I think I'll be presenting at the Plain Language in Progress conference in September.
In theory, I'd suggest that it could be useful to examine Plain Language practice and prescription through a rhetorical / ethical lens.
Many Plain Language practitioners, it seems to me, have a tacit understanding of the language of public documents as, to use Chaim Perelman*s terms, *demonstrating,* rather than *arguing,* and are therefore perhaps less concerned with the ethical dimensions of language than the functional.
If one views public documents (e.g., contracts, instructional materials, announcements) as *arguments* rather than "demonstrations," aimed at *producing mutual understandings and therefore . . . the basis for inquiry into shareable truths* (John Gage, *An Adequate Epistemology . . . *) one can, I think tease out some interesting ethical implications.
Can anyone suggest some useful reading for me to help me think more coherently in this domain? I'd appreciate any suggestions.