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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    Question Language usage

    Hello Teachers!

    I am a student and here to improve my English learning skills with your guidance. I have a question about language communication in writing.

    What type of language should we use in writing to a group of people of high education or PhD's?

    Formal or just plain clear language?

    As I read that letters should be clear, logical, and to the point. And formal I guess is more congested full of concrete words.

    Help me out here!

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Language usage

    I don't know why people think that complex words densely packed together is "formal" or better in any way.

    Clear,concise writing is always appreciated.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  3. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Language usage

    I can understand Barb's perception, but the reason we use academic English is not to appear formal or better. It is to re-define terms for the entire field of investigation which have no real-world ties to emotional attitudes, value judgments or other associations.

    For instance, when the academic term "dialect" became popularly used, it began to signify a hierarchy. A "central" language that was "the best one" was now not a dialect, in the eyes of the general population, but other less frequent varieties were now "mere dialects, or (inferior) variations" on a theme.

    So academics came up with the new term "geolect" meaning local variant, which had no value judgments associated with it.

    All terminology is meant to do is to define single, unique, precise and objective terms for all the concepts and objects we use.

    Having said that, if you're talking to a bunch of PhDs but they are all from different areas, don't worry about it. I think most people would prefer plain speaking nowadays, unless there is a class pretention to be played out.

  4. Newbie
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    #4

    Question Re: Language usage

    hello Teachers,

    I think Formal we use to show respect and avoiding causal wordings.
    Clear plain language is applied to outside audiences(unknown), but here it is a group of PhD's. Than also we use plain language ?

    What about using Technical Jargon? They are also group specific? and in my question it is referring to group of PhD's?

    According to my text book to be very formal or very informal both of these are not suitable, but the medium ground (balance between these two) should be preferred.
    based on that conclusions what is the Formal language? are they talking about the mixture of both is the formal language?
    Thanks for replying my post
    Take care!
    Last edited by Cute572; 17-Nov-2009 at 19:49.

  5. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Language usage

    Before you start to write anything, you should know the answer to a few questions:
    1. Who am I writing to. (You've already told us that)
    2. What is the nature of the information you are providing?
    2. What do you want them to do with that information?

    If you want them to be impressed with your technical knowledge, then you will write to them as a peer.

    On the other hand, if you simply need to let them know what time the dinner party starts, you'll write rather differently.

    However, using longer, more complex words and using longer, more complex sentence structure does not make it more respectful. Clarity in conveying your point is the key to good communication.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  6. Newbie
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    #6

    Re: Language usage

    It doesn't specifies anything and just emphasizing the language we should use here.
    They are highly educated professional group, if we write to them something, language would be formal or clear plain one. I don't any further specifications here.
    Clarity is the best way in business communication but it also say that writing to ur colleage would be different from writing a letter to your supervisor (reason formally). So from this point i want to know where my statements stands?

  7. Raymott's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Language usage

    Quote Originally Posted by Cute572 View Post
    It doesn't specifies anything and just emphasizing the language we should use here.
    They are highly educated professional group, if we write to them something, language would be formal or clear plain one. I don't any further specifications here.
    Clarity is the best way in business communication but it also say that writing to ur colleage would be different from writing a letter to your supervisor (reason formally). So from this point i want to know where my statements stands?
    I can tell you one thing for certain. You shouldn't use "ur". Whatever level of formality you choose, it should be correct English.
    (I suppose you know that here you are writing to a group of people among whom many have a high level of education or a PhD?)

  8. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Language usage

    Quote Originally Posted by Cute572 View Post
    if we write to them something, language would be formal or clear plain one.
    I guess my problem in answering you is that I don't see these as being a choice of one or the other.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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