questions?

* says: the language is our main tool, why may we not discuss it
here? Yes, language (and not just English) is a very important tool
together with a lot of other tools like pedagocy, but please
remember: if the learned are in doubt, then most likely the people
won't bother, unless it significantly affects the ambiguity of the
wording. Most of the language questions discussed so far has been
of English linguist academic interest only, and don't belong
SPECIFICLY to TECHNICAL writing at all!

But we MUST cut the Gordian knot!

A suggestion for a self-test before posting a mail to the TECHWR-L:

* Is the question relevant for TECHNICAL writing ALSO in OTHER
languages than US/GB English? If YES, it is relevant!

* Is the question in a SINGLE language (e.g. English - or French?!)
related to typical/special TECHNICAL writing language, ONLY. If
YES, it is relevant!

(Example: "Press the button" contra "Click the button", or other
"less ambiguic language" questions in TYPICAL TECHNICAL writing

* If it don't fulfil one of the two above criteria, please discuss
it on a more relevant list, e.g. COPYWRITING-L.

Greetings from Denmark

Peter Ring
PRC (Peter Ring Consultants)
- specialists in user friendly manuals and audits on manuals.
prc -at- pip -dot- dknet -dot- dk
- the "User Friendly Manuals" website with links, bibliography,
list of prof. associations, and tips for technical writers.

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