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Informalization of written language Ling 206 UP/November 2004.

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Presentation on theme: "Informalization of written language Ling 206 UP/November 2004."— Presentation transcript:

1 Informalization of written language Ling 206 UP/November 2004

2 Literacy Studies The role of written language in everyday life Texts Practices

3 Critical textual analysis Talking about texts in a new way: shifting away from the ordinary experience of texts Reflecting on the way we make meaning from texts Critical: question social life in moral and political terms (social justice and power)

4 Textual analysis and ethnography Limits of textual analysis What ethnography can bring to textual analysis: practices, settings, contexts (macro); causal effects of texts, how texts a read by particular people in particular events

5 Discourse Discourses can be described as themes, attitudes and values - expressed through written and oral statements, images and behaviour - which at a given time and place, within a certain institutional or non- institutional context are deemed meaningful (adapted from Gee 1999: 37).

6 Discourse as an abstract noun Extended stretches of text (spoken or written) Registers and genres

7 Discourse as a count noun Discourses represent or describe particular aspects of the physical, social and psychological world (see Fairclough 2003: 26).

8 Normalisation The acceptance of statements as being obvious and inherently true (Foucault 1980).

9 Marketization An example of border crossing Genres are associated with particular domains of social practices, but the boundaries between domains are permeable. Colonization (Habermas)

10 Universities: job adverts Context: increasing privatisation of public services and the incursion of market principles into the public domain Border crossing between informative and promotional language – new hybrid genre

11 Example 1: Bath University (2002) Personalization of the reader (conversational genre) Narrative style Specific identities are created both for the institution and the prospective candidate An impression of equality and solidarity?

12 Example 2: Newcastle/Nottingham (1992) No personalization Frequent use of passives (agentless) Nominalizations (applications are invited…) Institution behind the advert remains anonymous (no discursive creation of identity)

13 Public information brochures An example of colonization? What is the main purpose of the leaflet: to inform parents about the scheme or to convince them to sign up for it? Choice of photographs: a marker of informalization?

14 Further examples A brief government report on a recent survey: informative or promotional?


16 I am determined to ensure that todays young people will no longer endure the decades of neglect in literacy and numeracy education which is reflected so starkly in this survey. Our recruitment of 50% more maths teachers in just four years and dedicated literacy and numeracy strategies in primary schools are already delivering significant improvements in maths attainment at secondary level.

17 A leaflet on pain management Making the text more accessible by using a conversational style (question-answer sequences)?

18 Written communication at the workplace: manipulation of the interpersonal for instrumental reasons? (Use of the inclusive we) Textmessaging: from informal language to invented spellings

19 Conclusions Written language is not static – it is changing in much the same way as spoken language is. Boundaries between spoken and written language are becoming less prominent.

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