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Speaking the Same Language Heather Lazrus, Jenifer Martin, Julie Demuth Summer WAS*IS, July 13, 2007.

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Presentation on theme: "Speaking the Same Language Heather Lazrus, Jenifer Martin, Julie Demuth Summer WAS*IS, July 13, 2007."— Presentation transcript:

1 Speaking the Same Language Heather Lazrus, Jenifer Martin, Julie Demuth Summer WAS*IS, July 13, 2007

2 If only he had WAS*IS…

3 We come from different places (geographically, academically, experientially, …) Why address this issue We use different languages!

4 Perhaps more important… Is not what we know we don’t know, but what we don’t know we don’t know And/or what we don’t make an effort to realize And/or what we don’t bother to fully address even if we do realize Even if we use the same language, the words may have different meanings!

5 Wisdom from your fellow WAS*ISer… Karen Pennesi, Linguistic anthropologist extraordinaire! Distinctions salient to one group may be meaningless to another. It is not enough to clearly define scientific terms, it is also important to find out what they mean to other people.

6 Definitions “Unwitting use of different definitions can lead to controversy and confusion…” “[T]he choice of definition is political/ethical decision that can significantly affect a society’s allocation of resources”(Fischoff et al p1110) For example, risk: = probability of death = expected loss of life expectancy = expected probability of premature fatality (ie number of years lost) = total number of deaths/deaths per person/deaths per hour of exposure/loss of ability to work… Also = Continuity of culture? livelihood? Etc…

7 Proceed with caution… As Pennesi notes in her paper, “…there is no simple formula for effective forecast communication.” Cultural context Multiple definitions Validity of non-scientific concepts Education vs translation Explain limitations

8 Some helpful suggestions… Assumptions – I don’t know what you know and/or what you think Clarity – Wise use of jargon! Culture – We’re not all from the same place geographically, academically, experientially, we’re all members of multiple interpretive communities… Language is understood in the context of its usage!!

9 More suggestions Bravery – There are no stupid questions/comments, so tell me if you don’t understand/agree Patience – There are no stupid questions/comments, so let’s talk about it if you don’t understand/agree You’ll learn more!

10 #1 Suggestion -- Be aware! If you’re talking to me and I’m looking at you like this… …it could be that I don’t understand what you mean or that I don’t agree.

11 Breakout groups Group 1: Walker A., Mark H., Chad O., Andrea S. Group 2: Andrea B., Heather L., Ivan R., Dan S. Group 3: Laura C., Redina H., Rebecca J., Craig S. Group 4: Heather C., Lauren H., Chris M., Sam N.

12 Breakout groups Group 5: Todd C., Barry G., Julie M., Mike S. Group 6: Jeff C., Katrina F., Jennifer M., Kathleen S. Group 7: Frank D., Eleonora D., David N., Wendy P., Russ S.

13 What do these mean to you? Layperson Experts Users Stakeholders Practitioners Vulnerability/ resilience Impacts Forecasting / observation / prediction Service Decision making Empirical Disaster / hazard Risk Uncertainty / probability/ deterministic / accuracy Threat / warning Climate / weather Community


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