Canadian Association of Teachers of Technical Writing/
Association canadienne des professeurs de rédaction technique et scientifique

The University of Toronto
26 au 28 mai/26 - 28 May, 2002


May 26, Rm 244
Concurrent #1
HSSFC Meeting, 4:30
May 26, Rm 256
Concurrent #2
May 27, Main session May 27, Annual General Meeting
May 27, Keynote Speaker
President's Reception/ CATTW Dinner
May 28, rm 244 Concurrent #1, Eng May 28, rm 256
Concurrent #2, Fr

Updated May 13, 2002

Day 1--May 26
(Please note two concurrent sessions: rm UC 244 & rm UC 256)

Main Session, Room UC 244:

9 h – 9 h 15

Concurrent Session 1: Room UC 244

Technical Writing and Writing-across-the-Curriculum : Pedagogical Perspectives

9 h 15 – 10 h 45
Session Chair : Anne Parker, University of Manitoba

Natasha Artemeva, Carleton University
Rhetorical Genre Studies and Testing : What Do They Tell Us about Learning?

Recently, there has been some discussion whether the fields of testing and rhetorical genre studies can ever be brought together. Some scholars refer to language testing as a «test-writing» game and state that the artificiality of the testing situation prevents us from applying North American genre theory to the analysis of such a situation (e. g. Paré). This study explores the role of a classroom testing experience in student acquisition of genres of the engineering profession.

Margaret Procter, Robert Luke, and Michelle French, University of Toronto
The Marriage of Biology and Writing? Working on Webware

Creating a piece of web-enabled interactive software is bound to be a technical challenge, and when it's for a huge specialized science course that uses written assignments without giving much other instruction, it's definitely an adventure. Our half-hour joint presentation will include live demonstrations of the software, and will give an account of its genesis as a tool for supporting writing in the disciplines at a large research university. We will concentrate on outlining the lessons we learned about pedagogy and about discourse practices, online and off.

Lara Varpio, University of Waterloo
On-Line Writing Labs in the International ESP and Technical Writing Classroom

On-line Writing Labs (OWLs), sites generally posted and maintained by individual North American post-secondary institutions, provide genre instruction over the Internet covering a variety of technical documents. These OWLs can serve as valuable resources to both the technical writing student and teacher; however, by their very nature of being on-line, the lessons provided by these OWLs pose interesting and important pedagogical research questions: Should genre instruction techniques be transferred directly from the classroom to the on-line environment? How are these OWLs perceived and employed by students not living in North America? These questions are addressed through a pilot study conducted at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden as part of a PhD research project, at the University of Waterloo, Canada.


11 h – 12 h
Session Chair : Natasha Artemeva, Carleton University

Robert Irish, University of Toronto
Where’s Your Topic Sentence? The Effect of Comments about Organization on Student Writing and Understanding

The Language Across the Curriculum program is engaged in a multi-year research project analyzing the effect of written feedback on the writing of second-year Civil Engineers. Our data comes from four sources: analysis of feedback, interviews with students, analysis of changes in students’ writing, and interviews of graders. Data from the first year, which suggest that students improved a little in specific areas and that particular feedback strategies did seem to have a consistent impact, have led to a more focused research question in the second: what are the impacts of particular feedback types on subsequent student writing? Robert Irish, University of Toronto

Peter Eliot Weiss, University of Toronto
Writing in the Margin : Developing a Shared Vocabulary for Evaluating Technical Writing

This talk reports on new developments related to Language Across the Curriculum’s multi-year research project analysing student response to written feedback on second year Civil Engineering writing assignments. […] Using evidence from our research project as applied to the writing assignment of a third year thermodynamics course, this paper suggests a way to create a shared vocabulary that bridges the disparate contexts which determine meaning for instructor, marker and student. Articulating a common ground specific to one context allows markers to provisionally enter a particular discourse world and instruct through comments founded upon a previously determined frame of reference.

