writing as metacommunication

“I don’t know what I think until I write it.” ~ Sonia reporting on a discourse analysis of international development workers.
Gregory Bateson had much to do with the term, metacommunication. (I will assume no insult against sign language is intended in this brief definition).
Too dense for my students (at least for use in the next few days), A Meta-Communication Model for Structuring Intercultural Communication Action Patterns looks like something to review for the next phase of wiki-instruction. This one, though, is intriguing if only for its abstract on “phantom intelligence transmitted by the writer to the reader” (Four Problems Relating To Awareness of Metacommunication in Business Correspondence). I had some Metacommunication in Rough and Tumble Play with the Magazine Teama today. Partly because of time management issues and partly because of a reluctance to take up their own authority. (We are going to have a way cool mag, though – everyone will be proud!)
I’ll have to study up on ethology before I can understand The Development of Social Interaction, Play, and Metacommunication in Mammals: An Ethological Perspective. A simpler definition is found at wikipedia. The challenge for my students is to imagine (and write about) metacommunication in their own – and each other’s – writings.

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