From Linguistics to Human Factors

Up to this point, I have shed light on many different aspects of Web texts from a linguistic and communicative point of view. I have explained that a modern approach towards text linguistics has a broader conception of a particular piece of language; consequently, an author must also consider the context of the intended discourse that a text shall be part of. According to the communicative dilemma of written texts, the context in which a text shall be understood must be given in the text.

2007-09-28 08:56 | ,


The most important characteristic of the Web in general, and – at the same time – the Web’s foundation and materialisation is its ‘hypertext’ structure. In order to define hypertext, the simplest way is to contrast it with traditional texts, as e.g. my M.A. thesis. Reading this paper means that there is “a single linear sequence defining the order in which the text is to be read” (Nielsen 1995, p 1), that is from chapter 1 to chapter 5. “Hypertext is non-sequential; there is no single order that determines the sequence […].” (Nielsen 1995, p 1)

2007-09-25 09:47 |

Text Meets Design

After a four weeks summer break I will continue with a topic that matters much to me and to the work of our design agency. This posting is all about the relevance of Web design issues for text production, for which I will present three reasons, leading to a Web designs credo that we follow day by day.

2007-09-05 09:32 |

Features of Online Discourse

Book recommendation / advertisement: Buy this book at! Halliday & Hasan (1989) provide a useful approach derived from the field of discourse analysis that can contribute to understand the context of situation in which a text shall function. Their simple conceptual framework of three headings serves “to interpret the social context of a text, the environment in which meanings are being exchanged” (Book recommendation / advertisement: Buy this book at! Halliday & Hasan 1989, p 12). I consider knowing this environment as essential for the creation of Web texts in general.

2007-07-11 09:37 |

Speaking Geek and Other Bloopers

As I have announced in the previous posting, Johnson (2003) has identified a couple of mistakes that publishers of Web sites frequently make, as they may not be aware of the communicative dilemma of Web texts. Some very basic ideas are given in this article in order to sensitise the readers of my blog to make up their minds about something so trivial – but with an enormous impact on successful communication.

2007-07-06 21:26 | ,

Context of Online Communication: A Communicative Dilemma

Now that we are reassured to rely on the written text for communication on the Web (see the previous posting), we may move towards another important aspect that Web authors must be aware of. Kana et al. (2003) have described a communicative dilemma of Web texts (and written text in general) that represents THE competitive challenge in writing for the Web.

2007-07-05 18:57 | ,

What Actually Is a Text?

Traditionally, a text used to be understood as a piece of written language, say a poem, a novel or a single chapter in a book (see Fairclough 1995). To modern linguists a text is “[…] any instance of living language that is playing some part in a context of situation […]. It may be either spoken or written, or indeed in any other medium of expression that we like to think of” (Halliday & Hasan 1989, p 10). Essentially, a text is a semantic unit that cannot simply be “defined as being just another kind of sentence, only bigger” (Halliday & Hasan 1989, p 10). It is rather the inherent meaning that defines a unit of language a text, although this meaning is still coded in words or structures, which in turn have to be recoded in sounds or letters, as Halliday & Hasan (1989) further explain.

2007-06-24 20:21 |

The Use of Literature on Classical Linguistics and Related Topics

As a company’s goals determine the discourse that the Web content must serve, I have approached linguistic questions from the perspective of discourse analysis. That is, I have studied the relationship between the language (Web texts) and the context in which it is used (i.e. e-commerce), following Book recommendation / advertisement: Buy this book at! McCarthy’s (1991) definition of discourse analysis.

2007-06-09 12:46 |

Introduction: (Still) growing Internet usage necessitates Web texts that work out

During the last ten to fifteen years the Internet has become an important factor to conduct many of our daily activities at home and on the job. As a medium of information and communication the Internet reached indispensable status for business and science, but for private usage as well.

2007-05-06 09:04 |

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