Lunch : 12 h – 13 h 15

13 h 15 – 14 h 45

Session Chair : Robert Irish, University of Toronto

Anne Parker, Sandra Ingram and Guy Jonatschick, University of Manitoba
Using a Web Page as a Collaborative Tool in Engineering Student Projets

This study investigates how the "virtual" and the "social" can effectively be used by collaborative teams in engineering. […] Within the technical communication classroom, we examined groups of students as they participated in the various processes leading up to the submission of a final written report, including "brainstorming" the topic, delegating roles and responsibilities, planning and organizing the material, and using a web page as a communication site. […] We were particularly interested in learning what makes some teams more effective than others and in the role technology plays in influencing team dynamics. As well, we wanted to see how important face-to-face interaction was within this context.

Katherine Tiede, University of Toronto
Negotiating Genre Form and Content : Content-Based Language Pedagogy in First Year Technical Writing

The Language Across the Curriculum program has implemented a content-based approach to language teaching in its first year writing courses. This pedagogy builds writing expertise through the concurrent study of writing and subject matter where language acts as the medium rather than the subject of study. In essence, the technical writing course moves from a writing course toward an engineering course. This curricular shift has provided an opportunity to explore critical questions of genre in technical writing. […] Through a case study, I critically examine how instructors and five students negotiate this shift from traditional writing courses.

Jennifer M. MacLennan, University of Saskatchewan
Student-Designed Communication Workshops as Experiential Learning Model

In recent years, an increased recognition that theoretical understanding may be enhanced by application has led to an explosion of experiential learning models intended to combine theory and practice. […] How can we ensure that our experiential learning projects are sufficiently theorized to produce real mastery? This paper attempts to answer this question through a case study of a theoretically-grounded experiential learning project in which a group of undergraduate seniors designed, developed, and presented a series of practical workshops in communication for a variety of student audiences. Juxtaposed with this project was an advanced public speaking course in which four of the five participants were concurrently enrolled.


15 h – 16 h
Session Chair : Margaret Procter, University of Toronto

Ruby Mackoud, University of Birmingham, U.K.
Entering the TTW Community : Lessons from Experience and Implications for Practice

Becoming a teacher of technical writing is no different from entering any other professional community: it is highly contextualized, and as a result requires the learning of particular skills and knowledge and ways of doing things. If we are interested in helping new colleagues as they enter the community, an understanding of this process is important. As an experienced teacher who was new to technical writing instruction, last year I found myself with a unique opportunity to explore this issue. I carried out a longitudinal qualitative study that focused on the following question: What are the challenges faced by novice teachers of technical writing?

Mark James, University of Toronto
A Follow-up Report on an Investigation into Student Transfer of Learning from a Post-Secondary Content-Based ESL Writing Course to Other Courses : Results and Implications

As teachers of technical writing, our goal is to provide instruction that is the means to a practical end. In other words, we aim to help students develop knowledge, skills, and tools that can be applied in other situations, and we plan and deliver instruction with those situations clearly in mind. As a result, we may find ourselves concerned with questions such as: Do my learners take what they have learned and use it in other situations? What makes this transfer possible? What might get in the way? These kinds of questions are related to the concept of transfer of learning. This presentation will focus on the results and implications of an investigation into student transfer of learning from a post-secondary content-based English-as-a-second-language (ESL) writing course to other courses.

Andrea McKenzie and Carol Acton, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Integration or Isolation? How communications can make or break community in
technical disciplines

Our proposal draws on examples from MIT's Aeronautics/Astronautics engineering program and the University of Waterloo's Computer Science department to foster discussion of how integrated, total communications or a corresponding lack contributes to student feelings of isolation or achievement in technical discipline. Our discussion is based on research interviews we did with computer science students at the University of Waterloo, and interviews and evaluations done with Aero/Astro students at MIT.

