Upcoming Annual Meeting: August 19–21, 2009

We're going to DENMARK!!

CPTSC local meeting website

Since this year’s conference coincides with the XVII European Symposium on Languages for Specific Purposes (LSP) in Aarhus, Denmark, the CPTSC theme embraces the opportunity to investigate the language of technical and scientific communication and its role in global and local practices. As an effort to coordinate with LSP, we see this year as an excellent chance to cross linguistic, institutional, and disciplinary borders while maintaining a focus on programmatic issues. We encourage submissions that yield new ideas pertaining to language in technical communication and which could possibly provide a foundation upon which to build programmatic connections and partnerships.

University of Aarhus website in English: http://www.au.dk/en. More information about the University can be found at http://www.au.dk/en/aarhus.htm.

We should note that our true host is a college within the university, Handelshøjskolen i Århus (Aarhus School of Business), which merged with the university only last year. (See http://www.au.dk/en/news/archive/061106.. You can see what programs it offers (including some entirely in English) at http://www.asb.dk/programmes.aspx>.

We'll be piggy backing onto the European Symposium on Language for Special Purposes. We hope that participants from both conferences will cross-register and cross-fertilize. Here’s the link to the their upcoming symposium http://www.asb.dk/article.aspx?pid=20009.

Call for Papers: 2009 Annual Conference of the CPTSC

Conference Location: Aarhus, Denmark

Conference Dates: August 19–21, 2009

Conference Theme: The Language(s) of Technical and Scientific Communication: Global Perspectives and Local Practices

PDF Version



Since this year’s conference coincides with the XVII European Symposium on Languages for Specific Purposes (LSP) in Aarhus, Denmark, the CPTSC theme embraces the opportunity to investigate the language of technical and scientific communication and its role in global and local practices. As an effort to coordinate with LSP, we see this year as an excellent chance to cross linguistic, institutional, and disciplinary borders while maintaining a focus on programmatic issues. We encourage submissions that yield new ideas pertaining to language in technical communication and which could possibly provide a foundation upon which to build programmatic connections and partnerships.

About the Conference Site

Located in Denmark’s second-largest city, Aarhus University’s School of Business is home to the programs in business, technical, and scientific communication in various languages, including English. The school is at the forefront in research of knowledge communication. While hosting the CPTSC conference, the school will simultaneously host the European Symposium on Language for Specific Purposes. (Specific purposes include technical and scientific communication.) The decision to have the two conferences coincide is deliberate, with a view to cross-fertilization as participants can attend both. For more on the University of Aarhus, go to http://www.au.dk/en. For more on the town of Aarhus, go to http://www.visitaarhus.com/.

About the CPTSC Conference

The CPTSC conference emphasizes discussion of programmatic issues. The audience includes people from new, as well as established, programs and anyone with programmatic interests in technical and scientific communication. We welcome participants – administrators, faculty, and graduate students—from university , community college, or secondary levels, as well as representatives of industry. Possible topics relating to the 2009 theme include, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • opportunities for international collaboration
  • discourse and collaboration
  • natural language interfaces
  • translation of content between natural languages
  • language and accessibility
  • international language emphases in TSC curricula
  • computer code as language
  • plain language in TSC curricula
  • methods of assessing language development
  • visual language/the language of new media

Two Kinds of Presentations are Invited

Two kinds of presentation options are available at the CPTSC Annual Conference:

  • Position Paper
  • Position paper presentations must adhere to the following guidelines:
  • Participants present five-minute position papers on programmatic issues (rather than reports of specialized research or presentations of particular teaching strategies) in order to generate discussion.
  • Format does not allow for slide show presentations.
  • Proceedings, published after the conference, often include expanded versions of position papers.

Proceedings will only include those papers presented at the meeting

    Poster Presentation
  • Participants choosing this option must make five-minute poster presentations on programmatic issues.

Sample Proposals & Guidelines

Sample proposals/abstracts for last year’s CPTSC conference are available from the conference website so interested individuals might review them in preparation for crafting their own proposals for the 2009 CPTSC Conference.

Proposals for both Position Papers and Poster Presentations must explicitly note how the presenters will address both programmatic issues and the conference theme in the related paper or poster presentation.

Submission Deadline

Proposals are due by 5:00pm Eastern Standard Time on March 27th 2009. For program questions, please contact Stuart Blythe and Julie Dyke Ford, Program Chairs: CPTSC2009@gmail.com. For conference information, please visit the preliminary conference website at http://www.cptsc.org/conferences/2009uofAarhus/.

