[ASC-list] Science CommunicationS

Renato Schibeci R.Schibeci at murdoch.edu.au
Tue Feb 26 04:25:03 UTC 2013


Agreed.

I think we need to be careful mot to confuse important language problems
with less important language problems.

Language is especially important when it is misleading or offensive ('The
public supports GM canola' or 'They don't speak as good as me, so they are
different...').

There are forms of grammar up with which I will not put, but such language
problems are less important - by all means, let's continue the good fight
(my pet dislike is '15 items or less' at a certain supermarket) but we need
to keep a sense of proportion.

Renato


On 26/02/13 11:40 AM, "Mike.Mcrae at csiro.au" <Mike.Mcrae at csiro.au> wrote:

> (Wading into the firefight here...without a helmet...)
> 
> When I was teaching in London, I lost count of how often I was chastised for
> saying 'yo-gurt' instead of 'yog-urt', and 'vie-ta-min' instead of
> 'vitt-a-min'. Some knew being Australian meant I was going to saying things
> differently. Most kids just assumed I didn't know how to say the words their
> way...the 'right' way.
> 
> All language is associated with cultural baggage. Say it wrong, and you mark
> yourself as being from somewhere else - maybe the wrong side of the tracks, or
> as somebody who is trying to sound like they're from another culture (like -
> horror of horrors - America!). You might sound uneducated, ignorant or
> uninformed. In any case, your choice of words says whether you're one of us,
> or one of 'them'.
> 
> As communicators, we have a tough time choosing words. Our goal is to be
> understood by an audience, with minimal loss of information. But it also needs
> to carry identity; the language has to be associated with a trusted and
> respectable authority. We can't pretend this is easy to do.
> 
> For my money, communicators need to be precise and intentional with their
> language and not rely on accident of culture. But the answer to achieving that
> isn't to presume there is a universally 'correct' choice of words, or a
> standard style guide. Rather, like an effective translator, a good
> communicator knows the two cultures they're communicating between.
> 
> There's a thin line between ethnocentric righteousness and a desire for
> effective communication which means while it's important to argue about word
> usage, it shouldn't stray into being about cultural superiority.
> 
> Mike
> 
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au
> [mailto:asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] On Behalf Of Helen.Sim at csiro.au
> Sent: Tuesday, 26 February 2013 11:55 AM
> To: Sim, Helen (CASS, Marsfield); rob.morrison at flinders.edu.au
> Cc: jenni at econnect.com.au; list at asc.asn.au
> Subject: [ExternalEmail] Re: [ASC-list] Science CommunicationS
> 
> A start might be to encourage organisations to have style guides and to
> actually use them: that is, to give some conscious thought to these matters.
> 
> Or do you think there are more basic problems that should be tackled first?
> 
> - Helen
> 
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au
> [mailto:asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] On Behalf Of Helen.Sim at csiro.au
> Sent: Tuesday, 26 February 2013 11:37 AM
> To: rob.morrison at flinders.edu.au
> Cc: list at asc.asn.au; jenni at econnect.com.au
> Subject: [ExternalEmail] Re: [ASC-list] Science CommunicationS
> 
> Clearly, the natives are restless. But what are we actually going to DO?
> 
> cheers,
> 
> Helen
> ------
> Helen Sim
> Media Liaison and Public Relations
> 
> CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science
> and
> Australian Astronomical Observatory
> 
> T: +61 2 9372 4251
> M: +61 419 635 905
> 
> 
> 
> 
> On 26/02/2013, at 10:30 AM, Rob Morrison wrote:
> 
> Hear hear! Listining to commentators sayting KilOMeter is as irritating as
> listening to a repeated sniff. I'd add to this list that the great cliche of
> science reporting, "breakthrough" and wonder why so many scientists misuse the
> terms of their trade such as "theory" when they mean "hypothesis", "Proof"
> where there is support and why so many ubiquitously use  "bug" for everything
> from computer faults and stomach ailments to spiders, viruses and lethal
> bacteria. No wonder people are so hopelessly confused about when (and when
> not) to take antibiotics.
> 
> People argue that words become misused because people go for the shorter if
> incorrect version (eg "like" instead of "as if" or "as though"), but that