Concurrent Session 2: room UC 256

Competencies, Expertise and Discourse Communities

9 h 15 – 10 h 30
Session Chair : Jean Mason, University of Toronto

Michael P. Jordan, Queen’s University at Kingston
Towards a Definition of Core Expertise for Technical Writing

The initial basis for this definition is grounded in established pedagogical practice: that students who already have certain communication skills need to develop additional skills for the special tasks involved in technical writing. The views of academics and practicing professional engineers enable us to determine the details of this pedagogical aim. This approach establishes 14 major topics of expertise and their underlying theoretical disciplines. […] Thus the core expertise for technical writing is necessarily multi-disciplinary.

Shurli Makmillen, University of New Brunswick
Core Expertise : An Enabling or Disabling Metaphor in Writing Instruction?

I am proposing to address the idea of a core expertise and its transferability, by putting it alongside genre theory and what has come to be known as genre acquisition (Freedman). Aviva Freedman encourages us to see classroom situations as "real" (as opposed to seeing them as places of practice for real world situations), and as places where students can meet the three requirements for genre acquisition: low anxiety, intention, and the exigence of classroom assignments. Nonetheless, universities at large may see writing classrooms as places where students are indeed prepared for "real" courses, and for "real" jobs.

Graham Smart and Nicole Brown, Purdue University, USA
Local Realities and Disparate Writing Practices : Developing a Research-Based Curriculum for a Professional Writing Program

The presenters will report on a study that investigated the work experiences of 13 student interns in 15 different worksites, as well as the experiences of graduates from our program now working as writers in industry. We will describe how we collaborated with the student interns and graduates in conducting participatory action research that explored the ways in which writing functioned within their respective worksites. As an example of how we have begun to apply the results of this research in "re-inventing" the curriculum of our Professional Writing major, we will discuss how the findings have changed our understandings and teaching of discourse genres, research methods, collaborative writing practices, usability testing, and information technologies.


11 h – 12 h
Session Chair : Michael Jordan, Queen'sUniversity

Jean Mason, University of Toronto
Hypertext as Scholarly Discourse

In my presentation, I will show why a hypertextual writing space is an ideal venue for a wide range of scholarly discourse. I will discuss various formatting options and their relative advantages and disadvantages. I will address concerns such as instability, archivability, and credibility. I will demonstrate how the latest technological advances make this medium increasingly viable. I will explain why I claim that hypertext is more than a digital tool—it is a way of thinking that resists the dangerous trend of eliminative, reductive, hierarchical thinking implicit in traditional scholarly discourse by challenging boundaries among disciplines, media, and discourse practices and, thus, inviting alternative writing and thinking practices.

Nadeane Trowse and Gloria Borrows, University College of the Fraser Valley
Tracking the Double-voiced Subject via Discursive Practice as Scholarly Borders

Drawing on work that examines the linguistic possibilities for subjectivity in the iterative nature of language to understand the reading of the oppositional by students in the UCFV writing centre, we examined the traces of such reading that are present in their writing. To explore how the theoretical understanding manifests, we propose to present an intensive reading of the progress of one student writing centre user through one history assignment, from the outskirts of academic writing to a much closer relationship with the genre's requirements. We will show how this student negotiated the shift from genre outsider to genre apprentice, crossing genre and community-of-practice boundaries by displaying the sequence of boundary-crossing moves through a linguistic-pragmatic examination of the student's sequentially produced texts.

Lunch : 12 h – 13 h 15

13 h 15 – 14 h 45
Session Chair : Janet Giltrow, University of British Columbia

Jane Freeman, University of Toronto
Language Lego : Addressing Core Competencies Through Modular Curriculum Design

Using a pilot program at the University of Toronto as a case study, this paper will consider the challenges and benefits of modular curriculum design in addressing core competencies in writing and speaking. In July 2000, the School of Graduate Studies at the University of Toronto launched a pilot program called the Office of English Language and Writing Support (ELWS): a program that offers individual consultations and a wide range of workshops and non-credit courses to graduate students. […] In response to the question "Are there complications or dangers in trying to identify and teach a core of expertise extending across disciplines or cultures", my answer is a resounding "Yes!"

