[globaloutlookDH-l] Some ideas on list language

David Golumbia dgolumbia at gmail.com
Wed May 15 15:21:45 MDT 2013

Hear, hear. Thank you, Dan.


On Wed, May 15, 2013 at 5:07 PM, Daniel O'Donnell
<daniel.odonnell at uleth.ca>wrote:

> Hi all,
> I had somebody ask me the other day about whether there should be any
> special advice for posting to a list like this--"like this" in the sense of
> explicitly multicultural, very conscious of multilingual issues, and so on.
> We've obviously been discussing aspects of language use in a variety of
> contexts on the list, but I don't think we've had a metadiscussion about
> how we should post to this list--things to keep in mind, to be careful of,
> and so on.
> Here's some of the things I suggested. What do others think?
> 1) Be really careful about humour, especially humour that could be misread
> as being dismissive, insulting, or mockery. One reason for this is because,
> as is well known, email doesn't convey tone well at all. But in the case of
> this specific list, we are also dealing with a variety of different
> academic cultures--what comes across as normal bantering in a more
> free-rolling academic culture may appear to be extremely aggressive in
> another.
> 2) Be careful about allusions to pop culture, and national history and
> politics. Many people may not get them. But more importantly, allusions and
> inside jokes shared among a small group of people can quickly create a
> sense of exclusion among those who don't know the references being made.
> 3) Since this is an academic list, we will find ourselves disagreeing with
> each other, attempting to correct or improve each other's ideas, and so on.
> In keeping with (1), be careful about how you phrase these disagreements:
> again, what may seem like relatively light criticism in one academic
> culture may seem crushing in another; and especially if there are language
> issues involved, it can be difficult to clear things up. This doesn't mean
> that we can't criticise each other's ideas, but rather that we should
> always try to phrase this disagreement as constructively and supportively
> as possible.
> 4) Generally, try to write in short sentences and using common words (this
> is true, BTW, of all languages on the list): you are being read by people
> who are not as strong in your language as you are.
> 5) Always try to provide context for people: use more links to external
> sites than you might normally (e.g. to explain ideas and give examples.
> If people think this is good and especially have additional ideas, we
> could perhaps publish a page on etiquette and tips for emailing in an
> international context?
> -dan
> --
> ---
> Daniel Paul O'Donnell
> Professor of English
> University of Lethbridge
> Lethbridge AB T1K 3M4
> Canada
> +1 403 393-2539
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David Golumbia
dgolumbia at gmail.com
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