Professor; Linguistics, Rhetoric, and Communication Design
Department of English Language and Literature
University of Waterloo
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, N2L 3G1


Doctor of Philosophy, Communication and Rhetoric, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1990.
Dissertation: The life and death of generative semantics.
Supervisor: S. Michael Halloran.

Master of Science, Technical Communication, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1986.
Minor: Graphic Communication.
(Nonthesis program.)

Master of Science, Experimental Linguistics, University of Alberta, 1985.
Thesis: Acoustic dimensions of functor comprehension in Broca's aphasia.
Supervisor: Lois Marckworth Stanford.

Master of Arts, English Literature, Dalhousie University, 1982.
Thesis: Romance structures in the novels of Henry Fielding.
Supervisor: Bruce Stovel.

Bachelor of Arts, Honours English Literature, Queen's University, 1980.
Minor: Philosophy.
Additional undergraduate work at the University of Lethbridge

Other programmes

Technical Writers' Institute
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1986.
Courses in usability, online technology, and graphic communication.

Online Documentation
Human Performance Associates, 1988.
Topics included online Help, graphic interfaces, and hypertext.

Honours and awards

Major Awards

Outstanding Performance Award
University of Waterloo, 2006
Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Post-doctoral Fellowship
University of Alberta, 1990-92
SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1987-88
Sir James Lougheed Award of Distinction
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1985-87
Rensselaer Scholar Fellowship
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1985-86
Province of Alberta Scholarships
University of Alberta, 1982-83, 1983-84
Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Pre-doctoral Scholarship
Dalhousie University, 1980-81

Small Awards and Prizes

University of Waterloo 4A Scholar Awards, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010.
New York Chapter STC Publications and Art Competition Award of Merit, 1993.
The Jay Gould Award for Excellence in Technical Writing, 1988.
McKinney Writing Prizes, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1986, 1987.
The Roberta McCulloch Scholarship, Queen's University, 1979-80.
Letter (Judo), University of Lethbridge, 1978.
Silver Medal, University of Lethbridge, All-Alberta Judo Championships, 1977.
The University of Lethbridge Arts and Sciences Scholarship, 1978-79.


Network on Aging Research Catalyst Grant, 2018.
SSHRC Insight Grants, 2015-2018, 2018-2021.
SSHRC Connection Grant, 2016.
SSHRC Standard Research Grants, 2000-2003, 2010-2013.
LIF Grant, 2005-2006.
Morgan Kaufmann Publication Grant, 2001-2002.
UW-SSHRC Grants, 1993, 1998, 2001, 2005, 2007.
Readers' Digest Grants for Publication, 1987, 1988.
Beer Trust grant for dissertation research, 1987.

Department of English, University of Waterloo
Professor, 2000-
Associate Professor, 1992-2000
Tenured 1996.

Courses taught

Arts 140 Information and Analysis: Bullshit, Argument, the Universe, and Everything (W18, F18)
The objectives of Arts 140 are the ongoing objectives of education generally, and liberal arts (arts-of-liberty) education specifically: the enhancement of critical thinking in both the private sphere (exercising judgement) and the public sphere (engaging society and culture). We will pursue them by building and refining our facility with language. If you do this with energy and focus, you should also gain more understanding of, and competence in, the ways and means of communication. All this is made more challenging and more important because we live in an information-suffused universe with too much bullshit and not enough argumentation. 
(See the W18 syllabus here.)

English 101B, Introduction to Rhetoric (F09, F12)
A course designed to answer one question, a rather messy one, but one which helps define our thinking, our communicating, and our lives as both homo sapiens and citizens: what, in the name of Sam-I-Am, is rhetoric?
(See the F12 syllabus here.)

English 103A, The Nature and Structure of the English Language (F92, F93, F94)
Introduction to the study of the English language. Topics to be discussed include the nature and origin of language, the structure of English and its development, and the relations between language and reality.
(See the F94 syllabus here.)

English 103B, Varieties of English (W92)
Introduction to the study of varieties of the English language—regional, social, temporal, functional, and stylistic. The relations of languages and literature and of speech and writing will be discussed.
Prereq: ENGL 103A or consent of instructor.
(See the W92 syllabus here.)

English 104, Rhetoric in Popular Culture (S11)
This course examines the role of persuasion in contemporary society by focusing on one or more topic areas: film, television, video games, comic books, music, fashion, etc. Students will explore the topic area(s) in depth using a variety of rhetorical theories and methods.

(See the S11 syllabus here.)

English 109, Introduction to Academic Writing (F16)
The course will explore a variety of issues in academic writing such as style, argument, and the presentation of information. Frequent written exercises will be required.

(See the F16 syllabus here.)

English 292, Contemporary Issues in Rhetoric and Writing (F92, F93, F97)
The course inductively defines the fields of Rhetoric and Professional Writing through an exploration of contemporary issues in language, writing, and rhetoric, as those issues are identified and dealt with, in the pertinent scholarly and professional journals, by current researchers and their work.
Prereq: Enrolment limited to RPW students.
(See the F97 syllabus here.)

English 306A, Introduction to linguistics (annually or biannually, W92 –)
Introduction to linguistics and the principles of linguistic analysis through an examination of English phonology, forms, syntax, and discourse.
(See the F09 syllabus here.)

English 306A—Distance, Introduction to linguistics
I designed and administered a distance-education version of the on-campus course; it is routinely offered in the Spring term.

English 309A Principles and Practices of Rhetoric I (F97, F98, F99, F00, F11)
A study of rhetorical theories from the Classical period (Pre- Socratic to Augustine) with an emphasis on how these theories reflect changing attitudes towards language, reality, and the self.
Prereq: Third-year standing, or consent of instructor
Priority may be given to RPW students.
(See the F11 syllabus here.)

