Audience – how to understand it
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Audience – definition
Audience is a term used to refer to the reader of a text, or the listener to what we say.
The audience might be any of the following:
all the same kind
group of people
random or accidental
Personal letter single selected Note to milkman single specialist MA dissertation single specialist targeted Insurance claim group selected specialist Novel group random non-specialist
The main purpose of speaking or writing is to communicate.
An awareness of audience helps to make speech or writing more effective.
Efficient writers and effective speakers target their audience as clearly as possible.
NB! Sometimes a piece of writing may have more than one audience.
An awareness of your audience is a critical factor in efficient communication for both speech and writing.
Efficiency can be improved by choosing the vocabulary, tone, and
style which are appropriate for the audience.
Publishers, advertisers, poets, and novelists all target their readers or listeners.
The vocabulary of a newspaper is chosen very carefully with its readership in mind.
Radio and television programmes adapt their use of language to their target audiences.
We write letters to our friends in a style which is different to that we use for the bank manager or someone we don’t know.
If someone stops you to ask for directions, they won’t be interested in how long you’ve lived in the town, and what it used to look like before the War. On the other hand, if you’re a member of the History Society you may be invited to give a half-hour lecture on that very topic. Your audience is different in each case.
Self-assessment quiz follows …
© Roy Johnson 2003
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