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zompist bboard • View topic - Cultural approaches to handbooks

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:09 am 
Avisaru
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This isn't strictly linguistic, but I don't know where else to put it. Bear in mind that I'm quoting from my memory of something I read nearly twenty years ago.

Different cultures have different ways of presenting information in handbooks and instruction manuals. Here are the three I remember:


The American tradition typically presents the information hierarchically, so that the reader can find specific items quickly and easily.

The German tradition typically begins with several chapters explaining the history of the subject, so that the reader will be reassured that the subject is not trivial.

The Japanese tradition approaches the subject obliquely, establishing a setting in which the reader will feel at ease and comfortable with assimilating new information.


What other traditions do y'all know about? This could be an interesting addendum to the Culture Tests.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:13 am 
Smeric
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:53 am 
Smeric
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What kind of handbooks do you have in mind? This just reminded me of a book I have in Malayalam with the script of a Kathakali play. Most of the book is just background information about Kathakali and this particular play, the various adaptations of this play that have historically been performed over the years, etc. All of this comes before the actual script, which is accompanied with lots of footnotes (there are so many footnotes that each page only has a few actual lines of the play). Then I think there are a few essays by several professors who specialize in Kathakali, traditional drumming, or other such pertinent subjects at the back of the book regarding this play. I don't know whether this is standard practice for these kinds of books or not.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:30 pm 
Boardlord
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That would be standard practice in France, especially chez Larousse. I have several editions of French plays which have a huge structure of critical apparatus.

I think the American/British preference is only enough apparatus so you can read the text. You could put everything in a critical edition, but only libraries would buy it.

(I love Hans-Werner's anecdote, though surely we should add that the Méditations would be exquisitely written. Claude Lévi-Strauss's memoirs, Tristes tropiques, includes a 10-page essay from his diary about a storm he saw. He describes the hell out of that storm.)


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:29 pm 
Avisaru
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Zompist, didn't you once write about how academics love to start their books by defining their subject at length, and how, in your opinion, readers might as well skip to chapter 2, where authors tend to forget their own definitions and actually start to talk about things?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:33 pm 
Avisaru
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:09 pm 
Avisaru
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:33 pm 
Avisaru
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:45 am 
Avisaru
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 3:08 pm 
Lebom
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My favorite part is the overlong "introduction" that casually spoils all the plot twists, and is basically incomprehensible if you haven't already read and studied the play.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:12 pm 
Sanno
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:29 pm 
Smeric
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If we don't study the mistakes of the future we're doomed to repeat them for the first time.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:34 pm 
Smeric
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 5:24 pm 
Sumerul
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Dibotahamdn duthma jallni agaynni ra hgitn lakrhmi.
Amuhawr jalla vowa vta hlakrhi hdm duthmi xaja.
Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:16 pm 
Avisaru
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It's just the "positive anymore" ≅ "nowadays", right? http://ygdp.yale.edu/phenomena/positive-anymore, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Positive_anymore


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:55 pm 
Smeric
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:22 pm 
Sumerul
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Positive anymore is firmly ungrammatical to me, and not simply in the prescriptive sense of "ungrammatical".

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Dibotahamdn duthma jallni agaynni ra hgitn lakrhmi.
Amuhawr jalla vowa vta hlakrhi hdm duthmi xaja.
Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:42 pm 
Smeric
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It is to me, too. That would seem to make sense since it's only limited to certain varieties of English. I'm of the opinion that if other people use positive anymore, well, they do, I don't, and that's all there is to it.


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