Submitting a Proposal

Please submit proposals as .rtf files emailed to CPTSC2009@gmail.com. Please be sure to use the words “CPTSC 2009 Conference Proposal” in the subject line of the related email message.

Registration: Ongoing

Register for the conference here:

Planning for International Travel

This messages below are part of a series of several threads in anticipation of the 2009 CPTSC annual meeting. It is intended to prompt a brainstorm and discussion on the listserve of further ideas. A list of coming topics appears at the bottom.

1. Merits of Meeting in Europe

This message is the first of what will be a series of several threads in anticipation of the 2009 CPTSC annual meeting. A list of coming topics appears at the bottom.

At the 2007 CPTSC annual meeting, a large majority voted in favor of planning the 2009 meeting for Aarhus University, Denmark. This marks the first time that an annual CPTSC meeting is slated to convene outside the U.S. The news has been welcomed by our increasing number of members outside North America, where growth is strongest in Europe.

Meeting in Europe holds many advantages as well for our North American members, as technical and scientific communication becomes increasingly international. Several of us have been to Aarhus before and recognize how eye-opening it has been to see how technical communication is approached and taught there and at other European universities. The meeting will run alongside the European Symposium on Language for Specific Purposes (LSP), which includes technical writing and many other topics of high interest to our field. To be able to attend both meetings back-to-back and overlapping is especially attractive for the cross-fertilization it offers. It’s easy to see that ideas carried back to North America will influence tech comm curricula there, much as ideas from CPTSC annual meetings and roundtables have been carried back to and across Europe by those who could attend.

Denmark is an easy place for North Americans to negotiate. The culture, though distinct, is nevertheless easily recognizable. Using English is a cinch, as anyone born since World War II has been taught English since the third grade.

CPTSC 2009 will take place during the usual Thursday-Saturday timetable, 20-22 August—before classes begin at most North American universities and colleges and at the front end of most institutions’ fiscal years.

When debating the merits of holding one of its annual meetings in Europe, CPTSC members discussed the challenges posed to those not accustomed to international travel and funding for international events. With that in mind, we’re initiating this listserv series with the following topics:

  • How to secure funding for international travel
    How to travel to Aarhus and around Scandinavia
    How to plan for a conference and travel in late August
    Advantages to attending the overlapping European Symposium on Language for Specific Purposes
    Advantages to seeing technical and scientific communication in Europeup close
    The delights of Aarhus, Denmark, and the Nordic countries
    Obtaining a U.S. passport
2. Securing Travel Funds

Securing funding to travel to CPTSC 2009 in Aarhus

Depending on your institution, arranging full funding for international travel may have seemed daunting even before the world financial system began to collapse. In the recent ATTW listserve discussion initiated by CPTSC’s immediate past president, Kelli Cargile Cook, we learned that bans on travel out of state have become commonplace in some regions. The listserve discussion illustrated not only that travel restrictions are dire in some locales but also that they vary considerably from state to state and institution to institution.

Finding funding and defraying the cost of travel to Denmark are still possible, even for those who decide to circumvent out-of-state travel bans by spending out of their own pockets. (See points G & H below.) This listserve message, the second in a series on CPTSC 2009 in Aarhus, spells out possibilities for a variety of budgetary circumstances.

For all concerned, it’s important to note the following:

A. The US dollar has gained value. Before the economic downturn, the dollar was declining significantly. However, since October 2008, it has gained upwards of 20% against not only the euro but also the Danish krone. (Each of the Scandinavian countries has its own currency. In Denmark and Norway, it’s called the krone [two syllables]; in Sweden, the krona. The word translates to English as “crown.”) Thus, for U.S. travelers, purchasing power in Europe has increased.

B. Hotels and restaurants are lowering their prices. Widely reported in travel magazines and newspaper travel sections, the prices of food and lodging have come down as vendors worldwide have responded to sharp reductions in consumer spending. Thus, travelers are finding bargains that weren’t available a year earlier.

C. A trip to Aarhus this August offers two conferences for the price of one air ticket and lodging. With the CPTSC meeting, 19-21 August, and European Symposium on Language for Specific Purposes, 17-21 August, deliberately scheduled to coincide on the same campus, participants can take in the best of both conferences. When justifying the time and cost, including with administrators, conference-goers can cite the old American slogan “more bang for the buck.”

For those not under a travel ban:

D. The August conference takes place in the next fiscal year, for most U.S. institutions. That means that any funds available will be fresh. They will not yet be subject to a mid-year state give-back. Many colleagues who might be competing for the funds will not yet have even applied for them.

