|Ph.D Student||Stav Tamy|
|Subject||The Language of Planning: Conveying and Obscuring Messages|
|Department||Department of Architecture and Town Planning||Supervisor||Professor Emeritus Rachelle Alterman|
What are the linguistic characteristics in the practice of urban and regional planning and how do these characteristics influence the messages written in plans? We assumed that a professional community of planners is being formed; that this community has its own ways of using language; and, that the use of language is important in the professional activity of planners.
The empirical research encompassed seven case studies, sharing the same interpretative framework. In each case study the plan’s text was analyised quantitatively, comparing frequency of various linguistic traits to several English corpora, and qualitatively, revealing what was unique to the plan. We selected seven plans: four British plans and three U.S. plans.
The results from the case studies were compared twice. Direct comparison of quantitative data gave us a view of common trends in the articulation of plans. Interpretative comparison of the relations between articulation to context and goals of the plans helped uncover recurrent patterns of language use among planners.
The computerized analysis showed clear trends in the frequency of various linguistic structures relative to two other English registers - general and government documents. We further found, that various contextual factors such as the planning system or the national dialect did not matter much in articulating the plan. It seemed that the main factor influencing the wording of case studies was the professional norms of writing plans. We therefore conclude that there exists a “language of planning” which spans planners across the Atlantic, despite their different institutional and other contexts.