Jargon; to medal; intro. David B.; rhetoric of science

Subject: Jargon; to medal; intro. David B.; rhetoric of science
From: LaVonna Funkhouser <lffunkhouser -at- HALNET -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 1994 12:13:05 -0600

subjects: verbing _medal_, jargon, introducing David, rhetoric of science

A new subscriber to our list, David Bleckley, sent me
the message below in response to my inquiry about the
verb "to medal." I thought others might enjoy his comments,
so I received permission to post it to the list. At the
end of his message, David introduces himself and seeks information that
might help him in his pursuit of studies in the rhetoric of science.

BTW, other private responses included some who said
they first noticed the verb used in 1992, and one person who
said that other similar verbs (namely, "to ribbon")
are used in other competitions. Personally, I am not
really bothered by the verb (even though it does have
a homophone), but I (and other respondees) would choose
to say "win a medal." I've noticed that CBS seems to be
deliberately choosing to use "to medal"; I've not heard
it on National Public Radio or read it in magazines.

LaVonna Funkhouser lffunkhouser -at- halnet -dot- com
president-elect Oklahoma chapter of STC

--------------------------begin Dave's message--------------------
>Date: Mon, 14 Feb 94 16:16 CST
>To: hsll05
>From: David Bleckley
> <AA4727%uokmvsa -dot- backbone -dot- uoknor -dot- edu -at- internet>
>Subject: "To Medal"


>I remember having heard sports announcers using "medal" as a verb as
>long ago as the Seoul Olympics, and I may have heard it before that
>time. I suspect that this usage is a bit of athlete's jargon that the
>broadcasters adopted and foisted off on us. It doesn't seem difficult to
>understand, so I'm not comfortable railing against its use. Still, I
>think it is somewhat tacky, and prefer "to earn [a] medal[s]". My
>preference probably stems from my personal stylistic taste. I think that
>English is enriched by some usages that enter the mainstream from jargon
>in various fields, but I don't think "to medal" will have more than a
>limited and situational place. We'll probably continue to hear broadcasters
>who are reporting the Olympics use the verb, but we won't hear it outside
>of this and similar contexts.

>I'm glad you brought this up on TechWr-L because I think we technical
>writers should be aware of the use of jargon and consider the likelihood
>of each instance in terms of whether it will enhance communication.
>Because communication takes place within a given context . . . (blah, blah,
>and other things you already know). Sometimes, we improve the communication
>by using jargon. (The recent posting about computer documentation written
>for experts points to one such case.)

>I doubt that broadcasters' using "to medal" enhances their communication,
>but, in the context, I think the usage is more likely to be neutral than
>detrimental--except when the listener is a semi-curmudgeonly purist like
>me. And years of listening have persuaded me that broadcasters haven't
>chosen me for their prototypical listener.

>Now that I've flooded your screen, I'd like to introduce myself. I'm
>David Bleckley, a new subscriber to TechWr-L. I hope I haven't violated
>any rules of netiquette; I appologize if I have. I'm new to the world
>of e-mail and hope to learn the ins and outs, so I'd appreciate any
>advice you might give me.

>I'm a 40-yr-old graduate student in retraining at the Univ of Oklahoma
>in Norman. I teach technical writing to juniors, seniors, and graduate
>students from nearly all the science and engineering departments on
>campus. My main research interest is Rhetoric of Science, particularly
>the rhetorical and textual features in articles by professional

>If you have something that might be useful or interesting for me or my
>students, please let me know.

>David Bleckley
>Department of English
>University of Oklahoma
>760 Van Vleet Oval
>Norman, OK 73019

>Bleckley -at- uoknor -dot- edu
----------------------end Dave's message----------------
Techwr-l folks:
BTW, I've already mentioned STC and its Scientific Comm.
Professional Interest Committee to Dave.

If you have info. on the rhetoric of science, others on
techwr-l (like me!) might enjoy what you have to say, so
you might post it to the list.

Also, I believe OU's Internet access is through a mainframe,
non-Unix machine, so if you wish to write to Dave directly,
you *might* need to translate his address to something like
AA4727 -at- uokmvsa -dot- backbone -dot- uoknor -dot- edu

It works for me. ==LaVonna

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