E. Institutional funding can come from unsuspected sources, if the rationale is sound. As an annual and often semi-annual traveler to international conferences, I’ve discovered that it’s often easier, paradoxically, to arrange for full funding of international travel than it is domestic travel. The reasons are twofold: 1) many top administrators, particularly presidents and chancellors, recognize that international connections are critical to the future of their institutions and will tap into special funds for international travel if the return on investment appears high; 2) few Americans among their faculty are willing to travel abroad. In addition to the well known and much sought-after departmental and college funds, lesser known funds in the provost’s and president/chancellor’s office, research services office, international education office, or graduate school may also be tapped, especially as matching funds. Typically, monies from these sources will be forthcoming if the applicant shows that the travel will boost the mission of the university and promises a high return on investment. In my own case, I’ve secured funding by demonstrating that I can arrange to establish international partnerships for not only my own students but for colleagues at my institution and their students as well. Nothing beats an international conference for international networking. In some years, my application has been put on hold, with the words, “You received funding for international travel last year. We want to give others a turn.” To my amazement, the application later moves forward with the comment, “We didn’t get enough applications. We might as well send you.” Perhaps this year more than any other year, applicants will unnecessarily let monies go to others because they merely assumed that funds wouldn’t be available or they were hesitant to travel abroad.

F. External grants are available to those willing to seek them out and apply for them. The most obvious such grant for this conference is CPTSC’s own research grant, announced on the CPTSC listserve on 28 January 2009. The deadline for proposals has been extended to 7 March 2009. This year’s grant specifies that it can be used in particular for travel to and from Aarhus, to “do the work necessary to establish the proposed connections.” Grants from other funding agencies are available if aimed at research in the vicinity, perhaps in the week(s) just prior to the conference (e.g., http://www.amscan.org/alternate.html). Such funding would pay for what usually amounts to the main cost of trans-Atlantic travel: airfare.

For those under a travel ban but willing to self-fund their travel:

G. Unreimbursed travel for business can be tax-deductible. Those who itemize their tax return can typically deduct up to half of transportations costs, lodging costs, conference fees, and other expenses related directly to one’s professional travel, if unreimbursed from other sources. If you choose this option, be sure to check the details in advance with your tax accountant.

H. Point F above can likely be an option for those under a state-imposed travel ban as well, as long as official duties are not neglected. With the conference ending before many institutions begin their fall semester, many travelers will be in no jeopardy.

3. Obtaining a US Passport

This Saturday, 28 March is Passport Day in the USA, when you can obtain a passport on the spot at a passport processing center. See http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2009/03/120707.htm for details.

After Saturday, please see the State Department Website for guidance on how to obtain a US passport. Passports not issued on Passport Day usually take 4-6 weeks to process.

Denmark does not require a visa of U.S. citizens.

4. Flying from the US and Canada to Denmark

Travel planning for the 2009 CPTSC meeting in Aarhus, Denmark, should begin with a look at the information posted on the Practical Information Web page for the European Symposium for Language for Specific Purposes: If you scroll toward the bottom, you’ll find detailed Travel Information.

Travelers have three airports to choose from. On arrival, each involves catching ground transportation, ranging from a 45-60 minute bus ride from the Aarhus or Billund airports or a 3-hour train ride from the Copenhagen airport. This last option is quite workable, as trains depart directly from the Copenhagen airport for downtown Aarhus.

For travelers from North America, flights to the Copenhagen airport (known locally as “Kastrup”) are relatively abundant, as Copenhagen is the largest city in Scandinavia and the official hub of SAS, the Scandinavian Airline System. SAS has direct flights to Copenhagen from Seattle, Chicago, Washington, and New York, with a connecting flight to Aarhus.

Founded decades ago as the first low-cost trans-Atlantic air carrier, Icelandair remains one of the least expensive alternatives for flying to Copenhagen, with flights originating in Seattle, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Toronto, Orlando, New York, Boston, and Halifax. All flights connect with Europe through transfers at the hub in Reykjavik, Iceland. Icelandair is an especially good option for those who wish to do some sightseeing in Scandinavia by landing at one airport, say Copenhagen, and departing from another, such as Oslo or Stockholm, for no extra cost. Also, Icelandair allows passengers to sightsee in Iceland for as long as 7 days with no extra charge for the layover. Although Iceland was until recently one of the most expensive countries in the world, last fall’s collapse of the Icelandic krona has brought exceptional lodging and restaurant bargains for travelers this year. With its combination of volcanoes, sea coast, glaciers, geysers, and waterfalls, Iceland is one of the most captivating landscapes in the world. (This writer has been there twice.)

