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The Ethos of Humor in Technical Communication

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Date Issued:
2013
Abstract/Description:
Within the realm of technical communication, humor has often been regarded as an unnecessary or risky rhetorical device that can negatively impact the credibility of a document. While many other professional fields, such as medicine, computer technology fields, or business have used humor, and humor continues to crop up in (")user as producer(") documentation, technical writing continues to approach humor cautiously and with little theoretical guidance. In order to fully understand how humor functions, it is important to understand the main theories of humor: superiority, relief, and incongruity. It is also important to understand how humor functions, by looking at Meyer's four functions of humor: identification, clarification, enforcement, and differentiation. Some primary and secondary manuals have successfully used a rhetorical strategy incorporating humor. Google uses a persona and situated ethos that projects a sense of fun and humor, and incorporates some humor into their documentation. The (")(")For Dummies(")(") series is well known and recognized for the situated ethos of providing fun, entertaining direction, while individual authors choose a specific invented ethos for each book written. The three theories of humor and four functions of humor can be applied to humor used in Google and (")(")For Dummies(")("). This demonstration better highlights how humor operates and functions in communication, and can provide technical communicators with a tool to use when considering the application of humor in documentation. The application further highlights the need for greater understanding of how humor affects the credibility and success of documentation.
Title: The Ethos of Humor in Technical Communication.
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Name(s): Roberts, David, Author
Applen, John, Committee Chair
Dombrowski, Paul, Committee Member
Flammia, Madelyn, Committee Member
, Committee Member
University of Central Florida, Degree Grantor
Type of Resource: text
Date Issued: 2013
Publisher: University of Central Florida
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Within the realm of technical communication, humor has often been regarded as an unnecessary or risky rhetorical device that can negatively impact the credibility of a document. While many other professional fields, such as medicine, computer technology fields, or business have used humor, and humor continues to crop up in (")user as producer(") documentation, technical writing continues to approach humor cautiously and with little theoretical guidance. In order to fully understand how humor functions, it is important to understand the main theories of humor: superiority, relief, and incongruity. It is also important to understand how humor functions, by looking at Meyer's four functions of humor: identification, clarification, enforcement, and differentiation. Some primary and secondary manuals have successfully used a rhetorical strategy incorporating humor. Google uses a persona and situated ethos that projects a sense of fun and humor, and incorporates some humor into their documentation. The (")(")For Dummies(")(") series is well known and recognized for the situated ethos of providing fun, entertaining direction, while individual authors choose a specific invented ethos for each book written. The three theories of humor and four functions of humor can be applied to humor used in Google and (")(")For Dummies(")("). This demonstration better highlights how humor operates and functions in communication, and can provide technical communicators with a tool to use when considering the application of humor in documentation. The application further highlights the need for greater understanding of how humor affects the credibility and success of documentation.
Identifier: CFE0004920 (IID), ucf:49629 (fedora)
Note(s): 2013-08-01
M.A.
Arts and Humanities, English
Masters
This record was generated from author submitted information.
Subject(s): humor -- ethos -- technical communication -- mayer -- identification -- enforcement -- clarification -- differentiation
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/ucf/fd/CFE0004920
Restrictions on Access: public 2013-08-15
Host Institution: UCF

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