English 309B Principles and Practices of Rhetoric II (F01, F02, F04, S07, S08, F17)
A study of rhetorical theories and practices from late Antiquity, Medieval, Renaissance, and the Enlightenment periods, with an emphasis on how those theories and practices reflect changing attitudes towards language, society, and the self.
Prereq: Third-year standing or above
Priority may be given to RPW students
(See the S08 syllabus here.)

English 309C Contemporary Theories of Rhetoric (S09, S10)
An examination of contemporary rhetorical theory and its relationships to criticism, interdisciplinary studies and computer applications.
But what's the point of contemporary rhetorical theory in the first place? —Where there are organisms, there is mutual influence; where there are humans, there are symbols; where there are influence and symbols, there is rhetoric. Aristotle would tell you that, and tell you that where there is rhetoric there damn well better be judgement, too. But it takes the twentieth century to realize the full diversity of symbolic modes, to invent the elaborate semiotic distribution networks, and to develop the theoretical instruments, necessary to see the truly inescapable, mindbending, person-forming, culture-saturating nature of rhetoric.
Prereq: Third-year standing or above
Priority may be given to RPW students
(See the S09 syllabus here.)

English 335, Creative Writing 1(S95, F95)
Aimed at encouraging students to develop their creative and critical potentials, the course consists of supervised practice, tutorials, and seminar discussions.
(See the F95 syllabus here.)

English 365, Selected Studies (W93, S94, W95, F95, W96, F98, F04, F07, W12, S13)
Designed to provide a study in depth of problems and/or authors selected by the instructor. Students interested in initiating such courses are encouraged to do so by bringing their ideas to the attention of individual instructors.
Prereq: Consent of instructor and permission of English Undergraduate Officer

English 392A, Information design (W93, S95, S96, S97, S98, S99, S00, F01, F02, F03, F04, S07)
This course will introduce students to recent research in documentation in fields such as information design, reading, and technical writing. Students apply this knowledge by developing or revising documents
Prereq: ENGL 292 or consent of the instructor.
(See the F04 web page and syllabus here.)

English 409A, Argumentation (F03, F05, F08, F13, S17)
This course studies the discursive, social, and rhetorical principles of argumentation, including topics such as evidence, reasoning, and the organization and presentation of arguments. Scholars studied will include Richard Whatley, Jurgen Habermas, Stephen Toulmin, Chaim Perelman, Lucie Olbrecht-Tyteca, Kenneth Burke, Jeanne Fahnestock, and Pierre Bourdieu.
Prereq: ENGL 309A, 309B, 309C, or consent of the instructor.
(See the F08 syllabus here.)

English 481C, Cognitive Stylistics (S16)
A seminar in the way your mind makes and responds to the linguistic configurations called rhetorical figures.
We make and respond to metaphors the way we do because our minds are tuned to analogy; we make and respond to metonymies the way we do because our minds are tuned to correlation; we make and respond to synecdoches the way we do because our minds are tuned to meronymy; we make and respond to antitheses the way we do because our minds are tuned to opposition; we make and respond to ... you get the picture. Why? Because you're really good at recognizing, predicting, and completing patterns. Why? Because you're a human, with a human mind, and your mind is a style machine.
(See the S16 syllabus here.)

English 481S, Science Writing (S96)
This course is a creative, non-fiction writing class, focusing on science for non-scientists; other labels for the genre include "popular science" and "science journalism." We read from this genre, with the intent of assimilating its tone, style, and techniques in order to become practitioners. We write in this genre, and discuss our work with each other. The main project is one piece of science writing–a feature story–intended for publication.
(See the S96 syllabus here.)

English 481U, Document Usability Testing (W94)
I developed this course for six exceptional students in W94 who were interested in document usability. Under my guidance, they designed, conducted, and reported on a usability study of a user guide for the newsgroup UW.RPW. They redesigned the guide on the basis of that study.
(See the W94 syllabus here.)

English 481V, Voice User Interfaces (S01, W04)
A seminar in script writing, dialogue planning, and overall design for voice user interfaces. Evaluation depends on developing and paper-prototyping a voice-only interface for a web-site.
(See the S01 syllabus here.)

English 700 & 701; with Katherine Acheson (F05, W06); with Victoria Lamont (F06, W07) Theory and criticism I & II
English 700 and 701, Theory I and Theory II, are required courses in literary and rhetorical theory taken by all students in the English graduate programmes. In them, we study theories of texts and textuality, from their origins in Ancient Greece, when texts emerged out of cultures whose knowledge, principles of conduct, methods of governance, strategies of influence, and modes of entertainment were overwhelmingly oral, to their state in the 21st century, when texts are fraying and splaying, splicing and dicing, in multiple directions simultaneously. The courses are organized chronologically, and we alternate (roughly) between rhetorical and literary theories—Theory I begins with the classics, and moves through medieval, Renaissance, enlightenment and ninenteenth century critical theories; Theory II begins with the twentieth century and ends with the present.
(See the W07 syllabi here.)

English 700 (Rhetorical) Theory and Criticism (as 'wingman,' F08, F09; as IOR [pronounced the same as the donkey in Winnie the Pooh, Instructor of Record], F10)
English 700 has the ridiculous task of compressing two millennia of rhetorical theory and criticism into a single academic term, committing gross injustices not only to that theory and criticism but to culture, ethics, literature, politics, cognition, and digital media along the way (to name only the most prominent casualties). The objectives of the course, however, are noble, and—working hard, making allowances, coducing relentlessly—you can learn a great deal. The English department here is unique and vibrant, if we do say so ourselves, and 700 aims to (1) introduce you to its best aspects, and (2) prepare you to make the most of them.
(See the F10 syllabus here [pdf].)

