This letter, written by a native English-speaking person from the U.S. The recipient is an English as a foreign language speaker in Argentina. Notice the use of unclear phrases, slang, and culturally-sensitive language, making this document potentially difficult to understand for the recipient. This document highlights the importance of audience analysis (always consider your analysis). The author here does not consider his audience and the linguistic and cultural aspects of the audience.
Unclear date line Informal salutation (creating a nickname for an unfamiliar recipient). The opening is impolite and disrespects the recipient’s status by using colloquial language. Condescending tone “We are so glad we can help you guys out.” Constant use of culturally relative (North American) idioms and abbreviations. Ignores time differences (and assumes the reader uses a 12 hour clock instead of the standard 24 hour clock). Ignores differences between Fahrenheit/Celsius scales. Impolite closing.
The following slides examine some of the phrases and terms we discussed in class.
I wanted to drop you a line = I wanted to contact you/ tell you something. …before the merger hits = before the merger (happens) Good old U.S. of A. = the U.S.A. None of us had a clue that…. = None of us knew… “I don’t have a clue” In doing so touch base… = establish contact Lowdown = information or details
Smartboard T-C …spoke volumes to the tech people - give a lot of information - be interesting*** His fashion speaks volumes about his personality. Who praised the operation to the hilt. = gave much praise to the operation. Department struc prod. Eff quotas AVOID ABBREVIATIONS 5-9-11 = date May 9, 2011 9 May 2011
I would like to give you a ring. = I want to call you. We’ve had a spell of…. Spell = period.
The next slide provides an example of an effectively revised version of the above letter. The revised version is much more likely to build mutual trust and cooperation between the sender and recipient by expressing a clear message and demonstrating courtesy and understanding on the sender’s behalf.
Clear date line Uses appropriate title for reader Complete and accurate address Courteous salutation Clear and diplomatic opening Respectful view of reader’s company Explanation of business procedures in plain, clear English Recognition of reader’s time zone Appropriate, polite close Sender provides his title