All entries for Thursday 27 October 2005

October 27, 2005


Follow-up to Writing: Texts, Processes and Practices from Ika's blog

"Researching the writer-reader relationship"
Roz Ivanic and Sue Weldon

Writing consists of three interlocking dimensions:

  1. the written text itself
  2. the social interaction which surrounds the production of the text
  3. tge sicuo-cultural context within which this soical interactin takes place

Note: at first, I was confused why this chapter mainly consits of dialogue between its writers. Later on, I found out that it's quite interesting that a serious academic writing can be also presented in a dialogic way.

Roz began to see writing as an act of self-representation.
(Read more)
Goffman. 1969. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. London: Allen Lane, The Penguin Press.

Interaction in writing: principles and problems
Greg Myers


note: I like the way he starts his article by saying:
It seems obvious enough to say that writing is used for interaction, like saying walking is used for locomotion, sexual intercourse for reproduction, and cooking for nourishment.

writers and readrs think of each other, imagine each other's purposes and strategies rightly or wrongly, and write or interpret the text in terms of these imaginations.

My note:
For example, when we come across with a text which is difficult to understand, we as the reader try hard to figure out what the text want and try to relate it our own life. also vice versa, when we want to write something, let's say a brochure, we think about our target reader and try to make our purpose is well written so that the target readers can undrstand it.

Some principles influencing this process is:

  • Cooperative Principles by Grice
  • Politeness Theory by Brown and Levinson
  • Reciprocity Principle Nystrand

CP is not a statement of what participants should do, or even what they actually do, but of what they must each assume the other to be doing, for the conversation to go on (Thomas, 1995: 62). When Hearers interpret Speakers, they assume that the Speaker must be thinking of what the Hearer needs next.

Brown and Levinson. 1987.
model of politeness.
They suggest that interaction necessarily involves a number of Face Threatening Acts (FTAs), such as blaming, requesting or apologizing.

the application of B&L's model go far beyond the sorts of furmulas of etiquette that most people think of politeness, and far beyond their original application to conversation.

The Principles of Grice, Brown, Nystrand (Reciprocity Principle: writing as interactive only when we recognize that both Writer and Reader approach the text with 'mutual co-awareness) give discourse analysts a way of reconstructing interaction from specific features of texts. the assumptions are:

  • W&Rs are strategic valves, calculating choices or interpretations of choices in line with singular aims, matching the form to given functions of the text, or functions to the given forms.
  • interpersonal elements are seen as modifications of a basic message or content for greater effectiveness, standing out against unmarked forms.
  • society or given community functions as a body of norms to which individual W&Rs turns as a background for interpretation
  • the task of the analysist is to generate possible categories of forms and functions, and base interpretation on the relations between these categories.
  • explanations of these form/function relations may draw on social practices, cognitive processes, communicative efficiency, or institutional structures.

I think the following statements have to do with mutual co-awareness.
The discourse community provides a set of norms or conventions concerning textual forms, roles, acts. Writers internalize these norms, and draw on them and on their Reader's awareness of them, in producing texts, and Readers draw on these norms, and Writers' awareness of them, in interpreting texts.

Linking: coherence (the semantic links between clauses) and intertextuality (the links between texts: the links between verbal text and pictures, define a possible form of interaction)
coherence is not just a property of a text, but is a social relation between W&Rs based on shared knowledge.

Pedagogical implication:
1. since these analyses start with assumptions about function and form, the are more useful in introducing students to academic texts, or outsiders to a ny new genre, such as grant proposals, software documentation (P.55).
2. we have something to teach writers (coursework essay, university prospectus, bureaucratic report) about the complex interactions represented in texts, and such teaching may help them write considerably more readably and effectively (p.61)

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