English 785C, Metaphor (S97)
We will look at metaphor. But metapors are bigger, more pervasive, and considerably more tricky than traditional theories suggest. Our orientation will be cognitive–-metaphors not as a stylistic overlay, but as elements of thought and knowledge.
(See the W94 syllabus here.)

English 788CS, Cognitive Stylistics (W18)
We will study the way your mind makes and responds to the linguistic configurations called rhetorical figures. You make and respond to metaphors the way you do because your mind is tuned to analogy; you make and respond to metonymies the way you do because your mind is tuned to correlation; you make and respond to antitheses the way you do because your mind is tuned to opposition; you make and respond to ... well, you get the picture. Why? Because you're really good at recognizing, predicting, and completing patterns (in this case, the linguistic configuration known as repotia). Why? Because you're a human, with a human mind, and your mind is a style machine. You are a style machine.
(See the W18 syllabus here.)

English 788FL, Figural Logic (S13)
Rhetorical figures are epitomes of reasoning: metaphor epitomizes analogy; gradatio epitomizes series reasoning; metonymy epitomizes reasoning by example; antimetabole epitomizes reciprocal causality; … There is an explanation for this. We think along the same grooves as we talk and write. Our minds are built to deploy, process, and store representations, and the form of those representations matter. The most productive forms are realized as rhetorical figures and argumentative strategies. We will look at argumentation, in all its forms, from poetry to op-ed pieces to scientific papers to graphics, through the lens of figuration..
(See the S13 syllabus here.)

English 788RS, Rhetoric of Science: Case Studies (S16)
We will study the how and why of scientific suasions, focussing exclusively on case studies, with two aims in mind: (1) to familiarize you with the issues and literature of rhetorical approaches to science; and (2) to enable you to participate in that literature. Evaluation depends on: participation in discussions; a conference-style presentation; a commentary on another's presentation; and a paper of publishable length and quality taking up a rhetorical case study of a scientific episode.
(See the S16 syllabus here.)


English 791C, Science Writing (F93)
This course is a creative, non-fiction writing class, focusing on science for non-scientists; other labels for the genre include popular science and science journalism. We will read from this genre, with the intent of assimilating its tone, style, and techniques in order to become practitioners. We will write in this genre, and discuss our work with each other. The main project will be one piece of science writinga feature storyintended for publication.
(See the W94 syllabus here.)

English 791P, Styles of Professional Writers (F94)
This course is a creative, non-fiction writing class, organized around style and structured according to the well-worn rhetorical notion of imitation. You will read various examples of professional writing ("writing you get paid for") and write imitations of them. You will also (forgive the Yoda-like tones) be on a search for your own voice, mostly by way of sampling other people's voices, including each others. The major end-product will be a piece in a distinctive style of your own, meant for publication..
(See the F94 syllabus here.)

English 791R, The New Yorker (S99)
This is a writing class, based on the ancient notion of imitation, and taking its exemplars from The New Yorker magazine. There are no other magazines like this one; it is the Anti-Wired, a devoutly literate examination of (post-)modern life, in a staggering number of its facets,—political, technological, cultural, social, historical, personal, educational, even artificial. Its defining approach is a commitment to thoughtful language, and its defining vehicle is The Feature, a really big, exceptionally graceful essay, on anything. We will read ten issues of The New Yorker, the ten that come out from the second to the eleventh weeks of the course, and discuss each issue in class. We will write ten imitations of the genres and voices it embodies, and discuss those imitations in peer-editing sessions. The final project will be A Feature.
(See the S99 syllabus here.)

English 791V, Voice Interaction Design (S06)
Voice interfaces are an emergent technology for interacting with computational routines and databases. This course is a seminar in designing, scripting, strategizing, developing, and learning this new style of interface, drawing largely on what is known about natural human/human verbal interaction, and on the computer-mediated tasks the interfaces will front. This is a seminar course. Seminar comes (via German) from the Latin seminarium, for a "breeding ground" or "plant nursery," and we will take this etymology seriously. There will be lots of reading (the soil) in this course, and lots of talking (the sun and the rain), and lots of collaborating (the breeding and cross-pollinating). If you don't like intellectual horticulture, this may not be the course for you.
(See the S06 syllabus here.)

English 793A, Argumentation and Incommensurability (S02, S04)
Incommensurability, the word and most of its implications, grew out of conversations around 1960, in coffee shops on Berkeley's Telegraph Avenue, between two of the most important voices in contemporary philosophy and sociology of science, Kuhn and Feyerabend. Taking incommensurability to the extremes inherent in its etymology, the word describes a situation where two scientific programs are fundamentally and irrevocably at odds, the participants of each program therefore seeing their rivals to be spouting incongruities or absurdities or gibberish. As you might imagine, this poses some difficulties for the notion of rational argumentation: like, why bother? This course will investigate, in scientific and other discourses, cases which fit the Kuhnian and Feyerabendian diagnosis, against the background of argumentation theory.
(See the S04 syllabus here.)

English 793WB, Wayne Booth (S03, S05, S07)
Wayne Booth is one of the most consistently interesting, but also one of the most consistently underestimated, critics of the latter 20th C. His driving theme is the rhetorical resources that encourage, obstruct, or refine agreement: and, therefore, belief, knowledge, and action. We will read a range of his books, engage his issues, and seek agreement about the value of his critical pluralism, not only for understanding texts, but also for understanding each other
(See the S07 syllabus here.)

