Vierailuluento: Daniel Perrin & Marlies Whitehouse: Going deep, reaching far – finding solutions to socially relevant problems of text production


18.1.2019 9:00 — 10:30

Sijainti: Seminaarinmaki, Lyhty, Seminaarinmäki
"Through writing, we create, store, and communicate knowledge, build up social networks, and generate the basis for decisions. Nevertheless, many people experience writing as a painful duty. In my presentation, I use the case of collaborative professional text production to discuss the concept of linguistic practice." (full abstract below)
Jyväskylään tammikuussa saapuvan medialingvistiikan professorin, AILAn puheenjohtajan Daniel Perrinin (Zurich University of Applied Sciences) päätyönä voi pitää The Linguistics of Newswriting (2013) -teosta, joka on uraauurtava sekä journalististen työprosessien kuvauksessa että (kirjoitetun ja puhutun) tekstintuottamisen tutkimuksen metodologian näkökulmasta. Lisäksi Perrin on ollut viime vuosina toimittamassa laajoja käsikirjoja, joista mainittakoon Handbook of Writing and Text Production (2014) ja The Routledge Handbook of Language and Media (2017). Yksityiskohtaisemmin Perriniin tutkijana ja tutkimuksen ulkopuolella voi tutustua hänen kotisivuillaan.
“Perrin’s work is ground-breaking, addressing attested gaps in the field of language and news media, notably in terms of production and process, which are difficult to investigate with existing linguistic tools.  - Colleen Cotter, Queen Mary, University of London
“The depth and breadth of the research seems unprecedented in my reading of the literature on literate activity in any domain.”  - Paul Prior, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Vierailuluennon abstrakti:
If language matters, then so does text production. The shift from an industrial society to an information society has increased the importance of writing and text production in daily life, in education, and in more and more professions related to fields such as economics and politics, science and technology, culture and media. Through writing, we create, store, and communicate knowledge, build up social networks, develop projects, inform colleagues and customers, and generate the basis for decisions. The quality of the writing used in these processes often plays a decisive role in social participation and resonance, opportunities in the labor market, and professional success.   

Nevertheless, many people experience writing and text production as a painful duty or a tedious routine. Beginners as well as experienced writing professionals may struggle to find the right words and syntax, to find the most convincing content and structure, and they complain about writing problems or even writing blocks. Obviously, text production places demands on semiotic, linguistic, intellectual, and motivational capacities in quite different ways from speaking, which usually seems much more manageable. This gap between the importance of writing and people’s competence raises the questions of how text production can be conceptualized, taught, and learned and, above all, what writing and text production are in terms of human activities.

In my presentation, I use the case of collaborative professional text production to discuss the concept of linguistic practice from both theoretical and practical perspectives. By drawing on large corpora of real-life data and applying the multi-method approach of progression analysis, practices are identified that allow for flexible planning in the dynamic system of text production. Findings show that key features of the text production practices under investigation, as well as of the writing phases they dominate, scale up. This means that the patterns found in both practices and phases recur in similar forms throughout the various levels and time frames of text production. They are manifested during the split seconds it takes to make stylistic decisions as well as over the days, weeks and months of organizational document cycling. This understanding of scalability reaches far beyond former concepts of planning in text production research.

In conclusion, it appears that text production research conducted in real-life contexts sharpens theoretical approaches to linguistic practices on the one hand and contributes to sustainably solving practical problems on the other.
Daniel Perrinin esitelmän yhteydessä tutkija Marlies Whitehouse (Zurich University of Applied Sciences) esittelee tapaustutkimuksen finanssialan kirjoitus- ja lukutaidosta.

Financial literacy as key to the language of numbers
Lacking knowledge in financial matters is one of the reasons why individuals cannot or do not set up investment plans for their current and future wealth. Unfortunately, an insufficiently financed pension, for example, can lead to dependency on social welfare, which is paid by society-at-large. (Whitehouse 2019)

Financial literacy can prevent this – as it is “the knowledge and understanding of financial concepts and risks, and the skills to make effective decisions across a range of financial contexts to improve the financial well-being of individuals and society, and to enable participation in economic life” (OECD, 2014).  

In my presentation, I define the key concepts of financial literacy and context awareness. Based on a long-term qualitative corpus, I use pragmatic text analysis to explain how the lack of intra-lingual translation affects individuals and what the social costs can be. I conclude by showing which measures can improve the communicative potential of financial text products.


Lauri Haapanen


Humanistis-yhteiskuntatieteellinen tiedekunta, Kieli- ja viestintätieteiden laitos