Yaying Zhang, Simon Fraser University
Understanding Non-Native Students and Their Writing : An Investigation of Contrastive Rhetorical Assumptions

This paper attempts to develop new ways of understanding non-native student writing by expanding the current paradigm of contrastive rhetoric, an area of research in applied linguistics which seeks to understand the different ways in which cultures arrange information and express ideas in writing. […] I will use an inter-disciplinary approach that applies principles of New-Rhetorical genre theories and postcolonial studies to the investigation of contrastive rhetorical assumptions and non-native student writing. My research sites will be cross-cultural; data, including documents and interviews, will be collected from both Canadian and Chinese contexts.

Jackie Rea, Simon Fraser University
Language Standards and the Regulation of Expertise

In spite of recent attention to the social, cultural and institutional contexts that condition the texts we teach, promises of a universal expertise continue to circulate, navigating talk about writing and writing subjectivities in ways that may preserve traditional accounts of ‘good’ writing and ‘good’ students. So, I wish to dwell a while on customary accounts, making conspicuous the assumptions and valorizations that might shape them. Suspecting that these are saturated with particular ideologies of language, with attitudes associated with ‘literary’ language standards, I will investigate the proscriptions and prescriptions surrounding commonplace notions of writing expertise circulating within the discipline of English Studies.


15 h – 16 h
Session Chair : Graham Smart, Purdue University, USA

Diana Wegner, Douglas College
Discursive Formation in Process : The Use and Abuse of Altruistic Rhetoric in the Development and Marketing of a Municipal Management Plan

This paper will focus on the productive role of two ideological values in the collaborative development of a management plan by a group of municipal managers in a Parks and Recreation Department. My study traces the appropriation of the discourses of "environmental sustainability " and "community development" (from both global and grass-roots contexts) into the discourse of City managers and then into the language of the specific "Natural Areas Management Plan" developed by Parks and Recreation. I hope to describe how a new discursive formation comes about, that is, how the managers and community members embrace, resist, and transform these discourses into a locally relevant discourse and management plan and into a recognizable ideology.

Maureen Bogdanowicz, University of Hawaii
Knowledge Management and Knowledge Workers : New Discourse Communities

Knowledge is the raw material of knowledge workers. When we add knowledge workers to the equation of knowledge management, we move from Information Technology (IT) to Human Resource Management (HRM): from managing information to managing knowledge and performance. The implications for discourse are immense: the speech act can no longer be objectified and codified in isolation from corporate discourse. […] The knowledge age is a new age indeed – discourse analysis supercedes speech act theory, and the discourse community arbitrates the rules of engagement. This paper analyses the new discourse.

16 h 30 in room UC 244 -- Meeting with representatives of the Humanities and Social Sciences Federation of Canada. All welcome.

Day 2--MAY 27

Room UC 244:

Inter-Disciplinary and Inter-Media Approaches to Genre and Discourse Practices

9 h – 10 h 45
Session Chair : Céline Beaudet, Université de Sherbrooke

Janet Giltrow, University of British Columbia
Style and Subjectivity : Modalities of Obligation in Research Disciplines

Briefly reporting design of a corpus-based project investigating subjectivity in the disciplines, this paper will focus on one branch of the project : type, distribution and context of deontic expressions in the conclusions of articles in six disciplines : cell biology, forest-resource management, social psychology, urban geography, development anthroplogy, 19th-century-fiction studies. Deontic expressions (most obviously, « must, should, ought to, have to » but also expressions parallel to, for example « it is necessary to») mark obligation to action, following, in these cases, from the reported research. I speculate that the site of deontic expressions will configure a connection (or the absence of such a connection) between research domains and domains beyond – a script for acting in the world.

Jennifer J. Connor, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia
Assigning Responsibility : The Ethos of Medical Authorship in Canada

Authorship is an intensely controversial and contentious subject in modern biomedical research. In the second half of the twentieth century, the concept of 'author' embraced various activities, from ghost writer and gift author to team of researchers. Premier medical journals responded to calls for the redefinition of authorship by assigning credit for 'contributorship' —intended to represent the creation of a scientific text more accurately. A fundamental condition for credit insists that contributors 'take public responsibility' for the publication. This paper explores how earlier medical authors assigned responsibility for their work to understand how this principle underlies the accepted ethos for writing in medicine.

