[globaloutlookDH-l] Some ideas on list language

Bordalejo, Barbara bab995 at mail.usask.ca
Thu May 16 08:05:27 MDT 2013


Thank you, Dan, for pointing this out. You are completely right that we also have to make allowances from the receiving side. I know that I have a short fuse when it comes to something *I perceive* as being patronizing or in any way demeaning. I should work on this.

Cheers,

BB
On 15 May 2013, at 17:55, Daniel O'Donnell wrote:

Actually, it might also be worthwhile thinking of these from the reception side as well, since each point has a flipside, e.g.:

1) Things that seem uber-aggressive to you, might not be meant that way. It could also be a cultural difference (I don't think that lets us off remembering to be careful a la point 1 below, but it is worth remembering).

2) Be prepared to tolerate honest ignorance: I know I've committed a number of faux pas because I haven't known any better and, as a result, I've taken to asking people (e.g. about correct forms of address, and the like). I'm grateful to the people who have helped me out!

I think the greater burden is always on the speaker than the listener when it comes to these kinds of things, but it might do no harm to think about how to be a successful listener as well.


On 13-05-15 03:10 PM, Alex Gil wrote:
I support all of these points. Well put Dan. I think we should also include some of this language into our by-laws under a 'communications' rubric.

Best,
A.


On Wed, May 15, 2013 at 5:07 PM, Daniel O'Donnell <daniel.odonnell at uleth.ca<mailto: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<tel:%2B1%20403%20393-2539>


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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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