Writing to the World Wide
January 29th Recap:
Quiz 1 and Language Conventions
Check your answers to Quiz 1 to the real
answers. If you have any questions about anything on the quiz, please let me know.
To continue our thinking about language conventions, we briefly returned once again to looking at the Car
Talk website, and specifically the language conventions that are used to give communicate a
conversational, humorous, and personal-feeling character.
- First person “we” orientation. The authors (presumably the Car Talk guys from the radio show)
continually refer to themselves using the pronoun “we.”
- Second person “you” orientation. Besides refering to themselves, the authors also add a little
personal interaction to the site by directly addressing “you” the reader.
- Imperative. In some instances, the authors issue commands — all in gest — to the reader: “Start
- Adjectives. The adjectives that the authors use are common and conversational: “lousy” website;
“shameless” consumerism, etc.
- Contractions. To further make the voice of the text conversational in tone, the authors you many
- Cultural references. The authors make a few references to specific cultural icons that the reader
to understand to appreciate the humor: “Nader” (a reference to consumer advocate Ralph Nader).
- Narrative. The authors use storytelling to keep the reader interested in the site.
- Colloquialims. The authors use language that is normally used only in face-to-face conversations.
Again, this conveys personal character.
All together, these language conventions convey a specific tone or character for the text. This tone
messages well with the purpose of the site: it’s an entertainment source primarily, while secondarily its a
information source for people with car problems.
When you look at the Car Talk pages, look at the graphics. Do they fit into the tone that the language
conveys? In the coming weeks we’ll be looking at the role that graphics play in establishing the character
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