[Toegepaste Taalwetenschap in Artikelen 19] 1984
► pp. 116–124
A map of the world of 'technical' communication shows the (a, ß)-universe, flat country filled with language experts and scientists, including engineers. In the centre Technical Writing is situated, a territory in turmoil, on the border of α-land and ß-land. In the U.S.A. the territory is developing fast as the professional core of a new skill. As emigrants, many people of an α-type or ß-type nature end up in the territory. Having a problem of professional identity they possess a hy-brid personality. The attention paid to this problem causes them to lose sight of the two 'natural' forces of an emigrating individual, that is to say feedforward — an anticipative composition principle — and metaphoric transfer — 'as-if use of knowledge from the individual's professional past, to solve the communication problems met at present. Feedforward (Ivor A. Richards, 1893-1979) is a principle of creative action, proceeding from more generic to less (a top-down hier-archy); a number of 'formators' (Charles W. Morris and Bess Sondel), the tools for making text according to the feedforward scheme, are discussed. Nowadays visual elements as formators receive more emphasis. Text is seen as a distribution of three types of elements ('knowing', 'feeling', 'acting') glued into a unit, the communicative 'whole', by the formators. The textual whole should match the type of readers as originally anticipated by the technical writer (27 types, a classification based upon estimating three levels of knowing, feeling, acting; examples are included). Some prescriptions for solving Technical Writing problems found by metaphoric transfer are discussed. To illustrate the traffic of ideas arising from metaphoric transfer, a detailed map of the border area science/ technical writing is shown.
Article language: Dutch