Show simple item record

dc.contributor.authorKerr, Kathleen T.en_US
dc.date.accessioned2014-08-28T08:00:35Z
dc.date.available2014-08-28T08:00:35Z
dc.date.issued2014-08-27en_US
dc.identifier.othervt_gsexam:3061en_US
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10919/50426
dc.description.abstractOn October 13, 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Plain Writing Act of 2010 into law. It requires federal government agencies to use plain writing in all "covered" documents "the agency issues or substantially revises" (Sec. 4 (b)). The goal of the Plain Writing Act is to "enhance citizen access to Government information" (Introduction) and improve government operations and accountability "by promoting clear Government communication the public can understand and use (Sec. 2). This dissertation examines what plain language, as the Act defines it and the U.S. federal government (USG) is implementing it, means and does at the various levels of language policy -- institutional, writer, and user. I argue that "real" plain language policy differs from the policy documented by the Plain Writing Act of 2010. While plain bureaucratic writing can help to make government documents more understandable for users, plain writing alone cannot achieve the Act's goals. Plain writing is a style of writing. As such, it is not only contingent, but it is also subjective and based on preference, which is impossible to legislate. Hence, plain bureaucratic writing is and does different things at different levels of language policy. Moreover, institutional- and writer-level representations of plain bureaucratic writing are at odds with user representations in many respects. Plain bureaucratic writing for USG agencies and federal writers is another way to describe good writing in the tradition of Edited American English and "fixes" the problem of bad government writing. At the user level, understandable writing is plain writing, regardless of whether it adheres to the principles of standard written English or the plain style. Plain language legislation does not affect the work of most writers in the study or their ability to do it. Nonetheless, user participants generally prefer plain language, reporting that they are more inclined to do what a government document intends for them to do when they understand it. Efforts to enhance government communication should focus on usability instead of plain language since usability is a better measure of the extent to which plain bureaucratic writing impacts the textual government-citizen interaction.en_US
dc.format.mediumETDen_US
dc.publisherVirginia Techen_US
dc.rightsThis Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. Some uses of this Item may be deemed fair and permitted by law even without permission from the rights holder(s), or the rights holder(s) may have licensed the work for use under certain conditions. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights holder(s).en_US
dc.subjectplain writingen_US
dc.subjectlanguage policyen_US
dc.subjectgovernmenten_US
dc.subjectcommunicationen_US
dc.titleA Study of the Plain Writing Act of 2010: Federal Agency, Writer, and User Appropriations of U.S. Plain Language Policyen_US
dc.typeDissertationen_US
dc.contributor.departmentEnglishen_US
dc.description.degreePh. D.en_US
thesis.degree.namePh. D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.grantorVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State Universityen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineRhetoric and Writingen_US
dc.contributor.committeechairPender, Kelly Elizabethen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberHeilker, Paul Vincenten_US
dc.contributor.committeememberEvia Puerto, Carlosen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberHausman, Bernice L.en_US


Files in this item

Thumbnail
Thumbnail
Thumbnail

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record