Other flight options abound. For those starting from an airport served by the SkyTeam Alliance—Continental-Delta-Northwest-KLM-Air France—it’s easy to transfer at the Amsterdam hub to a KLM flight to either the Billund or Copenhagen airport. Billund is the main airport for Denmark’s Jutland Peninsula, where Aarhus is the largest city. As such, Billund is served by many more airlines than Aarhus is.

With some creativity, travelers can find inexpensive deals. For example, when Dale & Sheryl Sullivan spent last fall’s semester in Aarhus, they flew from Fargo to London Heathrow, then took the tube/train to London Stansted, where they caught a low-cost flight to Aarhus on Ryanair.. Online travel agencies can save you lots of Web surfing. Compare routes, prices, and times at <www.expedia.com, www.travelocity.com, and www.orbitz.com.

5. Directions for walking from Cabinn Hotel to Aarhus School of Business

Directions from Dale Sullivan are available here:

6. Sights to see in Scandinavia

Danmark er dejligt!
Denmark is delightful!
/Sverige är fantastiskt!/
Sweden is fantastic!
Norge er et vakkert land, fjell og daler, hav og strand!
Norway is a scenic land, peaks and dales, sea and strand!

See entire PDF.

Ferries and Trains Informaton

Map of Scandinavian rail and ferry routes

Copenhagen-Oslo ferry

Frederikshavn-Gothenburg, Frederikshavn-Oslo, and Grenå-Varberg ferries

Danish Railways

Norwegian Railways

Swedish Railways

ScanRail Pass

Rail Europe

7. Currency Exchange Information

CPTSC members traveling to the annual meeting in Aarhus may wish to be aware of the following regarding currency exchange (prompted by Jerry Savage's questions below):

1. Exchange rates vary by the day. To see the rates on a particular day (such as the day you registered for the meeting online, which you'll need to know for reimbursement purposes), several Websites are available, such as <http://www.oanda.com/convert/classic>. The sites allow you to check rates in either direction. Please note that the Danish "krone" (crown) is independent of the Norwegian krone and Swedish krona. Except on the ferries between the Scandinavian countries and in some airport shops, the currency of one country is not accepted in another.

2. Currency exchange always involves a transaction fee. Banks in bigger cities and currency exchange booths in airports and train stations will exchange bills from one country into bills from another country. They will not exchange loose change.

3. As a general rule, ATMs offer the lowest transaction fees. Be sure to call the institution that issued your ATM card before you leave North America to make sure that the automatic block on overseas use is lifted for the countries in which you'll be traveling.

4. As a general rule, credit cards charge a slightly higher transaction fee; however, the convenience and security of credit card purchase may make using the card worthwhile. Again, be sure to call the institution that issued your credit card before you leave North America to make sure that the automatic block on overseas use is lifted for the countries in which you'll be traveling.
N.B. While a visiting scholar at Aarhus University last fall, Dale Sullivan reported that U.S.-issued credit cards were accepted at the typical tourist spots in Aarhus, such as Den Gamle By (The Old Town) and downtown retail outlets but often were not accepted at more out-of-the-way places, like neighborhood grocery stores.

5. While traveler's checks were commonly accepted in Europe 20 years ago, today they are treated with increasing skepticism and often outright denial, mainly because, with the relative ease of forgery, they are not considered as secure as other forms of payment.

6. Europe remains largely a cash-based society, although card use is increasing somewhat. Europeans are accustomed to carrying large amounts of cash and conducting large cash purchases. Check use has always been rare and is now nearly unheard of.

7. Use a neck pouch or money belt to carry valuables, such as your passport and extra cash.

8. Pronunciation Tips from Bruce Maylath
"Vi ses snart" is pronounced pretty much the same in all the Scandinavian languages. To an English speaker, it sounds similar to "vee saiss snaart." However, there's no reason to learn it. It makes sense to Scandinavians, but it's not the common way to say goodbye.

Instead, learn these three phrases, which are common throughout Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. As in any country (most notably France), starting in the local language instead of automatically assuming everyone speaks English helps establish friendly relations, mainly because you've acknowledged that you're in their country and not your own.

Hello = God dag (Good day) It's often said twice in a row.
Pronunciation in Danish sounds like "Go dow." Informally, Danes often just shorten it to "dow."
Pronunciation in Norwegian and Swedish sounds like “goo dahg.”