English 793KB, The Ethical Universe of Kenneth Burke (S12, S14)
Burke is concerned with how we speak and write and hear and read primarily as forms of action and belief (which, in turn, is “incipient action”). Burke’s dramatism is a machinery for ethical universe building.We will channel Burke, allowing the methodology to inhabit us. We will disassemble the ethical universes of specific object texts, taken from such discourses as politics, literature, professional communication, and marketing, examining their structure and their implications. We will assemble our own ethical universes in the critiques we conduct of these texts. We will become better readers, better thinkers, better people
(See the S12 prospectus here (PDF).)

English 793C, Cicero (S05)
Synonymous with rhetoric for over 1500 years, a period in which rhetoric suffused learning, art, and religion; Quintilian's Ideal Orator; Caesar's friend and rival, Augustus's champion, Antony's victim; a Skeptic, a Stoic, and a Peripatetic; the author who Augustine says turned him away from a life of sin, toward philosophy, and ultimately God: Cicero is the single most important figure in the history of rhetoric. We will study him.
(See the S05 syllabus here.)

English 793CA, Medieval Allegory and Cognitive Rhetoric (S09)
Primarily looking to the medieval period, when allegory as a narrative mode dominated discourse at all levels, we will study how the reach of allegory is deeply cognitive, relying upon universal human intellective, emotional, narrative and spatial capacities.
(See the S09 syllabus here.)

English 793CR, Cognitive Rhetoric (S08)
Rhetoric is inescapably cognitive. But few people have pursued this line of research with any concerted focus, and no one has developed an approach to rhetorical theory systematically informed by the conceptual and empirical results of cognitive science. We will.
(See the S08 syllabus here.)

English 793E, Rhetoric of Science (W92, F95, S96, S98, S00; in 2016 it was mysteriously renumbered 788RS; S17)
We will study the how and why of scientific suasions, with two aims in mind: (1) to familiarize you with the issues and literature of rhetorical approaches to science; and (2) to enable you to participate in that literature. Evaluation will depend in equal measure on three components: participation in discussions; a class presentation on an approved book; and a paper of publishable length and quality. The paper will be either a rhetorical analysis of some scientific discourse (in a specific paper, or book, or episode), or a theoretical contribution to the discourse of rhetoricians of science.
(See the S00 syllabus here.)

English 793M, Metonymy (S10)
We will look at metonymy not as a stylistic overlay, but as constitutive of thought and knowledge and understanding. Our orientation will therefore be cognitive, and we will see that metonyms are broader, more pervasive, and considerably more subtle than shallow theories of style would suggest.

English 795O, Ontologies for the Humanities (F18)
We will study the philosophy, construction, and deployment of ontologies in the humanities, with particular attention to literary, linguistic, and rhetorical applications. Prominent among the ontologies we study are FrameNet, WordNet, and Rhetfig. We will build and link ontologies throughout the term, using the web ontology language, OWL. Students will choose their own domains to model..

CogSci 600, Seminar in Cognitive Science (S05, S08, W12)
Cognitive science is the deeply interdisciplinary study of mind, intelligence, and perception. Growing out of a rich amalgam of cybernetics, linguistics, philosophy, and psychology in the 1950s, it has defined artificial intelligence and knowledge engineering, and now embraces or influences almost every academic pursuit in the modern academy, including fields as diverse as anthropology, literary theory, health studies, rhetoric, graphic design, communication studies and a wide range of engineering disciplines.This seminar is organized around an eclectic group of lectures from leading scholars in different disciplines at UW, often taking up controversial topics and featuring the latest research. Students are expected to be familiar with the weekly readings and to come prepared to discuss them with each other and the scholar du semaine. There will also be brief weekly written assignments (based on the readings), an essay, and a presentation to the class.
(See the W12 syllabus here.)

Community Outreach Course, Milton Public Library, Rhetoric, Propaganda, and Bullshit (Winter 2013)
Using contemporary examples, this course studies the ancient craft of suasion, good, bad, and just plain pointless. Rhetoric helps us to make better judgements among the many suasions bombarding us, and helps us to persuade/dissuade others more responsibly. It helps us reduce bullshit and resist propaganda.
(See the syllabus here.)

Various one-of courses for individual students with particular interests:

English 793A, History and Theory of Rhetoric 1 (F99)
English 793B, History and Theory of Rhetoric 2 (W00)
English 793C, Cognitive Rhetoric (W09)
English 793E, Rhetoric of Science and Gregor Mendel (S10)
English 793E, Ethical Criticism (W11)
English 793V, Voice Interface Design (W04)
English 794A, Conversation Analysis and Voice-interface Design (S01)
English 792, Contemporary Issues in Rhetoric and Professional Communication (F92)
Psychology 481, Directed Studies - Natural Science Advanced Psych (F06)


Associate Chair and Director of Graduate Studies (2011-2014)

Departmental service

Ad Hoc Committee on Events (2013)
Appointments Committee (member 1996-1999; 2005; 2009-2012)
Department Chair Search Committees (1996, 2006)
Departmental Tenure and Promotions Committee (2004-2008; 2015-)
Fiftieth Anniversary Committee (2009-2012)
Graduate Studies Committee (1993-1994; 2002-2006)
Scholarship Committee (member 1992-1993, chair 1993-1996)
Undergraduate Committee ( 2006-2011)

University service

Cognitive Science Advisory Board (1994-2014)
Co-op Advisory Board (2008-2012)
University Tenure and Promotions Advisory Committee (2008-2011)
Wolfe Chair Advisory Committee (2009-2011)


Supervisor, Ph.D.

