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Subject:Hello from Oz and Re: Foreign languages... From:Margaret Penman <Margaret -dot- Penman -at- ITS -dot- CSIRO -dot- AU> Date:Tue, 8 Nov 1994 12:25:57 +1100
I've just joined this list, having only just discovered its existence at the
Spring Seminar run by the ASTC (Australian Society for Technical
Communication). This seminar also gave me the chance to listen to some very
impressive writers/speakers from the States, namely JoAnn Hackos and Joanne
I saw Paul Strandlund's reply to Susan Fowler on "Re: Foreign languages a
measure of intelligence?" and couldn't resist making a comment, even
though I didn't see Susan's original message.
Basically, I agree with Paul when he says that there seems to be a
correlation betweena person's aptitude in music, languages and mathematics
and would add the following personal observations/views (again unsupported by
any articles I could quote).
I propose that good communicators have (amongst other things):
* the ability to recognise the patterns within a system and the
relationships between its components (analysis),
* the ability to view a system/idea from several perspectives
(imagination, mental flexibility, empathy.)
Aren't mathematics and languages both complex symbolic systems ? (I think
music involves a bit more.)
Isn't the first step in being able to communicate effectively being
able to analyse the idea/system (the chunking principle)? And isn't the
second step being able to empathise with your audience so that you can
present this idea in a way that is easily understood by them? (Different
And if so, what do we (communicators) have in common with mathematicians and
musicians? I propose we all have highly developed analytical skills BUT that
* communicators have superb empathy,
* mathematicians have incredible processing powers/memories (200MG),
* musicians are in touch with their souls (subconscious/right-brain
call it what you will) and probably a whole lot more.
Deep Huh! And if I've misunderstood the purpose of this list, i.e. a forum for
the free exchange of ideas related to techwriting (of which cognitive
psychology is part) please let me know.
Margaret Penman (from Oz)
(Yes... I write computer manuals)
Margaret -dot- Penman -at- its -dot- csiro -dot- au