Who am I? A Yorta Yorta woman. Political addict. Food lover. Health nut. Appreciator of art. Self declared nerd. Singer who cant sing.
I blog about things close to my heart; Australian politics, Aboriginal issues, health, music, art, films and a variety of other topics.
Im a little bit cheeky and a lot smart and so of course all the views are my own.
Wednesday, 19 June 2013
Dont talk to me like that! I wont stand for your bad language!
nothing more irritating than someone trying to tell you something but you just don’t
get what they are saying. Yet health professionals do it all the time,
especially health communicators. Just because you are an expert in your health
area, does not mean that you are any good at explaining to other
people! We have all be there, a health professional is talking to you in what sounds kind of like English but you don't understand a word they are saying. Or you read a pamphlet and need a dictionary to understand what the hell it all means.
IF you are
one of those health professionals, who do not get that they SUCK at
communicating with us normal people, let me explain it to you.
When we use
language, whether we are speaking or writing we choose words, which have some
relationship to us as an individual. What our word choices tell people, either
consciously or subconsciously, is about who we are. For example, it can give
people clues about our age, education, and cultural background.
In an oral
context, language is more fluid. We are more accepting of the different way
people talk. We don’t usually try to get people to conform to a “normal” beyond
encouraging them to use situationally appropriate language, e.g. don’t swear
in front of your grandmother.In a
written context, people are less accommodating. This is in part due to the
rules of grammar but also because society has traditionally standardization
written communication more so than spoken language.
reduces our ability to communicate to specific target audiences.This should be common sense and is, for a
large number of people, with the exception of many health communicators. There
are still reports, health promotion materials, social marketing campaigns and a
variety of other written communication, which does not communicate in the
language of the target audience but rather uses the language the author
prefers. Dumb, dumb, dumb!
writing for an audience, we need to consider word choices which our audience
has some relationship with; not what the author would like to read. Words that
the audience can see themselves in, that they use, that describe their world
and their community. Doing this will help you communicate the message more
effectively. Commercial marketing understands these principles better than any
other group. They want their audience to see themselves using the product.
Picture the lifestyle they could obtain by purchasing the product. And to part
with their $$$ and buy the product. What health communicator’s want is for the
target audience to see the relevance of the message, the usefulness of the
message and take action. These principles are the same whether you are
advocating for change to government of you are working with clients to change their behaviour.
In an oral
context this principle is speech accommodation and in a written context, from a
health perspective it is health literacy. If we consider health literacy, from a
linguistic view point, Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) would be the most appropriate theory.
of SFL there is 3 metafunctions;
function has 2 separate components;
It is the
experiential function which
refers to the grammatical choices that enable speakers to make meanings about
the world around us and inside us. It is this function we need to consider the
most when writing for an audience.
into more details about the theory, health communication needs to always
remember that language is something that is “experienced”. It creates emotions,
visual images and meaning for a person. What that experience may be for the
author may not be the experience for the reader. Therefore understanding the
reader’s context is vital for communicating effectively.
you don’t want to waste your time, energy and money let go a little. If you
want to be successful in communicating your messages and really make a
difference, let someone who knows the business of communicating do it for or at
least with you. Think not about how you would like to be communicated with but
rather spend the time to understand the audience and communicate in a way they