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Megaa revised
Megaa revised
Megaa revised
Megaa revised
Megaa revised
Megaa revised
Megaa revised
Megaa revised
Megaa revised
Megaa revised
Megaa revised
Megaa revised
Megaa revised
Megaa revised
Megaa revised
Megaa revised
Megaa revised
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Megaa revised


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  • Ask: on average how may letters do you get a week—things that come through your mailbox? What about email?
  • Transcript

    • 1. Ars DictaminisThen and Now: Toward a Multimodal Approach
      Chanon Adsanatham
      March 25, 2011
    • 2. 117 billion letters were processed in 2009.
      2.8 million emails are sent every second.
    • 3. “There is scarcely any Species of Composition deserves more to be cultivated, than the Art of Writing Letters, since none is of more various or frequent Use, through the whole Course of human Life.” Charles Johnson, The Complete Art of Letter-writing, 1770
    • 4. Focus
      How has letter writing been theorized in the past?
      How do contemporary business textbooks teach letter writing?
      How might we recast the canons of rhetoric as a multimodal heuristic for letter writing in the 21st century?
    • 5. History: Antiquity
      Demetrius’s On Style (1st century BC)
      “virtual image of the writer’s soul”
      not too long nor too grand in style
      Language = plain, simple
      Julius Victor (4th century CE)
      2 kinds of letters
      Familial: use plain style
      Official: use ornamented style
    • 6. History: The Middle Ages
      Birth of ars dictaminis (1087)
      Alberic: Letter = 5 standard parts
      Exordium (goodwill)
      Narration (background)
      Petition (request)
      Style: cursus or rhythmic prose
    • 7. History: The Renaissance
      Erasmus (1469-1536)
      Argues against rigid formula
      Advice: adjust style and arrangement to fit the purpose and audience
      Places the rhetorical situation at the heart of letter writing
    • 8. History: 17th to 19th Century
      George Snell’s (1649) 5 parts of a letter:
      Proper greeting
      Respectful phrases
      Smooth closure
      Appropriate length
      Style = plain style
      Importance of grammar, politeness, grace
      Letter as a reflection of one’s class and character
      19th century: taught as a subject in school
    • 9. In sum
      Emphasize style + conventions
      Theory of style + arrangement
    • 10. Contemporary ars dictaminis
      How do contemporary textbooks teach letter-writing?
      8textbooks published between 2005-2011
    • 11. Common Textbook Features: In Order
      Linear writing process/analysis of the rhetorical situation
      invention = brainstorming and clustering
      revision = proofreading and checking accuracy
      Genres: letters, report, instructions, proposal, presentations, resumes
      Grammar manual in the appendix
      What do you notice about this ordering? Any implications?
    • 12. Letter Writing Coverage
      Writing that Works (Oliu, Brusaw, Alfred, 2010)
      Writing Email & Instant Messages
      Design consideration
      Writing & managing instant messages
      Designing Letters
      Inside address
      Signature block
      Routine and Positive Message
      Responding to inquiries
      Sales & promotions
      Negative Message
    • 13. Design Considerations in the Email Section
      How to use
      Block signatures
    • 14. But email messages are looking like this:
    • 15. And this:
    • 16. In Sum
      Rhetorical: focus on audience, purpose and context
      Focus on language, format and conventions (required elements)
      Current-traditional, “objective rhetoric” (Berlin, 1987)
      Logocentric: graphics and design not a part of letter-writing chapter
    • 17. What’s Missing: Why oh why?
      Emails are now like web interfaces.
      Why aren’t textbooks (and we) teaching students to pay more attention to design?
      What can we draw from rhetorical theory to help us address this gap?
    • 18. Ars DictaminisNow:
      Recasting the Canons of Rhetoric as a Heuristic for Letter Writing
    • 19. Invention
      Drawing from common topics
      Content often merge from various communications before writing (e.g. meetings, phone calls)
      Analyzing the rhetorical situation
      Using the heuristic as a thinking tool/aid
    • 20. Arrangement
      Following conventions with rhetorical flexibility
      Creating a professional ethos
      Using arrangement for emphasis
      Employing design and layout strategically
    • 21.
    • 22. Style
      Understanding why and how the following matter:
      Accuracy and perspicuity
      Emphasis and subordination
    • 23.
    • 24. Delivery
      Paying attention to how the media/medium impact
      the mode of delivery
      Distribution/circulation (Porter, 2009)
      Access/accessibility (Porter, 2009)
    • 25. Memory
      Using the elements in the canon to create a correspondence that is efficacious and enable readers to remember, retain and recall the message.
    • 26. goal
    • 27. What can we do with this theory?
      Does NOT replace the importance of alphabetic writing
      Use the heuristic to generate possibilities for how to compose a correspondence
      Conceptualize style as both a matter of language and visual design
      See the relationship between arrangement (the 3rd canon) and design and think about arrangement in a non-linear manner
    • 28. Pedagogical Application
      Breakdown and reframe the
      canons into exploratory
      questions and havestudents
      blog to them beforeconstructing
      a business correspondence.
      What type of media/medium can one use to compose and deliver the correspondence; what kind of “feel” and “look” are you going for; and how might this impact the quality of the message?
    • 29. In conclusion…
      A greater awareness of ars dictaminiscan help instructors and students become a more rhetorically and historically informed composers and readers of letters in the 21st century.
      By now over 300 billion emails would have been sent.