Judy Segal, University of British Columbia
Notes on the Pathographical Turn in Health and Medicine

As coinvestigator on a large research project on Narratives of Disease, Disability, and Trauma (Peter Wall Project; Valerie Raoul, PI), I am interested in the motives for and uses of pathography and in the place of illness-writing in medical discourse more generally. I would like, in a short paper for CATTW, to reflect on the pathographical turn in health and medicine. Some questions: To what extent is narrative so successful as a focus for humanities research in health because narratives can also be understood to be "data" for social science research? How might we look critically at the drive in narrative toward coherence? Does narrative research itself participate in a tyranny of coherence?


11 h – 12 h
Session Chair : Pamela Grant, Université de Sherbrooke

Catherine F. Schryer, University of Waterloo
Rhetorical Concept of Techne and Case Presentations

While conducting a research project into the socializing effects of case presentations on healthcare students, we discovered an interesting parallel between the fields of medicine and rhetoric. In the earliest rhetorical and medical treatises both fields were described as characterized by "techne" and were involved in intense debates regarding their identities as artful sciences or scientific arts. This paper explores the debate surrounding the meaning of techne in the early rhetorical and medical treatises and the expression of techne in a current medical genre, the case presentation. Data for this study were gathered as part of a series of case studies exploring the role of case presentations in the socialization of healthcare professionals.

John Killoran, University of Colorado at Denver
Controversy and the Information Provider of Choice : The Reorientation of Ethos in a Government Web Project

This research draws on a case study of a new Web site initiative currently proposed for the B.C. Ministry of Forests to augment its existing site ( West coast forestry practices have been the subject of controversy, and B.C.'s Ministry of Forests finds itself immersed in contentious, national and international campaigns by environmental groups such as Greenpeace and the Suzuki Foundation, by First Nations groups, and by the logging industry. […] By presenting a "before and after" comparison of the Ministry's Web sites, I will illustrate that the strategy of developing the ethos of "information provider of choice" is, counter-intuitively, to compromise the exclusivity of the Ministry's own authorative government voice.

Lunch, 12 h – 13 h 15

13 h 30 – 14 h 45
Session Chair : Catherine Schryer, University of Waterloo

Keynote speaker : Christine Räisänen, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden
Coping with Generic Flexibility and Cross-Boundary Communication

Although more social perspectives on writing have been adopted, e.g. a cognitive approach, a process-oriented methodology, and genre theory, a common problem with these approaches is their tendency to assume homogeneity of genres and discourse communities. In the writing classroom, focus is likely to be on textual and contextual regularities, and the objective of assigned writing tasks is to produce prototypical genres. However, these same genres will have a variety of sub-types when produced in the professions. […] In professional life, writing is very seldom the objective of an activity; rather writing is one of the mediating tools used to fulfil the objective of the given activity. Based on results from research carried out on the conference activity system and its interrelated genres in a hybrid, intercultural field, I use activity theory as an exploratory tool to analyse the interdependency of form, content, function and social context of two sub-types of the same genre, the abstract. The conference abstract - an occluded genre - and the paper abstract are written by the same author(s), deal with identical topics, but their different communicative purposes and intertextual relationships in the conference activity system shape their form and content. In this paper, I argue that we need to concentrate more on the production and interpretation processes of different genre types.

