This week’s blog post is a write-up of an exchange with Sumana Harihareswara stemming from her post here.

Her post reminded me of a book we read in one of my favorite classes last year: The Global English Styleguide

The class was called “Writing Across Borders,” dealing half with the theoretical underpinnings of cross-cultural communication, and half with concrete techniques for improving such skills. We read the Global English Style Guide as part of the practical half. It was actually my favorite textbook that semester (I think because of all my weird linguistic quirks and love of theory.)

It’s a very concrete guide to balancing concision with accurate information, while also writing internationally comprehensible English that can be more easily translated. It should be especially of interest to RCers interested in communication because it’s mainly focused on technical writing

I thought of it while reading Sumana’s post because of the idiom “noodling around.” Sometimes I catch myself writing deeply idiomatic English and think to myself, “Whoops, maybe I should change this,” because at least in theory, it’s very important to me that anyone from any country be able to parse out the information I’m presenting. Much like how I want the open-source tools I write to be ergonomic, I want my English to be, too! An alternate title for this book might be “Ergonomic English.”

I was actually so inspired by the Style Guide that I wrote a poem about, “Ode to the Global English Style Guide.” In the coming weeks I’m planning to put up a poetry collection on Gumroad so y’all can read it online!