> explanation falls down when you hear "for free" instead of the shorter "free"
> and the incessant parrotting of the 4-syllable "absolutely" instead of the
> 1-syllable "yes". Trying to help the young understand that "like" goes with
> nouns while "as" goes with verbs is now pointless when they are no longer
> taught what nouns and verbs actually are.
> 
> Cliches in reporting, or course, are not restricted to science writing. Does
> anyone ever die of cancer these days without dying after some kind of "battle
> with cancer" (usually a long one), while the poor old Queenslanders last year
> were beset with either a "wall of water" or an "inland tsunami" in alternating
> reports.
> 
> As we shed journalists (especially older journalists who have some grammatical
> insights) we can expect much more of this, and those who are shot will be
> "gunned down", small towns enduring a calamity will suddenly become
> "tight-knit communities" and things not going to plan will inevitably "spiral
> out of control"
> 
> Rave over. Count me in.
> 
> 
> 
> Dr Rob Morrison
> rob.morrison at flinders.edu.au<mailto:rob.morrison at flinders.edu.au>
> Phone: (08) 8339 3790
> Fax: (08)8339 6272
> ________________________________
> From: 
> asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au<mailto:asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au>
> [asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au<mailto:asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au>]
> on behalf of David Ellyard
> [david at davidellyard.com<mailto:david at davidellyard.com>]
> Sent: Sunday, 24 February 2013 10:50 PM
> To: 'Lamberts Rod'; 'Jenni Metcalfe'
> Cc: list at asc.asn.au<mailto:list at asc.asn.au>
> Subject: Re: [ASC-list] Science CommunicationS
> 
> Crankies
> 
> My target of my abhorrence is spoken not written. It is all but just universal
> pronunciation  of "kilometre" with the same stresses as "thermometer", rather
> than as with "centimetre". I blame Gough Whitlam (one of the few things I
> blame him for, though there are others). I have mostly given up on it but it
> still riles.
> 
> I also hate "for free" (meaning at no cost), but that is not limited to
> scicomm.
> 
> Count me in.
> 
> David
> From: 
> asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au<mailto:asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au>
> [mailto:asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] On Behalf Of Lamberts Rod
> Sent: Monday, 25 February 2013 9:24 AM
> To: Jenni Metcalfe
> Cc: list at asc.asn.au<mailto:list at asc.asn.au>
> Subject: Re: [ASC-list] Science CommunicationS
> 
> I'm on that old and cranky team, too Jenni! Though I confess sometimes I give
> up when I see that fiendish 's' <shrug>
> 
> Cheers,
> R
> 
> On 23/02/2013, at 10:44 AM, Jenni Metcalfe
> <jenni at econnect.com.au<mailto:jenni at econnect.com.au>> wrote:
> 
> 
> Is there anyone except me who gets annoyed by the use of the word
> "communicationS" - i.e. communication with an S on the end?
> 
> As my colleague, Wendy Parsons, pointed out when I was working at CSIRO almost
> 18 years ago... this use of the word generally relates to cables, wires and
> similar infrastructure.
> 
> Perhaps, I am just getting old and cranky?
> 
> Jenni Metcalfe
> Director, Econnect Communication
> www.econnect.com.au<http://www.econnect.com.au>
> phone: 07 3846 7111; 0408 551 866
> jenni at econnect.com.au<mailto:jenni at econnect.com.au>
> skype: jenni.metcalfe
> PO Box 734 South Brisbane Q 4101
> subscribe to Econnect's free monthly e-newsletter:
> http://www.econnect.com.au/news_newsletter.htm
> 
> <image001.png><https://twitter.com/#!/econnectteam>
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> 
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> ___________________________________________________
> 
> Dr Rod Lamberts
> National President
> Australian Science Communicators
> http://www.asc.asn.au/
> 
> 
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> 
> 
> M: 0412 631 016
> T: @rodl
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Renato
-----------------------------------------------------------
Associate Professor Renato Schibeci
BSc DipEd MSc MEd PhD FRACI
School of Education  Murdoch University Murdoch Western Australia 6150
Australia  Phone (08) 9360 2168   Fax (08) 9360 6296
International Phone 61-8-9360 2168   Fax 61-8-9360 6296
email: R.Schibeci at murdoch.edu.au
http://www.education.murdoch.edu.au/staff/renato_schibeci.html
 





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