15 h – 16 h 30
Annual General Meeting/Assemblée générale annuelle

17 h
President’s Reception

18 h 30
CATTW dinner

Day 3--MAY 28

(Please note two concurrent sessions: rm UC 244 & rm UC 256)

Concurrent Session 1: Room UC 244

Rhetoric, Genre and Discourses Practices

9 h – 10 h 30
Session Chair : Amanda Goldrick-Jones, University of Winnipeg

Hongxing Qi, Simon Fraser University
The Genre of College Entrance/Secondary Graduation Examination Essay : An Inter-Disciplinary Approach to Contrastive Rhetoric

[…] Genre is essentially a semiotic concept and the analysis of it is «not an experimental science in search of law but an interpretative one in search of meaning » (Clifford). This challenges traditional boundaries and opens up possibilities for multi-dimensional perspectives and inter-disciplinary approaches in research. This presentation reports the methodology used in an ongoing research to compare college entrance/secondary graduation examination essay in English by examinees in Canada and that in Chinese by examinees in China. The inter-disciplinary approaches enable the researcher to compare English and Chinese writing at the discourse level, a "notoriously difficult" task (Swales), without falling into the dead-end of linguistic and cultural essentialism.

Philippa Spoel and Susan James, Laurentian University
The Textual Standardization of the Midwifery Profession

In our presentation, we will combine our respective disciplinary perspectives (rhetorical and professional communication studies, and midwifery education and practice) to analyze the functions and implications of the Ontario College of Midwives' Standards for professional practice. This analysis builds on previous work presented at CATTW that focused on Ontario's Midwifery Act. Drawing on rhetorical theories of scientific, medical, and bureaucratic communication as well as work in midwifery studies and in feminist epistemology and ethics, we will discuss the implications of these textual Standards to the kinds of practice, knowledge, and relationships with clients privileged within Ontario's recently regulated midwifery profession.

Burton L. Urquhart, University of Saskatchewan
Engineering Rhetoric : Using Effectiveness and Appropriateness to Teach Technical Communication

In my experience as a graduate student in rhetoric and professional communication, and as an instructor of technical and professional communication to engineering students, I have found that the parallels between the reflective processes involved in engineering design and those used in rhetorical communication can be exploited in the teaching of technical communication. In this paper, I will argue that, by stressing the concepts of appropriateness and effectiveness (or usefulness), an instructor of engineering communication can more effectively engage engineering students in learning to create effective persuasive messages.


10 h 45- 12 h
Session Chair : Philippa Spoel, Laurentian University

Paula Loewen, University of Waterloo
Use Your Common Sense : Moving from a Rhetoric of Risk to a Rhetoric of Possibility in Online Travel Guides for Women

Both Gusty Women: Travel Tips and Wisdom for the Road, by Mary Beth Bond, and promote themselves as sources of travel information which focus on the unique issues faced by women travelers. However, a brief review of the book and the web site reveals a telling difference between the two: Gutsy Women contains an entire chapter on "Safety and Security" for women travelers, while it is challenging to find explicit information about the topic on The question that this raises is whether or not, by making women’s security a less prominent issue, is reshaping the genre of travel guides for women.

Amanda Goldrick-Jones, University of Winnipeg
A Dangerous Venture? Practitioners Peer-Review a University Course

To gain more insights into what technical writers find important for students to know in a university-level course addressing technical communication theory and strategies, I submitted web site materials from my already developed and delivered online course to practitioners who are members of my local Society for Technical Communication chapter. The practitioners reviewing my materials comprised a wide range of backgrounds and levels of expertise; none had any recent university experience. This interactive, workshop-style presentation will briefly present a "before and after" snapshot of the reviewed web site and summarize the most substantial responses from the STC peer review.

Lunch, 12 h - 13 h 15

13 h 15 – 14 h 45 h
Session Chair : Katherine Tiede, University of Toronto

Heather Graves, DePaul University (Chicago)
Metonymy as a Rhetorical Strategy in Physics Research

In this presentation I use ethnographic data collected in a physics laboratory to show how some experimental physicists used the rhetorical trope of metonymy to construct convincing claims about the physical structure, overall usefulness, and the quality of the thin film samples that they had produced as a result of their research into morphous silicon nitride thin film produced using an inexpensive and little-used method. The physicists did not conduct additional experiments to provide the evidence that the referee had asked for, although they could have. Instead they foregrounded existing data in a revised argument that more forcefully articulated their evidence with the hope that better presentation would make their claims present to the referee.

