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MEMORANDUM

To: Pam OBrien


From: Emily Dvorchak
Date: January 22, 2015
Subject: Assignment 1
In this memo, I will explain why an international audience, for whom English is not a first
language, would experience difficulty when reading The Pitt News movie review of The
Imitation Game. Specifically, I will discuss its problematic language, lengthy sentences, and use
of abbreviations.
Language
Because author Ian Flanagan uses ambiguous and advanced language throughout the article,
international readers would struggle to interpret some of his points. First, he sometimes uses
progressive verbs as adjectives. Phrases like staggering accomplishments and gripping [...]
historical thriller would confuse international readers, who may not immediately understand the
descriptive purpose of these ing verbs. Next, Flanagan often uses metaphorical phrases in his
writing. When he says, straddles the fine line, littered with twists, and eyes glued to the
screen, he plays with the double meaning of certain English words. Unaccustomed to these
metaphorical phrases, international readers would struggle to comprehend the authors meaning.
Finally, Flanagan uses some advanced vocabulary. Words like fastidious, biopic, and taut,
would likely require a dictionary for someone who has studied English as a second or third
language. This would result in further confusion and potential frustration with the article.
Sentence Length
Flanagan uses many words and clauses to cover multiple ideas in his sentences. This creates
some lengthy sentences. For example, he writes, The film also avoids condescension by
refusing to dumb down the sciences and depicting Turings struggles in later life as a
homosexual forced by the British government to take hormonal medicine with tact, identifying
themes that are even more relevant today with the LGBTQ movements modern progress. Not
only does this sentence address several concepts at once, but it also interrupts a clause with
hyphenation to introduce another clause. International readers would likely get lost in the length
and wordiness of this sentence, as well as others in the article. I would recommend Flanagan
separate some of his thoughts into different sentences, rather than using many words and clauses
to create longer sentences. This would ease comprehension among international readers.
Abbreviations
In some sentences, the author uses abbreviated words without defining them. International
readers would have to consult other sources to determine what LGBTQ or BBC represent.
The word A-list might also pose a problem, since it looks like an abbreviation but in reality is
a slang term alluding to movie stars. If Flanagan defined these words or wrote the full terms in
his article, he would alleviate some confusion for international readers.
Conclusion
Various aspects of this article would challenge international readers and could be improved. I
look forward to hearing from you and learning your thoughts on these problems.