Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Speaking and Writing; Complexity and Agility

Lurking within this post is a rebuttal to the following principle of Agile Development:

The most efficient and effective method of
conveying information to and within a development
team is face-to-face conversation.

Near the end, the post compares spoken and written communication:

In a sense, RSVP [Rapid Serial Visual Presentation – Ed.], with its inflexibility in the timing of information flow, turns reading back into something a lot more like spoken language comprehension, though without some of the nuanced information we get from intonation or facial and body movements. Clearly, we do manage to cope with spoken language, even without the benefits of regressive listening or control over the presentation rate of speech. What written language does, though, is liberate language from the temporal tyrannies that are present during the comprehension—and production—of language. This is one of the main reasons why written language often achieves a complexity that is seldom heard in spoken language. [Emphasis mine – Ed.]

Note: In this context, RSVP involves presenting sentences to the reader one word at a time—at a fixed location on a screen—using a controlled rate of presentation. That removes an essential aspect of reading: the ability to backtrack to reconcile a parsing ambiguity, a homograph, or any other source of confusion.

Language Log: So much to read, so little time

Principles behind the Agile Manifesto

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