Devon Moriarty (co-supervision with Ashley Rose Mehlenbacher)
Monique Kampherm
Kyle Gerber
Saeed Sabzian'
s 2017 dissertation, "The Aural, Eidetic, and Narrative Rhetoric of Anxiety in The Road and Fight Club"
Robert Clapperton
´s 2014 dissertation, "Ametros: A technogenetic simulation game for professional communication coursework"
Olga Gladkova´s 2011 dissertation, "The identification of epistemic topoi in a corpus of biomedical research articles"
Michael Truscello´s 2006 dissertation, "The technical effect: Free and open software, and the programming of everyday life"

Supervisor, M.A., Rhetoric and Communication Design

Cort Egan´s 2011 Major Project, "Just doing it through metonymy: Yachts, diamonds, fast cars and beautiful people"
Ian Blechschmidts´s 2008 Major Project, "Comics, semiotics and ideology: Visual rhetoric in Captain America"
Sarah Whyte´s 2000 Major Project, "The Pusztai affair"
Frances Ranger´s 1999 Major Project, "Science, rhetoric, and Philip Rushton"
Greg Cento´s 1994 Major Project, "Dueling discourses: A Bakhtinian look at the abuse of the language of ecology in twenty years of advertising in National Geographic magazine"

Supervisor, B.A. (Hons), Rhetoric and Professional Writing

Douglas Guilbeault's 2013 Honours thesis, " The consubstantial nature of speech genres: Social identity and citizens band radio"
Ashley Kelly's 2008 Honours thesis, "The rhetorical construction of scientists as authors in popular science books: Ethos in Richard Dawkins' The selfish gene and Carl Sagan's The dragons of Eden"
Saranya Yogarajah's 2007 Honours thesis, "Malcolm X: Ethos and capital"
Charles McColm's 2005 Honours thesis, "Managing collaboration: How Microsoft closes technology and binds its customers"
Monika Smetana's 2004 Honours thesis, "Selection and construction of health reality in health advertisements"
Russell Wong's 2003 Honours thesis, "Rhythmic figuration and cognitive rhetoric"
Rebecca Carruther's 2002Honours thesis, "Speaking (for) others: Constructing communal authorization in the Niels Bohr quantum theory of the atom"
Todd Sieling's 2000 Honours thesis, "A natural history of the -er agentive"
Sonja Sen's 1999 (joint RPW-Environmental Studies) Honours thesis, "The language of eco-feminism"
Martha Rudder's 1997 Honours thesis, "Xenonzine"

Reader, Ph.D.

Andrew Deman's 2010 dissertation, "The comics other: Charting the correspondence between comics and difference"
Mark Wallin's 2008 dissertation, "A eurhythmatic response to adaptive accrual: A rhetoric of adaptation"
Teena Carnegie's 1998 dissertation, "The rhetoric of identification and substance in Canadian feminist criticism"

Reader, M.A., Rhetoric and Communication Design

Nan Tunnicliffe's 1992 Major Project "Improving the odds in the grantsmanship game: A case study in the procurement process between northern agencies and government industries"
Bruce Dadey's 2002 Major Project "A genealogy of AIDS: Newsweek's coverage of the epidemic, 1981-1995"
Colin Mook's 1995 Major Project, "Computer-mediated communications studies: pedagogy and technical communication in text-based virtual realities"
Susan Daniel-Simon's 1994 Major Project, "Helpful help: Designing and developing online help systems"

Reader, M.A., Literature

Michael O'Brien's 2009 Major Project "Culturally Resonant: Linton Kwesi Johnson Sounding Meaning in Protest"

Internal-External, Ph.D.

Nirmalya N. Chakraborty's 1995 doctoral dissertation in Philosophy, "An inquiry into meaning (in light of W. V. O. Quine and D. Davidson)"
Glen R. Koehn's 1996 doctoral dissertation in Philosophy, "Fictional objects"
Cameron Shelley's 2005 doctoral dissertation in Philosophy, "Multiple analogies"
Geovania Pimenta's 2016 dissertation in Management Science, "The Structuring of Ambiguous Stimuli in Human Communication"
Natalie Sand's doctoral dissertation in Philosophy, "More meaningful minds: A philosophical response to Jackendoff’s theory of language"

External Examiner, Ph.D.

Tess Laidlaw's 2013 doctoral dissertation in Rhetoric and Media Studies, University of Saskatchewan, "The rhetoric of reportage: The media construction of a pandemic"

Reader, Ph.D. and M.A., Other disciples

Danielle Fearon's 2017 masters thesis, Health Studies and Gerontology, School of Public Health and Health Systems,"The Association Between Early-life Written Language Skills and Late-life Cognitive Resilience."
Mohammed Alliheedi
's 2012 masters thesis, Computer Science, "Multi-document summarization system using rhetorical information"
Claus W. Strommer'
s 2011 doctoral dissertation, Computer Science, "Pursuing the relations between saliency, context, intent, and rhetorical figures in text media"
Jakub Gawryjolek's 2009 masters thesis, Computer Science, "Automated rhetorical figure generation"
David Hirtle's's 2008 masters thesis, Computer Science, "Healthy co-reference: applying coreference resolution to the health education domain"
Mathew Enns's 2006 masters thesis, Computer Science, "WordNet and lexical chaining"
Aaron Scriver's 2006 masters thesis, Computer Science, "Semantic distance in WordNet: A simplified and improved measure of semantic relatedness"


Department of Linguistics, University of Alberta, 1990-1991

Linguistics 407, Linguistic Structures <25 students)
a cross-linguistic survey of common morphosyntactic characteristics for upper-year linguistics majors

Linguistics 203, Introduction to Linguistics; <200 students; 4 teaching assistants)
an introduction to languages and linguistic methodology, concentrating heavily on phonological and morphological problem solving.

Department of English, Grant MacEwan Community College, 1984-1985

Communications 100
a survey course of technical, business, and academic writing forms.

Department of Linguistics, University of Alberta, 1983-1985

Linguistics 382, Modern English Syntax
an introduction to English syntax and Transformational Grammar.

