Notes taken during lecture

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14 Jan 2011
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LECTURE – November 18, 2010
Want to be precise in diction
Inf lated language gratuitously used can confuse
Thesebig words can be nuances that the smaller alternatives do not have
Think about intended meaning and audience
oSometimes the simpler alternative is better in terms of context and audience
Often cause of convoluted language is stalling – no clue what to say next so …
Grammar issues
oWhat is the subject? What is the verb? What is the object?
oOtherwise, if kept building up the sentence, it becomes confusing and painful
oClauses should be clearer, tightly controlled
oJargon removed
The pre-translation examples are NOT good writing
oBut dependent on the audience
Techniques to avoi d excess
Avoid expletives
Avoid clichés – because this drops the register, makes it less formal
Jargon = in-crowd shorthand
oMay be pretentious BUT
oMay be essential – allow members of a group/discipline to communicate more effectively
oApproaches
Address insiders by appropriate/accurate use
Address outsiders by defining jargon carefully or replace with a equally formal term that
is synonymous
Euphemisms
Pruning redundant expressions
oFor example, tautologies:commenced to startdescended down the stairs”
Circumlocutions
Extraneous opening expressions can be cut – just get to the subject
Nominalizations converted into verbs
Abstract nouns – what cannot be engaged by our senses
Excessive modifiers
Plain Language
Simple, direct, unambiguous speech
No heavy reliance on figurative language
Straightforward delivery of information
Three central values
oClarity
oBrevity
oSincerity
Not simplification – no meaning lost
oJust translating (see earlier examples)
Make POSITIVE statements
***Elements of Style by author of Charlottes Web***
Avoid unnecessary qualifying statements – do not need to qualify EVERYTHING
oI.e. may, can,
oUse only in case when there is a potential rebuttal otherwise it makes you sound tentative and
uncert ain
Avoid noun strings
Functional shift – when one word is used as another part of speech (N performing as V)
oBe aware of this
oBetter to use the or iginal part of speech than the new coinage – check dictionary!!!!
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Document Summary

These big words can be nuances that the smaller alternatives do not have. Sometimes the simpler alternative is better in terms of context and audience. often cause of convoluted language is stalling no clue what to say next so . What is the object: otherwise, if kept building up the sentence, it becomes confusing and painful, clauses should be clearer, tightly controlled o. The pre-translation examples are not good writing: but dependent on the audience. avoid clich s because this drops the register, makes it less formal. Jargon = in-crowd shorthand: may be pretentious but , may be essential allow members of a group/discipline to communicate more effectively, approaches. address outsiders by defining jargon carefully or replace with a equally formal term that is synonymous. Pruning redundant expressions: for example, tautologies: commenced to start descended down the stairs . Extraneous opening expressions can be cut just get to the subject.

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