ERIC Number: EJ905021
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 26
Two Centuries of Progress in Technical Communication
Connatser, Bradford R.
Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, v37 n2 p129-149 2007
A common aphorism in the halls of education is that the writing skills of Americans decline over time. Compared to the "golden age of letters," so the argument goes, each subsequent generation of writers is worse than the last. Although contemporary readers and educators commiserate over encounters with bad writing, a fair comparison of 18th century American exemplars to modern American exemplars reveals a significant advance in clarity, an advance that technical communicators can be proud of. To demonstrate the advances in expository writing over the past two centuries, the author compares what the authors of the U.S. Constitution did with their limited resources to what modern professional communicators do with their abundance of resources. Many of the communication problems that were pervasive when the U.S. Constitution was created have since been remedied by insights emerging from the fields of linguistics, human factors, and cognitive psychology, among others.
Descriptors: Technical Writing, Communication Problems, Writing Improvement, United States History, Social History, Educational History, Communication Skills, Expository Writing, Writing Skills
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A