Saturday, December 10, 2011

On ad-speak and poetry

On ad-speak and poetry shamelessly re-posted in toto from Harriet the Blog at the Poetry Foundation

Ian Daly — a “planning director and cultural strategist” at a marketing firm in New York called Anomaly — recently compiled a list of words and phrases that he titled “Shit I Never Said Before Working in Advertising.” A sampling:

Blow it out

Ladder it up

Tease it out

Bullet it out

Build it out

Build affinity

Soft launch

Hard stop

Fair push

Push back

Reach out

Touch base

Connect around

Loop in

Circle back



Share of mind

Are you tracking? I’m tracking.

And it goes on, reading a little like a weirdly intricate instruction manual, a little like half-baked inspirational literature, and maybe a little like… poetry?

We’re reminded of Robert Archambeau’s recent essay on the various ways that advertising has co-opted (unwittingly?) the language and approach of Symbolist poetry. Writing about Lexicon — the company behind such evocative product names as “Blackberry,” “Swiffer,” and “Pentium Chip” — Archambeau says:

The greatest of Symbolists Stéphane Mallarmé, in his Crise de vers describes the poetry he admires as… “verse that from its constituents makes up a total word, new, strange to the language and like an incantation”. For him, the poem itself was a single word. And like the words coined by the people at Lexicon, Mallarmé’s total word gives us “an array of specific, resonant meanings and associations” rather than something more defined and limited.

Read Ian Daly’s full list and Robert Archambeau’s full article.

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Sunday, December 04, 2011

Short simple sentences will get you through!

Post by Patrick at Academic writing 
This post is for students who are having problems with writing longer texts: write short simple sentences! If your teacher can't understand what you are saying, then your marks will plummet  (students of English for International Finance will know the meaning!). Look at this paragraph from a website about the rise of house prices:
One of the main factors in the UK housing market is the acute shortage of housing, especially in popular areas. This means that even a very small increase in demand has a proportionally bigger increase in price.
Understand the main point? Yes! It's a great example of clarity in writing. Academic writing is a vehicle for IDEAS. Good academic writing is not noticed at all, because the reader can just focus on the content.
In fact, you don't need to be very inventive at all. Just use one of a small variety of sentence patterns you can see from the Online Writing Lab at Purdue University here.
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