A. Manning

A. Manning
Brigham Young University - Provo Main Campus | BYU · Department of Linguistics & English Language

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51
Publications
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341
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Introduction
A. Manning currently works at the Department of Linguistics, Brigham Young University - Provo Main Campus. A. does research in Communication Design. His most recent publication (co-authored) is 'Plain-Style Preferences of US Professionals'.
Skills and Expertise

Publications

Publications (51)
Preprint
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The narrative-analysis literature demonstrates broad agreement about a number of points. Narrative is understood as the description of "events," a sequence of states changing over time. Narrative events are generally separated into categories: establishing setting, initiating events (conflict), plans (goals), action attempts (subplots), and final o...
Preprint
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A general semantic framework can be derived iconically from the basic system of human color perception. C.S. Peirce described raw colors as iconic qualisigns, forms interpreted as feelings based on similarity to generalized experience. Basic narrative elements are related to basic color meaning: setting = yellow/white (background), conflict = red (...
Article
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Background: Although plain language is almost universally promoted by teachers of professional writing, editors, and communication professionals, some have argued that the effects of and preferences for plain style in written messages differ among groups of individuals. Research questions: 1. Do professionals prefer plain style? 2a. Do preferences...
Article
Most sentence diagramming follows either the Reid-Kellogg (noun|verb)approach or some variant of Chomsky's syntax-tree (NPVP) approach. Both methods violate principles of effective visual design: graph lines should be implied wherever possible, aligned to an organizing grid, and diagram details should be scalable. Not surprisingly then, traditional...
Conference Paper
This is a work-in progress paper, describing a series of experiments conducted to determine the actual effects of parallel phrasing vs. non-parallel phrasing on readers. Traditionally, it has been assumed that parallel text enhances information recall more than non-parallel text, but no distinct evidence for this emerges in the data. However, the d...
Conference Paper
This is a work-in progress paper, describing the design of an experiment to measure emotional responses to form, color, and typeface design in study participants from non-US cultural backgrounds. The purpose is to determine the degree to which general patterns of response from English speaking, non-US participants resemble or differ from responses...
Article
Technical communicators in both academia and industry need to be made aware that there is no clear-cut boundary between "mere" document design issues and actual information-content issues. Current online menu design tends to overload menus with too many separate entries, too many distinct colors, too many flashing images or signals, toomany formal...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Various studies have correlated specific visual characteristics of typefaces with specific overall emotional effects: curvilinear forms and open letter shapes generally feel “friendly” but also “formal” or “informal,” depending on other factors; large contrasts in stroke widths, cap height, and aspect ratio generally feel “interesting,” but also “a...
Conference Paper
Environmentally sustainable industry practices have an ethical dimension, a sense of "rightness" opposed to the "wrongness" of ecologically destructive practices. Still, we face a challenge in demonstrating to skeptical audiences the connection between environmental ethics and more familiar ethical values: honesty, due diligence, quality assurance,...
Article
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Previous empirical studies have shown consistent emotional responses to form and color, across a variety of contexts and especially across cultures. What varies across contexts and cultures is evaluation of the color/form/emotion response. For example, both the color red and jagged, high contrast forms consistently evoke one emotional response neut...
Article
The general notion of balance in visual design is apparent, but what is lacking is a more precise specification of how that balance is defined in concrete terms and achieved with specific design techniques, the exact location of the tipping point, as it were, between effective and overused colors, forms, and imagery. This paper will report results...
Article
Those who submit manuscripts to academic journals may benefit from a better understanding of how editors weigh ethics in their interactions with authors. In an attempt to ascertain and to understand editors' ethics, we interviewed 3 current academic journal editors of technical and/or business communication journals. We asked them about the ethical...
Article
To date, business communication scholars and textbook writers have encouraged résumé rhetoric that accommodates technology, for example, recommending keyword-enhancing techniques to attract the attention of searchbots: customized search engines that allow companies to automatically scan résumés for relevant keywords. However, few scholars have disc...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Information economy, indeed any economy, requires some common medium of exchange. We therefore seek clarity and commonality in the vocabulary of visual language. Visual vocabularies have of course been proposed by others, but we can demonstrate that, so far, they possess an artificiality effectively preventing widespread adoption. Therefore, what w...
Conference Paper
We introduce an approach to grammar distinct from traditional approaches: instead of the eight parts of speech, we propose a four-part grammar system based on the functional components of sentences: , {modifier}, (complement), and head. Unlike traditional parts of speech, these functional components have consistent and reliable identification tests...
Article
Full-text available
Technical communication textbooks tend to address visual rhetoric as two separate units, usually a chapter on document design and then a chapter on graphics. We advocate teaching a unified system of visual rhetoric that encompasses both text and graphics within a common visual-language system. Using C. S. Peirce's three-part theory of rhetoric and...
Article
This paper brings together translation and linguistics, with the stated aim of offering a modest contribution to the on-going discussion of the nature of meaning in language and the nature of quality in translation. In translation, the paper contrasts two streams in translation theory: the longstanding tendency to find the one best approach to tran...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Though C.S. Peirce's triads of sign-object-interpretant and icon-index-symbol are often cited in passing, few are aware that Peirce (circa 1900) expanded these triads to describe ten categories of sign (three kinds of icon, four kinds of index, and three kinds of symbol). We show how Peirce's ten sign types correspond to ten distinct types of visua...
Article
