Public discourse syndrome

Reformulating for clarity

Dana P. Skopal*, Maria Herke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to provide insights into the processes of public discourse and how information can be reformulated for public consumption. The article draws on data from readability research of public information documents conducted in Australia. Public information documents need to be understood by members of the public and a lexicogrammatical analysis, centred on a Theme and Rheme analysis, provides a platform through which readability, or a text's coherence, can be further examined. The readability data combined with text analyses demonstrate readers' preferences for clearer Theme structures and coherent development of information within the Rheme. The analysis highlights the functional differences between a text-section judged as difficult-to-read and a text-section preferred by the reader-participants, providing insights into the requirements for achieving clearer public discourse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-164
Number of pages24
JournalText and Talk
Volume37
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017

Keywords

  • information flow
  • plain English
  • public discourse
  • text analysis
  • Theme and Rheme

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