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Reader feedback in text design

Validity of the plus-minus method for the pretesting of public information brochures


Menno de Jong

Brochures play a significant role in governmental public information provision. Every year many brochures are distributed to inform, instruct or persuade people. These brochures may benefit from a systematic design process, including applied research such as pretesting. Among communication professionals, the importance of pretesting is practically undisputed. Readers from the target audience are assumed to provide valuable insights into whether a document really works. Organizations therefore increasingly try to include a pretest in the design process of important documents. Various pretest methods have been developed and are being used in practice. However, little is known yet about the merits and restrictions of the available approaches. This book provides a framework for scholarly research into pretesting, and presents a series of studies into the validity of one particular pretest instrument: a combination of the plus-minus method and a semi-structured questionnaire. This is one of the prevailing pretest approaches in the Dutch public information sector. The validity of the pretest instrument is assessed in two complementary ways. First, the question is addressed as to whether a revision on the basis of pretest results actually leads to an improvement in the functional quality of brochures. Second, a study is presented in which text and subject-matter experts judge the importance of pretest results. The pretest instrument appears to yield a large amount and a great variety of reader feedback, which in a subsequent revision may contribute to significant improvements in the effectiveness of brochures.


Edited by Luuk Van Waes, Egbert Woudstra and Paul van den Hoven

In this volume researchers from American and European universities and institutes present their recent research on 'Functional Communication Quality'.
Functional refers to the purposes of the communication process. The relations between these purposes and the best way to describe them, are some of the topics discussed.
Communication refers to a complex interactive process. Relevant variables include the speech act of the participants, features of the message, chosen channel, moment, duration, frequency, environment. The participants in this process are individuals and groups as well as organizations and parts of organizations.
Quality can be described from several points of view: a technical point of view with efficiency as its goal, an operative point of view which aims for effectiveness or an aesthetic point of view.
This volume shows that a multi-perspective approach to Functional Communication Quality (FCQ) is the only way to obtain a better insight into this area of communication studies. The papers are grouped in four different chapters, each dealing with a different perspective on the theme:
• FCQ in an organizational context;
• FCQ and research methods;
• FCQ and text analysis;
• FCQ and electronic tools.
The book also contains an overview of organizational communication research in France and Spain.
This volume will be of interest to a broad audience of researchers and students in the field of organizational communication studies and the field of writing studies, communication consultants and communication managers, professional writers and software engineers.


Edited by Otilia Martí-Arnándiz and Patricia Salazar-Campillo

Little exposure and few opportunities for practice are two main drawbacks for learners in instructional contexts. These problems are intensified when dealing with face-threatening acts such as refusals, as learners are not fully capable of expressing their meanings and miscommunication is a likely by-product. The present volume aims at exploring factors and production of refusals in different instructional settings by means of ten original papers which address key questions dealing with the speech act of refusals. The relevance of the volume lies in the individual contributions which embrace innovative perspectives on refusals in order to provide an excellent contribution to this field of enquiry. The book is an obligatory reading for researchers and students interested in the field of interlanguage pragmatics, who will benefit from the range of educational contexts in which refusals are investigated.


Edited by Louis de Saussure, Jacques Moeschler and Genoveva Puskas

Ce volume rassemble une série d’articles qui accordent une attention particulière à des phénomènes qui mettent spécifiquement en relation le niveau sémantique et pragmatique de l’interprétation. Les textes ici présentés font directement appel à des notions comme la représentation d’événements, la prise en charge, le contexte narratif, la sémantique historique, la structure informationnelle, qui sont toutes, dans leur diversité, des notions à la fois sémantiques et pragmatiques. Rassemblant des contributions de chercheurs de grand renom (Georges Kleiber, Carl Vetters, Liliane Tasmowski, Bertrand Vérine) et de chercheurs plus jeunes, ce volume se structure en fonction de thématiques. Il s’ouvre ainsi par des réflexions sur le futur, puis traite des emplois modaux du conditionnel et du verbe pouvoir, puis de l’imparfait narratif à l’oral, puis le gérondif. Deux articles sont ensuite consacrés au subordonnées introduites par quando (en italien) et cuando (en espagnol). Enfin, la position du passé simple en français est revisitée à la lumière de l’interlangue d’apprenants anglophones.

Michel Pêcheux: Automatic Discourse Analysis

With contributions of Simone Bonnafous, Françoise Gadet, Paul Henry, Alain Lecomte, Jacqueline Léon, Denise Maldidier, Jean-Marie Marandin and Michel Plon


Michel Pêcheux

This volume offers the long-awaited overview of the work of the French philosopher and discourse analyst Michel Pêcheux, who was the leading figure in French discourse analysis until his death in 1983. The volume presents the first English publication of the work of Pêcheux and his coworkers on automatic discourse analysis. It is presented with extensive annotations and introductions, written by former colleagues such as Françoise Gadet, Paul Henry and Denise Maldidier. Outside France, French discourse analysis is almost exclusively known as the form of philosophical discourse presented by such authors as Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida. The contemporary empirical forms of French discourse analysis have not reached a wider public to the degree they deserve. Through its combination of original texts, annotations, and several introductory texts, this volume facilitates an evaluation of both results and weaknesses of French discourse analysis in general and of the work of Michel Pêcheux and his coworkers in particular.