Randy Harris, University of Waterloo
(Anti-)Anthropomorphism and Interface Design

Humans have a powerful cognitive strategy of treating objects in the world as social actors. Moreover, it’s a phenomenally successful strategy. The lesson for interface design is that anthropomorphism is unavoidable; if the designer doesn’t do it, her users will. The challenge is not to avoid anthropomorphism, but to manage it. Technical communicators, and teachers of technical communicators, must not fall into lock-step with anti-anthropomorphism, but help to reverse the trend in the way that has become so familiar to our discipline: by taking the user’s side and arguing her case.

Concurrent Session 2: salle UC 256

Les compétences du rédacteur : des frontières à définir?

9 h 15 – 10 h 30

Présidence : Céline Beaudet, Université de Sherbrooke

Isabelle Clerc, Université Laval
L’efficacité communicationnelle exprimée sous forme d’équation matricielle

Le rédacteur professionnel doit être capable d’évaluer l’efficacité communicationnelle d’un écrit et d’apporter des modifications pour l’améliorer, s’il y a lieu. Cette capacité lui vient d’une longue expérience de la rédaction et d’une solide culture générale, laquelle n’est malheureusement pas souvent relevée dans les énoncés de compétences. Le rédactologue, lui, doit être en mesure d’expliquer ce qui amène le rédacteur à intervenir dans le texte. En d’autres mots, le théoricien doit dégager les principes qui sous-tendent le jugement et les interventions du praticien. Au cœur de la question de l’efficacité communicationnelle se trouve la nécessaire adaptation du message au destinataire et au contexte de communication. Or la notion d’adaptation est mal cernée et donc difficilement mesurable ; elle demande à être définie sous ses aspects linguistique, interactionnel, structurel, informationnel et scriptovisuel au regard de différentes situations de communication exprimées dans des mandats de rédaction. Voilà ce que nous comptons décrire à l’aide d’une équation matricielle.

Karine Collette, Françoise Pouech, et Blandine Rui, Université de Franche-Comté (France)
La rédaction de courriers administratifs … recentrage sur l’usager-lecteur

Le travail présenté a pour cadre le projet de recherche-développement "Qualité du Langage Courant de l'Administration" commandité par deux Ministères français, le Ministère de la Fonction publique et de la Réforme de l'Etat et le Ministère de la Culture, au Laboratoire du Centre de Linguistique Appliquée " Geste, Parole, Scripturalité et Didactique des langues ". Un des objets de ce projet est l’élaboration d’un " Guide de rédaction " à l’usage des agents rédacteurs de courriers administratifs sur le territoire français. Nous nous proposons, dans cette communication, d'adopter principalement le point de vue de la réception et donc celui des usagers. Dans un premier temps, nous mettrons en évidence ce qui, dans le(s) mode(s) d'écriture des courriers administratifs, peut perturber voire bloquer la construction de sens des récepteurs. Pour ce faire, nous nous appuyerons sur les investigations menées auprès des usagers et sur l'analyse des courriers administratifs. Dans un second temps, nous montrerons quels types de modifications d'écriture permettraient plus facilement à des usagers citoyens de construire du sens et donc de bénéficier de leurs droits et de s'acquitter de leurs devoirs en toute connaissance de cause.


10 h 45 – 11 h 30

Présidence : Isabelle Clerc, Université Laval

Céline Beaudet et Christiane Bessette, Université de Sherbrooke
Rédaction, persuasion et clarté : le cas des textes utilitaires

Le texte utilitaire est une action langagière, très souvent d’orientation persuasive. On doit pouvoir évaluer sa clarté à partir de critères bien énoncés, à la fois pour guider le travail du rédacteur professionnel dans ses choix discursifs, et pour enseigner aux apprentis rédacteurs des stratégies d’écriture susceptibles de favoriser la clarté textuelle. Dans cette optique, nous présenterons une grille de critères prenant en compte, d’une part, les indices de lisibilité microstructurelle et, d’autre part, des indicateurs linguistiques et discursifs de l’intelligibilité du texte argumentatif, affectant sa cohésion, sa cohérence et sa pertinence. Une attention particulière sera accordée à la structure de l’argumentation et aux procédés métadiscursifs visant à rendre plus lisible l’architecture des textes (ce qui affecte sa cohésion), procédés dont l’importance est accrue par le recours aux technologies du multimédia. Des exemples de textes utilitaires pris dans le milieu de l’action communautaire seront examinés, à l’appui du modèle proposé.