Teaching Assistant

Queen's University, Linguistics, 1979-1980
Dalhousie University, Literature, 1981-1982
University of Alberta, Linguistics, 1982-1983
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Writing Center, Composition, 1986-1988

Document Usability Expert, Bell-Northern Research, 1988-1990

Designing and conducting a variety of documentation and interface tests; researching usability, online and interface issues; organizing courses; directing external research; coordinating and directing online policy; directing usability program (became Department Prime, 1989).

Usability, documentation, and interface consultant

Third Conference on Quality in Documentation, 1993
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, 1994
OpenText, 1995
watAGE, 1999, 2000, 2001
QJunction Technology, 2000, 2001
Intelligent Mechatronics, 2008

Editing and professional writing

Freelance scientific editor for geologists, 1984-85: corrected and clarified academic manuscripts submitted for publication
Contributing editor, The Learned Societies Newsletter, 1981: reviewed, collated, wrote, and edited articles; designed layout
Financial writer, Norstar Data Services, 1987: wrote brochures advertising and describing financial services.
Copy writer, Technical Writers' Institute, 1987: wrote the brochure for the 1987 conference.
Technical Writer, Allied Signal-Bendix, 1986: wrote assembly protocols and systems documentation in an aerospace plant.


Voice interaction design. 2005. San Francisco: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers (an Elsevier imprint).

"This is that rare book in Human Computer Interaction we all hope for: the presentation of a practical design process for an emerging important area that is carefully developed out of supporting science. Harris's book offers a competitive edge for designers and a provocative framing of problems for researchers in language." —Stuart Card, PARC.

Download the excerpt featured in ACM's Ubiquity.

The linguistics wars. 1993. Second edition 2019. New York: Oxford University Press.

“As an attempt to bring the discipline to life the way James D. Watson brought DNA research to life in The Double Helix, it is a complete success. The literature of linguistics is suffused with irritable intellectuality and crackles with invective and condescension (one of Chomsky’s main opponents once concluded a paper like a ten-year-old at recess: “Nyahh, Nyahh!”), but no one before Harris has succeeded at bringing the personalities to life. ... This is intellectual history crossed with a Shakespearean history play.”—David Berreby, The sciences.

"...outstanding ... meticulous detail ... great sensitivity and unswerving impartiality ... Harris has achieved the near impossible:  being fair to both sides in a civil war." —Neil Smith, Nature

"brilliantly comprehensive in its grasp of historical fact and conceptual detail, and engagingly written to boot." —Geoffrey Galt Hapham, Salmagundi

"[T]he book is extraordinarily well written ... not only broad but also deep ... refreshing ... the standard of scholarship exemplified in the book is simply stunning.John Lawler, LINGUIST

Acoustic dimensions of functor comprehension in Broca's aphasia. 1988. Bloomington: Indiana University Linguistics Club.

"In a replication of Heilman and Scholes' principal results, it was found that the aphasic population was significantly less reliable overall than normals in a forced choice task and that the difference between correct responses and function errors was not significantly greater than chance for sentences with normal intonation. However, a salient effect was discovered, in that the subjects were significantly more reliable with acoustically boosted tokens of the key function word. Harris suggests that there is a performance component to Broca syndrome functor difficulties and offers an explanation of the results in terms of short term memory difficulties. The work includes a literature survey more comprehensive than any to date in this area. Mr. Harris' book will find interested readership from the fields of both linguistics and communicative disorders." —IULC catalogue

Rhetoric and incommensurability. 2005. Parlor Press. With an introduction by me; and with chapters by Charles Bazerman and René Agustín De los Santos; John Angus Campbell; Leah Ceccarelli; Jeanne Fahnestock; Alan G. Gross; Paul Hoyningen-Huene; Thomas Lessl; John Lyne; Carolyn R. Miller; Lawrence Prelli; and Herbert W. Simons.

"Rhetoric and Incommensurability should attract attention from almost anyone interested in rhetoric. The incommensurability issue has implications that encompass all flavors of rhetoric, and the book seems well designed both to engage the rhetoric of science specialists and the more general audience of rhetoricians." —Michael C. Leff (prepublication)

"[This book] will be of interest to rhetoricians, students of scientific rhetoric, and a range of scholars in various arenas of science studies. It will also be of interest to philosophers of science, and to philosophers interested in rhetoric." —Harvey Siegel (prepublication)

"Harris’s booklength introduction ... impresses me as a real tour de force. The book is worth buying for this essay alone for the revealing way it disentangles themes in the literature on incommensurability, including discussion of rhetoric and ways of dealing with incommensurability." —Struan Jacobs, International Studies in the Philosophy of Science

"Not only is Harris’s ‘‘Introduction’’ theoretically sound, it is also written with a wit and humor that thoroughly engages the reader. I admit I found myself laughing out loud on more than one occasion." —S. Scott Graham, Rhetoric Society Quarterly

Landmark essays in rhetoric of science: case studies. 1997. Mahwah, NJ: Hermagoras Press (a Lawrence Erlbaum Associates imprint). Second edition, 2017 ( Taylor and Francis).With an introduction by me; and with reprinted essays by Charles Bazerman; John Angus Campbell; Leah Ceccarelli; Jeanne Fahnestock; Alan G. Gross; S. Michael Halloran; John Lyne & Henry Howe; Ashley Rose Kelly [now Mehlenbacher] & Carolyn R. Mille;, Greg Myers; Lawrence Prelli; Carol Reeves; Michelle Sidler; Richard M. Weaver; Craig Waddell; and James Wynn; and with a bibliography by me [deleted for the second edition].

