Language And Communication


It seems appropriate to mention how important it is to avoid writing in a manner that reinforces questionable assumptions and attitudes about people’s gender, ethnic background, religion, sexual orientation, physical ability or disability, or other characteristics. This isn’t just a matter of morality/ethics; it is a matter of clarity and good sense. We are a society that aspires to be just, a society that strives not to withhold its benefits from individual on the basis of their ethnic or racial background, religion or gender. We try to end practices and change or remotes institutions that are unjustly discriminatory. Some of these unfair practices and institutions are, unfortunately, embedded in our language.

In an analogous way, women have been far less visible in language than men and have thus been at a disadvantage. Another word for the human race is not “woman” but “man” or “mankind”. The generic human has often been referred to as “he”. Most of the times we picture a scientist. What we get is a picture of a man and not a woman, mostly if not always. That’s because the standard picture, or stereotypes, of a scientist. A careful and precise writer finds little need to converse in the lazy language of stereotypes, especially those perpetuate prejudice. As long as the idea prevails that the “normal” scientist is a man, women who are or who wish to become scientist will tend to be thought of as out of place.

It is unsuitable for our personal feeling to be exposed in our writing. Readers do not care how we feel about the issue of abortion, capitalism, or terrorism. Thus, use of the phrase “I feel” should be carefully used. Your feelings have no claim to universality and do not automatically transfer to the audience.

Clear writing, or sometimes called critical writing, is less likely to lead audience astray, is also less likely to cause conflicts and more likely to give us a clearer understanding in all areas of life. Even where it does not provide audiences/readers with the final answer to questions, it enables them to ask the proper question and indicates the right way to seek the truth. As a matter of importance, we should try to understand further and farther those things which could obstruct our attempts to write critically/clearly.

We should also mind our language lest it misleads us. We should also pay very close attention to our modes of reasoning, lest we fall into pits. We also have to be mindful of the hygiene of our information or data, which go into our thinking lest we have ‘garbage in garbage out’, because we only give what we have.

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