Keywords

Humor, ethos, technical communication, mayer, identification, enforcement, clarification, differentiation

Abstract

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.

Notes

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Graduation Date

2013

Semester

Summer

Advisor

Applen, John

Degree

Master of Arts (M.A.)

College

College of Arts and Humanities

Department

English

Degree Program

English; Technical Communications

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0004920

URL

http://purl.fcla.edu/fcla/etd/CFE0004920

Language

English

Release Date

August 2013

Length of Campus-only Access

None

Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)

Subjects

Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic, Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities

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