Accessibility and Acceptability in Technical Manuals: A Survey of Style and Grammatical Metaphor

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John Benjamins Publishing, Jan 1, 2003 - Readability - 183 pages
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"Accessibility and Acceptability in Technical Manuals" is written for an audience with a general interest in readability studies, linguistics and technical writing. With the main emphasis on technical manuals the book is primarily targeted at those who have a special interest in the design and use of utility texts and how these texts are received and understood by a multifaceted audience. Accessibility is not a new research area and many explanations have been offered over the past years as to why non-experts often have difficulties in comprehending texts written by technological experts. This book offers a new approach to accessibility studies by exploring not only style, but also attitudes to style, by asking text consumers which style they prefer for different parts of the manual. A key role is played by the Systemic Functional Linguistics' notion of grammatical metaphor, a stylistic choice that is commonly used in technical literature. Grammatical metaphor although apparently obstructing the comprehension process of some readers is a common element in the preferred style that separates the insiders from the outsiders . An explanation of this rather surprising result is offered by resorting to Critical Discourse Analysis.
 

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Contents

Chapter 1 Research disciplines and methods
1
Chapter 2 Field Tenor and Mode dimensions
7
Chapter 3 Register analysis
17
Chapter 4 Categorizing text through genre analysis
65
Chapter 5 Research methods and survey
79
Chapter 6 Information structure
127
Chapter 7 The technical manual as social semiotic
145
Chapter 8 Discussion and conclusions
161
References
169
Survey of writing style in technical manuals
175
Name index
179
Subject index
181
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