“Harris’s introduction is an illuminating and witty presentation of the kinds of assumptions lay readers make about why scientists try to appeal to the public, and why scientific methods themselves can be considered instruments of persuasion. … Together the case essays and Harris’s introductory conversation challenge the reader to ask: If the scientist in question is attempting to introduce new evidence, what will it take to persuade other scientists of its validity. Or is any science, any experimentation, or system of validity an attempt to persuade any public, scientific or popular, to believe in a model of reality? What makes this collection vital is that it addresses these questions through specific landmark cases and, in the process, reveals the impact of having asked them.”—Rebecca Hettich, Technical Communication.

Selected proceedings

Literature, Rhetoric, and Values. Edited with Shelley Hulan and Murray McArthur. 2012. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Scholars Press. A selection of essays developed out of the Literature, Rhetoric and Values Conference held at the University of Waterloo in 2011, commemorating the 50th year of the English department.

The essays in this collection combine cutting-edge literary and rhetorical scholarship to investigate the evolving values of the modern world, confronting such issues as torture, genocide, environmental apocalypse, and post-traumatic stress syndrome. First delivered as part of the vibrant ideas exchange of an international conference, they are the product of rigorous selection and review undertaken with an emphasis on their complementarity.


The authors include established scholars such as groundbreaking genre-theorist Carolyn R. Miller, phenomenological rhetorician and cultural critic Michael MacDonald, and eco-critic Andrew McMurry, alongside an exciting company of emerging voices. Together, they essay the ethical and cultural dimensions of ‘works’ ranging from whisky bottles and microblogs to graphic novels and classified government documents, as well as more established forms of poetry and fiction. An introduction by the editors frames the rhetorical and literary critical backdrop to these studies, summarizes their individual contributions, and sets them in relation to each other and the guiding themes of the conference.


Check out the introduction and table of contents (pdf). Review by Jennifer R. Ballengee, in Present Tense 1.4.

Special numbers

Rhetorical figures. Edited with Crysanne Di Marco. 2017. A special number of Argument & Computation (8.3). With an introduction by me and Chrysanne Di Marco, including a glossary of rhetorical terms; and articles by Ashley Rose Mehlenbacher; Ying Yuan; Jelena Mitrović, Cliff O’Reilly, Miljana Mladenović, & Siegfried Handschuh; and John Lawrence, Jacky Visser, & Chris Reed.

Cognitive allegory. Edited with Sarah Tolmie. 2011. A special number of Metaphor and Symbol (26.2). With an introduction by me and Sarah Tolmie; with articles by Paul Thagard, Raymond W. Gibbs, Jr., Todd Oakley with Peter Crisp, and Madeleine Kasten with Curtis Gruenler.

Rhetoric of science in Canada. Edited with Isabelle Clerc and Zelie Gueval. 2000. A special number of Technostyle (16.1). With an introduction by me, Zélie Guéval, and Isabelle Clerc; with articles by Céline Beaudet; Ginette Demers, Isabelle Collombat, Sylvain Jobin & Valérie Richard; Bruno Latour & Paolo Fabbri (with a translation by Sarah Cummins); Joyce Parsons; Frances Ranger; Christine Trott; and Judy Segal; and with a note by Michael Overington.

Technical communication in Canada. Edited with Pamela Russell. 1994. A special number of The Journal of Technical Writing and Communication (24.3). With an introduction by me and Pamela Russell; with articles by Jacqueline Bossé-Andrieu, Hélène Cajolet-Laganière & Pamela Russell; Jennifer J. Connor; Dave Goodwin; Roger Graves, Jack McFadden & Shirley Moore; Michael P. Jordan; Lilita Rodman; and Candace Séguinot; and with a bibliography by Jennifer J. Connor.

Articles and chapters


The fourth master trope, antithesis. 2019. Advances in the History of Rhetoric 22.1.


Scientific futures for a rhetoric of science: We do this and they do that? With David R. Gruber [Senior author]. 2018. POROI.


An annotation scheme for rhetorical figures. With Chrysanne Di Marco, Sebastian Ruan, and Cliff O'Reilly. 2018. Argument & Computation 9.2:155-175.


The history of a science: unreliable narrators and how science moves on [more of a headline than a title; I didn't choose it]. 2018. openDemocracy 9 May, part of an exchange that starts with an article by Chris Knight (Chomsky's choice), and includes commentaries by Frederick J. Newmeyer, Lev Ledivow, David Golumbia, Wolfgang Sperlich, Peter Jones, and a second one by Knight.


Hello Wolfgang. 2018. openDemocracy 8 November, a response to an article by Wolgang Sperlich (The latter day critics of Noam Chomsky) accusing me of being part of an improbable gang dogpiling on Noam Chomsky.


The cognitive and computational programme in rhetorical studies. 2018. Rhetor 7.2.1:30-39.


Stasis salience and the enthymemic thesis. With Ying Yuan [Senior author] and Yan Jiang. 2017. Language and Semiotic Studies 3.3:103-124.

Rhetorical figures, arguments, computation. With Chrysanne Di Marco. 2017. Argument & Computation 8.3: 211-231.

A figurative mind: Gertrude Buck's The Metaphor as a nexus in cognitive metaphor theory. With Ashley Rose Mehlenbacher [Senior author]. 2017. Rhetorica. 35.1:75-109.


Argumentative meanings and their stylistic configurations in clinical research publications.With Olga Gladkova [Senior author] and Chrysanne Di Marco. 2016. Argument & Computation 6.3:310-346.


Alan G. Gross: Floppy-eared rhetorical rabbit, redux. 2014. POROI 10.2


What's in a name? Journal titles in the field of epistemic research. With Olga Gladkova [Senior author] and Chrysanne Di Marco. 2014. The Journal of Argumentation in Context. 3.3


Figural logic in Mendel's Experiments on plant hybrids. 2013. Philosophy and Rhetoric 46.4


The rhetoric of science meets the science of rhetoric. 2013. POROI 9.1.

