Evasive actions in top-down communication
Strategies for avoiding direct sender and receiver references
The ambiguity of the we-referent in internal communication documents can make text interpretation difficult. We analyzed the 1999 issues of the ’Maxi Guide’, the weekly top-down briefing of a large Belgian distribution chain. In relational and hybrid texts in particular, the referent of the pronoun often changes within the same text without any textual or graphic indicator. This article will first describe how the use of we is avoided. In total seven strategies were detected (e.g., perspective changes, non-finite clauses, elliptical sentences). They will be explained and illustrated with examples translated from both French and Dutch. Next, the article will outline how we itself operates as an evasive strategy. The examples will demonstrate how similar strategies are used in the two languages.
Keywords: internal communication (top-down), business communication, pronoun use, inclusive/exclusive we, evasive strategies
Published online: 17 August 2001
Cited by 2 other publications
Dieltjens, Sylvain & Priscilla Heynderickx
Dieltjens, Sylvain M. & Priscilla C. Heynderickx
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