Week 11 reading

The readings for this week presented points that left me wondering about my previous understanding of concepts such as power, author and emails! In the first chapter, I read about how authorship is a privilege the discourse controls (not writer!) and that discourse itself is what determines the existence of author, then started to question my conceptions about what discourse and author are. The reading says that the author is produced by the discourse while my initial thought about the relationship between discourse and author is that the author must consider the discourse when writing. That is, discourse is indeed essential, but not the total controller of what might be an author or not. However, later on I realized that there was a difference between author and writer. When reading that a technical communicator is a transmitter or a translator, I started to think that it might depend on what kind of work they do that they are called transmitters or translators, but not authors. I would connect the word they use to describe the technical communicator to the nature of work they do, and I wonder whether it is because the text is more important than the writer that they say that discourse controls the existence of author. Besides the idea that authorship is believed to be a privilege that technical communicators do not simply get, the concept of power is also another conception that made me somehow think that a huge burden is put on technical communicators. They have to transmit meaning clearly and briefly, and still not getting the “privilege” of authorship!

“The informality of email and the breakdown of traditional conventions seem to denote that email communication is less rule-bound and more “natural”…than traditional communication.”(72) “Really?” This is what I said once I read this line. It is true that technology has made communication even easier and more convenient, but I could not agree with the idea that emails can be “more natural than traditional communication”. Yes, I would be feeling at ease to discuss in writing more than in face-to-face communication, but emails do have a form that I am always struggling with. When writing emails, I am always concerned about the receiver’s perception of my emails. Emails lack facial expression, body language and pitch which add meaning to simple words. I am always concerned that I might sound too informal or sometimes offensive. I, therefore, strongly disagree with the above quote. However, I wonder if my perception of emails is affected by cultural aspects. I mean to say that since I come from a culture where we use emails more for formal communication, I may have a different perception from a person who uses email as a communication means on a daily basis, not only for formal communication.



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