[globaloutlookDH-l] Some ideas on list language

James O'Sullivan josullivan.c at gmail.com
Wed May 15 15:42:25 MDT 2013


"I do think there are often disciplinary, national, and perhaps even
regional cultures to how academic debate is carried on" - I couldn't agree
more. A great idea for this initiative.


On Wed, May 15, 2013 at 10:40 PM, Daniel O'Donnell <daniel.odonnell at uleth.ca
> wrote:

>  I won't say I was quite thinking of the Irish, but when I moved back to
> Canada after many years in the States, I had to rein things in a
> little--without even realising I'd got more... well let's call it
> forthright. My wife had a similarly difficult time adjusting the bluntness
> she'd learned in Dutch academia to the Canadian context as well.
>
> Of course it is also easy to stereotype. But I do think there are often
> disciplinary, national, and perhaps even regional cultures to how academic
> debate is carried on.
>
>
> On 13-05-15 03:16 PM, James O'Sullivan wrote:
>
>   Dear all,
>
>  I just want to weigh in here behind Professor O'Donnell, and lend my
> support to the suggested page on etiquette and tips for emailing in an
> international context. This is an issue that I often struggle with, as in
> an Irish context, scholarly debates tend to be pretty forthright. I've
> often been challenged by colleagues, and have challenged colleagues, in a
> fashion that, while to us seems normal, may, to another culture, be
> negatively received. I sometimes find myself wondering if my argument is
> coming across as too strong or forceful, or conversely, too timid. Of
> course, this issue is amplified when different languages come into play.
>
>  Speaking as a postgraduate who is still feeling their way through a
> multicultural discipline, this is something from which I would personally
> benefit, and I'm sure that many other young scholars would feel the same.
>
>  Sincerest thanks,
> James
>
>
> On Wed, May 15, 2013 at 10:07 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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>
>
>
> --
> *James O'Sullivan *
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>
> --
> ---
> Daniel Paul O'Donnell
> Professor of English
> University of Lethbridge
> Lethbridge AB T1K 3M4
> Canada
> +1 403 393-2539
>
>
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-- 
*James O'Sullivan *
@jamescosullivan <http://twitter.com/jamescosullivan>**
Web: josullivan.org

Twitter: http://twitter.com/jamescosullivan<http://twitter.com/#%21/jamescosullivan>
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