The Purpose of Language

The next time you sit down to write something, chances are you’ll have one of the below three purposes in mind.

Expressive Purpose

Expression can mean writing down thoughts or opinions about something without taking the reader into account. A request to provide an opinion or analysis about something can come from a supervisor or another team member in an organization. Expressive writing can sometimes carry risk in the context of organizational dynamics if the expressed opinions are somehow determined to be not in favor.

Informative Purpose

This type of writing seeks to convey information, educate, advise, among other things. In contrast to expressive writing, informative writing should take into account its audience in order to be effective. Informative writing tends to place importance on accuracy and clarity in communication style.

Cognitive Purpose

Cognitive writing has the objective of affecting its audience in ways that stir thought, persuade, or motivate action toward a particular goal. Organizations set goals which can evolve over time. Leaders may use this type of writing to rally support for a particular idea or initiative.

In the course of performing translation services, professional linguists may take into account the intention of the source text in order to best convey its meaning in a target language.

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