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Visual ethics discussions usually consist of accuracy or injury issues. We note a third area of visual ethics that has been largely unexplored: the ethics of choosing decorative or indicative graphics over informative graphics. Oral presentations particularly tend to favor decorative and indicative graphics when informative ones would be more usefu...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Criticisms that Tufte and others have leveled against PowerPoint are not insurmountable defects of the programs themselves. These defects are generally due to an orientation, shared by program designers and users alike, and toward images rather than diagrams, toward perceptual decoration and object indication rather than toward visually mediated, i...
Conference Paper
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Though professional communication theorists typically borrow from other disciplines (linguistics, rhetoric, cognitive or social psychology, etc.) we might develop a freestanding theory of information design, related perhaps to other disciplines, but still independent, in the way that organic chemistry is a freestanding discipline separate in many w...
Article
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Previously, D. Leonard and J. Gilsdorf (1990) presented 45 instances of questionable usage, in full-paragraph contexts, to both academics and working business executives. These usage elements included sentence fragments, assorted punctuation problems, pronoun-antecedent (dis)agreement, and various examples of questionable word choice. Their intent...
Article
Thought, in the modern technical sense, is rather like travel. To travel without the aid of tools (cars, buses, and planes), that is, to walk, barely means travel at all in the modern sense. Likewise, to think in the modern sense means thought with tools. It is not enough to speak, or write with pen and paper, or even a typewriter. We have little c...
Conference Paper
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Lateral puzzles of the "thinking outside the box" type can only be solved by going outside the boundaries of the original problem statement. A parallel is here drawn between the solution heuristic for these puzzles and for the kinds of communication puzzles encountered by technical communication professionals. I argue that abstract theories, once p...
Article
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Explanation is the bread-and-butter activity of any technical communicator. We explain things for a living, but how well can any of us explain the nature of explanation itself? What makes technical explanation different from persuasion or narration? Web-based instructional systems have pushed us away from traditional kinds of paper-bound explanatio...
Article
Some years before electronic mail and Web-based hypertext became important features of professional communication, Robert Pirsig observed that information has always had higher value if it was organized in small chunks that could be accessed and sequenced at random. The paper discusses dynamic and static communication in electronic media
Article
Technical writers, for the most part, write user documentation of some kind. However, they also have skills that might enable them to also serve as user-advocates on product development teams and testers of prototype systems. In the computer hardware and software industry, they have the additional skills needed to develop online help tools, to desi...
Conference Paper
K. Echlin (1997) published her main research findings on infrasonic communication between elephants in the form of a novel, called “Elephant Winter”. Echlin was then invited to address the 1998 IPCC conference because of the “juxtaposition of both literary and extraordinarily effective technical writing evident in her book”. (T. Malkinson, 1998). E...
Conference Paper
Web site design can successfully merge artistic presentation and technical explanations. This is only possible however if these genres are unified within a general theory of information that nevertheless can manage real differences between genres. A common framework for all information types is found in Carroll's minimalist theory. Successful Web d...
Article
Looks at the application of minimalist principles in technical documentation
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Sortal concepts provide children with criteria for the categorical differentiation of count nouns and mass nouns in languages with a count/mass distinction. This article discusses the paradox encountered by Carey in her empirical studies of the continuity hypothesis, the view that innate infant perception of qualities and objects is identical to ad...
Conference Paper
The problems of nonlinear information design are not unique to modern media technologies such as the World-Wide Web. Newspaper writers have traditionally used guiding questions (who, what, when and where) to formulate the summary leads that allow each reader to idiosyncratically navigate a nonlinear narrative path through a newspaper. Thus, user ac...
Article
Students usually compose adequate descriptive abstracts, but many confuse summary abstracts with short paraphrases or descriptive abstracts. Textbooks define a summary abstract ambiguously, as a “mini-paper” and/or as a mere statement of an article's topic and conclusions; most textbooks maintain the conceptual distinction between summary and descr...
Article
Typologists tend to agree that the numerical distribution of the six logically possible orderings of S, O and V across the world's languages is SOV >62; SVO >62; VSO >62; VOS >62; OVS >62; OSV. Starting with Peirce's proposal that semantic form is diagrammatic (iconic) in nature, we then argue that the semantic relations of S, O and V are best char...
Article
Common technical graphics terms table, graph, chart, and diagram share a parallel logical structure with the four common types of technical graphics that the terms typically refer to. In the system of terminology as in the system of graphics types, four logical categories result from the possible permutations of two features. The abstract semantic...
Article
This article proposes a means of characterizing the difference between technical and literary writing, involving a theory of representation in which these distinct writing types are comparable to distinct types of visual representation. Any difference is only intelligible relative to a background of similarlity, but recent discussions of technical...
Article
Generative grammarians hypothesize that intuitively unacceptable syntactic forms violate rules and filters in the speaker/hearer's language-generating mechanism. This article considers a case in point, the acceptability of root and embedded clause forms of English. Filters needed to explain the data multiply to the point of differentiating a single...
Article
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It's ironic that, for much the same reason, beginning freshmen might find it difficult to stay in college and doctoral ABD students (=All But Dissertation) find it difficult to finally escape their college programs. From these different kinds of students the required level of complexity varies, but the fundamental inability remains the same: to fin...
Article
Full-text available
This paper describes a new theory for assigning members to engineering design teams. In most design classes at the university level, design teams are self-selected or randomly assigned by the instructor. Often this ad hoc approach to design team selection results in ineffectual or dysfunctional teams, which can adversely affect the quality of the p...

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Projects (4)