Déjeuner, 12 h - 13 h 15

13 h 15 – 15 h

Présidence : Pamela Grant, Université de Sherbrooke

Armande Saint-Jean, Université de Sherbrooke
La communauté journalistique québécoise se parle via la Journa-liste : discours et pratiques communicationnelles

Le Web a permis aux journalistes du Québec de se doter d’un forum d’échanges inédit. Établie et gérée sous l’égide de la Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec, la Journa-liste regroupe plusieurs membres de la communauté journalistique. Les échanges portent à la fois sur l’actualité journalistique et sur des questions de déontologie ou d’éthique. Toutefois, les pratiques discursives semblent dénoter un écart marqué par rapport au niveau moyen d’écriture généralement observé dans les médias. Quand les journalistes discutent entre eux, via un forum électronique, ont-ils tendance à se laisser aller? Existe-t-il deux règles d’écriture, l’une pour les travaux professionnels, l’autre pour les échanges informels? Une observation des communications adressées à la Journa-liste au cours des derniers mois permet de dresser un certain nombre de constats.

Éric Kavanagh, Université Laval
Structurer le multimédia ou l’art d’atténuer l’«anxiété de l’information»

Le destinataire des écrits professionnels est généralement envisagé comme simple lecteur par le rédacteur. On s’interroge sur son rapport au texte, mais beaucoup moins souvent sur son rapport au document lui-même. Cependant, avec l’avènement des TIC, de l’interactivité et des manipulations nouvelles qu’elles supposent, ce destinataire, toujours lecteur bien sûr, devient de façon plus évidente encore un « utilisateur » de produits multimédias. On s’intéresse alors non plus seulement à ses compétences en lecture, mais aussi à ses compétences techniques et à ses savoirs « génériques ». Dans cette communication, nous tenterons de brosser un tableau général et représentatif de la démarche de structuration multimédia, démarche située en amont de la production. Arborescence de contenu, scénarisation, orientation et navigation seront les termes et les notions clés de cette présentation. Pour chacune de ces étapes, nous discuterons la place du rédacteur professionnel formé ou non pour les TIC. Les compétences du rédacteur seront présentées dans la perspective toute particulière de l’Information Anxiety, terme proposé pour la première fois par R. S. Wurman, architecte de l’information.

C. Beaudoin et Réné LeSage, Université Laval
Qu’est-ce qu’une phrase simple?

Les consignes de rédaction dans une langue claire et simple portent sur les mêmes objets linguistiques d’un manuel à l’autre. Ainsi, la structure de la phrase fait l’objet de recommandations presque identiques dans la plupart des documents portant sur le sujet ; invariablement, le thème de la phrase simple est repris. La phrase est définie notamment par sa longueur, par des consignes visant l’ordre des mots et la contiguïté des groupes constituants, par l’absence de complexité. Cette description s’appuie sur l’expérience pratique et, sans doute, sur des recherches en lisibilité et en intelligibilité. Les consignes trouvent donc leur fondement dans une réflexion sur le rapport entre la structure de la phrase et la compréhension en lecture. L’écriture de textes dans une langue claire et simple ne peut se réduire à la simple juxtaposition de phrases. Les consignes portant sur la phrase simple doivent être considérées dans l’optique de l’architecture textuelle. Dans cette perspective, nous avons examiné des textes administratifs qui cherchent à répondre aux exigences de la langue claire et simple. Nous avons alors observé dans quelle mesure le choix d’une structure complexe pouvait être motivé par la recherche de la clarté et de la simplicité dans l’ordre du texte.

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