Bye or see you later = Ha(v) det godt (Literally, “have it good”)
Pronunciation is similar in all three languages and sounds like “hah day goat” (The ‘t’ in “det” is always silent)

Thanks = tak (Danish), takk (Norwegian), tack (Swedish)
Pronunciation is similar in all three languages. The ‘a’ is short and the ‘k’ is held, so that the word almost sounds like English “tuck.”
Swedes often say the word twice; Norwegians are made fun of by folk in the other countries for so frequently saying “tusen takk” (a thousand thanks). All three languages often intensify the meaning by saying “mange tak(k)” (Danish/Norwegian), “många tack” (Swedish).

N.B. All three languages have three letters that English lacks. “Å, å” is used in all three languages and sounds like “aw” as it’s pronounced in most of the eastern U.S. and the U.K. What used to be spelled with a double ‘aa’ is now spelled “å”. You’ll notice that immediately in the city of Århus, as the Danes adopted this spelling reform shortly after World War II. The letter “Æ, æ” is the Danish/Norwegian equivalent of Swedish/German “Ä, ä”. The sound resembles the short American “a” in the name “Pat.” Finally, “Ø,ø” is the Danish/Norwegian equivalent of Swedish/German “Ö, ö” and is an “ay” sound with rounded lips, as in French “boeuf.” You can approximate it in English by saying the vowel in “curb” but dropping the ‘r’, as you’d hear folks do in Boston or London.

In response to what Nancy’s husband, George, has heard linguists say about Danish pronunciation, the description is a bit of an exaggeration but does increasingly characterize how younger generations speak. As I mentioned to George a few years ago, even the Danes joke that “Danish isn’t a language; it’s a throat disease.” In truth, while the Scandinavian languages share much vocabulary (as you’ve noticed in the phrases above) and nearly identical syntactic structures, phonology is what makes Danish harder for Norwegians and Swedes to understand. The phonetic changes began when Danish collided with Low German during the era of the Hanseatic League in the 1500s. Thus, Danish seems to sound a little more like German than Norwegian and Swedish do. In addition, while most Norwegian and Swedish dialects remain tonal, like Chinese (that’s why English speakers associate a sing-song accent to them), the tonemes dropped out of Danish. Curiously, the rising Toneme 1 was supplanted by a glottal stop in northern Danish dialects, including Copenhagen’s. Fortunately for us, Århus lies among the southern dialects and lacks a glottal stop.

As a teenager on a farm north of Copenhagen, I started learning Danish, but by the time I got to college I switched to Norwegian, on the advice of many Scandinavians I met, including my Danish host family on the farm. The common saying in Scandinavia is, “If you want to travel throughout Scandinavia, learn Norwegian, because Norwegian is Danish with a Swedish accent.” Because of Norway’s history over centuries as a colony of first Denmark, then Sweden, there’s some truth to that. By Norwegian, they mean bokmål (literally “book language”) Norwegian. Norway has two official languages, and they’re both Norwegian. The other one is called “nynorsk” (literally “new Norwegian). The former was written identically to Danish until three spelling reforms in the 20th century brought spelling closer to actual Norwegian pronunciation. The latter is based on many of the mountain dialects, especially in western Norway. All school districts must choose a primary and a secondary language for instruction, but Norwegian students must demonstrate a command of both to graduate from secondary school. All of Norway’s newspapers publish articles in bokmål but accept letters to the editor in nynorsk. SAS, the Scandinavian Airlines System, sometimes uses bokmål for quick intra-company messages across the three countries to avoid the time and money required for translation into each language.

Thus, bokmål can be viewed as at the center of a triangle with nynorsk, Swedish, and Danish at the corners. Because differences in language are caused by ever-increasing degrees of isolation, Scandinavians who live closest to the triangle formed by Oslo, Norway; Gothenburg, Sweden; and Copenhagen, Denmark, have the easiest time understanding each other.

Given the symposium we’re going to, you might think of bokmål as a language for the specific purpose of a Scandinavian lingua franca (though some Swedes might contest the notion).

And that’s today’s lesson in language awareness.

Ha det godt!

Information about Aarhus

Language for Special Purposes Conference
Language for Specific Purposes Conference

The Language for Specific Purposes symposium will be held at Aarhus University, right alongside CPTSC.

See more information here: hhttp://www.asb.dk/article.aspx?pid=20009

Invitations from our International Colleagues
From Rainer Bernd Voges, Germany:

CPTSC members are welcome to visit the Technical Writing and Multimedia Program at Fachhochschule Giessen-Friedberg, a German University of Applied Sciences, which educates students in technical communication / technical writing. As I reported at the meeting in San Francisco two yaers ago, especially our terms in Giessen are applicable for American students who want to spend some time at a german university. In Giessen we have created a special "media term" for those comming to us to learn how to manage multimedia information products. Rainer attended the 2005 CPTC annual meeting and presented a poster of this program.