Playing the corporate language game

An investigation of the genres and discourse strategies in English used by Dutch writers working in multinational corporations


Catherine Nickerson

An increasing number of business people are regularly required to communicate effectively and efficiently in a language that is not their own. The tasks that international business writers carry out, have therefore become a recent focus of attention for communication researchers and language practitioners, particularly within multinational corporations where the majority of the workforce needs to communicate both in English and the local language. Playing the Corporate Language Game explores the relationship between context and text and presents a comprehensive framework for the investigation of the communication practices that are currently in use in international business. It includes an extensive survey of multinational corporations in the Netherlands, and it goes on to present a detailed analysis of the genres and discourse strategies that could be identified in a large corpus of authentic documents written by Dutch and British writers, consisting of letters, reports and e-mail messages. There is detailed discussion throughout, of those aspects of national and corporate culture that impact the evolution and linguistic realisation of business genres in multinational, multilingual settings. This volume will be of interest to students and researchers of applied linguistics and business communication, and all those concerned with Language for Specific Purposes, and the interface between local languages and International Business English.


Edited by Andrée Borillo, Carl Vetters and Marcel Vuillaume

L'étude de la référence verbale constitue un domaine très vaste où se dégagent des problèmatiques diverses et complexes. Ce recueil, qui intéressera tous les linguistes qui s'occupent du verbe, réunit des travaux représentatifs de la diversité de la sémantique verbale. La place importante accordée à l'expression de la temporalité ne surprendra personne: le lecteur trouvera dans ce volume des études consacrées à la temporalité du verbe en général, à des temps verbaux particuliers (passé simple, imparfait), à la référence verbale en surbordonnée temporelle ou à l'interaction entre le temps du verbe et les compléments prépositionnels. Ce n'est pas seulement la valeur temporelle des temps verbaux qui est étudiée ici: certaines contributions s'occupent spécifiquement de leur morphologie et de leurs valeurs modales. La diversité des approches théoriques (la logique temporelle reichenbachienne, les repérages énonciatifs de Culioli, la pragmasémantique de Kleiber, la grammaire fonctionnelle de Dik, l'analyse temporelle de la fiction narrative de Vuillaume, etc.) permet de jeter des regards intéressants et parfois inattendus sur un domaine qui passionne actuellement beaucoup de linguistes. Si la problématique aspectuelle, que certains considèrent comme plus fondamentale pour la référence verbale que sa temporalité, n'est pas traitée ici, c'est parce que Cahiers Chronos y consacre son volume 2 intitulé Regards sur l'aspect.


Edited by Andrée Borillo, Carl Vetters and Marcel Vuillaume

Ce recueil s'adresse à tous les linguistes qui s'intéressent à l'aspect. Les études réunies dans ce volume présentent l'aspect de différents points de vue à travers l'étude de plusieurs langues - français, allemand, anglais, créole et berbère - et rapprochent la problématique aspectuelle d'autres phénomènes linguistiques comme les typologies des procès, l'anaphore, l'ordre, la nominalisation, la négation ou l'analyse des compléments adverbiaux et les opérateurs temporels. La diversité des approches (synchronique, diachronique, contrastive, didactique, ou autres) et des cadres théoriques (Reichenbach, Culioli, Bickerton, Vendler, Fourquet, etc.) permet de jeter des regards intéressants et parfois inattendus sur un domaine qui passionne actuellement beaucoup de linguistes.


Edited by Walter De Mulder, Liliane Tasmowski-De Ryck and Carl Vetters

Ce premier volume de Cahiers Chronos réunit onze articles qui s'intéressent à la cohérence ou l'incohérence) temporelle du texte. L'analyse se fait par l'intermédiaire de la comparaison avec le domaine nominal. Depuis plus de vingt ans, les termes déictique et anaphorique, issus du domaine de la référence nominale, s'emploient dans l'étude du temps. Ce recueil propose des évaluations critiques de cette analyse situées dans les cadres théoriques divers, allant du modèle guillaumien (M. Wilmet) via la grammaire générative (J. Guéron) à la théorie de la représentation du discours de H. Kamp (C. Vet). Comme on pouvait s'y attendre, l'analyse de la valeur des temps (du passé) — en français (A. Molendijk; L. Tasmowski-De Ryck & C. Vetters; S. Vogeleer), en anglais (I. Depraetere) et en néerlandais (T. Janssen) — occupe une place importante dans ce recueil. Mais d'autres études apportent des analyses intéressantes dans d'autres domaines: les connecteurs (T. Virtanen), les caractéristiques aspecto-temporelles des noms référant à des événements (D. Godard & J. Jayez) ou la valeur référentielle du verbe changer (M. Charolles).

Building a bridge between linguistic communities of the Old and the New World

Current research in tense, aspect, mood and modality


Edited by Chiyo Nishida and Cinzia Russi

The present volume is a collection of fourteen original papers selected from those presented at the first US installment of Chronos: International Conference on Tense, Aspect, Mood and Modality, which took place at the University of Texas at Austin in October, 2008. The volume serves as an excellent forum for international scholars working on expressions of on tense, aspect, mood and modality. It contains papers dealing with a diverse variety of languages ranging from well studied languages like English, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian and Japanese, to less known ones like Basque, Chamorro, Iquito, Australian English and Singlish. The originality and relevance of the individual contributions is highlighted by the broadness of the theoretical approaches they employ and the novel empirical data they examine. All the studies go beyond exploring issues strictly related to tense, aspect, mood and modality; rather, they cut across all main linguistics subfields, such as syntax, semantics, pragmatics, language acquisition and language evolution, thus attesting to how research on tense, aspect, mood and modality is vital to the better understanding of human language in general. This diverse nature of the volume will certainly appeal to broad audience.