Cognitive allegory: An introduction. With Sarah Tolmie. 2011. Metaphor & Symbol 26.2.

Scheme trope chroma chengyu: Figuration in Chinese four-character idioms. With Lynn Chien [Senior author]. 2011. Cognitive Semiotics 6.

Chomsky’s other revolution. 2010. In Chomskyan revolutions/evolutions. Edited by Douglas Kibbee. Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 237-264.

Alan Gross and the rhetoric of science. 2009. Perspectives on Science 17.3.

Keeping curious company: Wayne C. Booth's friendship model of criticism and the work of Hunter S. Thompson. With Stefanie Stiles [Senior author]. 2009. College English 71.4, 309-333.

Reception studies in rhetoric of science. 2004. Technical Communication Quarterly 14.3, 249-255.

Knowing, rhetoric, science. 2002. Visions and revisions: Issues in rhetoric and composition. James Williams, ed. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 163-219.

Other words. 1999. And no birds sing: Rhetorical analyses of Rachel Carson's Silent spring. Craig Waddell, ed. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 126-156.

A note on the Max Planck Effect. 1998. Rhetoric Society Quarterly 28, 85-9.

Rhetoric of science in Canada. With Isabelle Clerc and Zélie Guéval. 1995. Technostyle 16.1:11-21.

Technical communication in Canada; La communication technique au Canada. With Pamela Russell. 1994. The Journal of Technical Writing and Communication 24.3:221-36.

The Chomskyan revolution 1: Science, syntax, and semantics. 1994. Perspectives on Science 2, 38-75.

The Chomskyan revolution 2: Sturm und Drang. 1994. Perspectives on Science 2, 176-230.

Generative semantics: Secret handshakes, anarchy notes, and the implosion of ethos. 1993. Rhetoric Review 23, 125-60.

The origin and development of generative semantics. 1993. Historiographia Linguistica 20.2/3, 397-439.

Posterity as exigence: Arthur Inman and his audience. 1992. Rhetoric Society Quarterly 22.2, 51-65 (Special Issue on Chaim Perelman).

A do-it yourself usability kit. 1991. The Journal of Technical Writing and Communication 21.4, 351-68. Reprinted [for a workshop] in the Proceedings of the Third Conference on Quality in Documentation: Usability Concepts and Procedures. 1992.

Rhetoric of science. 1991. College English 53.3, 282-307.

Social definition in Pride and Prejudice: An exercise in extensional semantics. 1991. English Studies in Canada 17.2, 163-76.

A taxonomy of online information. With William Hosier. 1991. Technical Communication 38.2, 197-210.

Assent, dissent, and rhetoric in science. 1990. Rhetoric Society Quarterly 20.1, 13-37. Reprinted in Humanistic aspects of technical communication (Paul Dombrowski, editor; Baywood, 1994), and in Teaching Argument in the Composition Course: Background Readings (Timothy Barnett, editor; Bedford/St.Martin's Press, 2002).

Linguistic guidelines for graphic interfaces. 1990. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication 33.1, 46-53. Abstracted by Amy Dassie for an article in Stimulus 18.1:1-4 (1991), the newsletter of the Eastern Ontario chapter of the Society for Technical Communication.

Argumentation in Syntactic Structures: An exercise in the rhetoric of science. 1989. Rhetoric Society Quarterly 19.2, 105-30.

A signal-processing component to Broca's aphasia. With Lois Marckworth Stanford and Thomas F. Campbell. 1989. Neuropsychologia 27.5, 599-605.

The man who was a thing: Criticism and Uncle Tom's cabin. 1988. College English 50.6, 37-51.

Ethos and the power of Syntactic structures. 1989. In Rhetoric and ideology: Compositions and criticisms of power. Charles W. Kneupper, editor. Arlington: Rhetoric Society of America, 189-96.

Linguistics, technical writing, and generalized phrase structure grammar. 1988. The Journal of Technical Writing and Communication 18.3, 227-40. This paper engendered a minor controversy (see Ferguson and Parker, "Grammar and Technical Writing," also JTWC 20, pp. 357-68, 1990, and my response two volumes later, JTWC 22, pp.53-6, 1992).

Bakhtin, Phaedrus, and the geometry of rhetoric. 1988. Rhetoric review 18.1:168-76. Reprinted in Frank Farmer, ed. Landmark essays on Bakhtin. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 15-22.

Reviews—academic and professional

Armin Burkhardt and Brigitte Nerlich’s Tropical truth(s): The epistemology of metaphor and other tropes (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2010). Quarterly Journal of Speech 97.4, 473-477.

Deanna D. Sellnow's The rhetorical power of popular culture: Considering mediated texts (Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2009). Rhetoric Society Quarterly 40.3, 298-302.

Christine L. Borgman's Scholarship in the digital age: Information, infrastructure, and the internet (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2007). Technical Communication 56 (2009), 189-191.

Laila Dybkjaer and Wolgang Minker's Recent Trends in Discourse and Dialogue (Dordrecht: Springer, 2008). Technical Communication 55.4. 2008, 426.

Philip B. Meggs's History of graphic design, 4th Edition (revised by Alston W. Purvis). (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2005). Technical Communication 54. 2007, 359-385.

Roy Harris's Semantics of science (New York: Continuum Press, 2005). 2007. Language in Society 36, 802-805.

Clifford Nass and Scott Brave's Wired for speech: how voice activates and advances the human-computer relationship (Cambridge, MA: The MIT PRess, 2005). 2006. Technical Communication 53, 471-492.

Fang Chen's Designing human interface in speech technology (New York: Springer, 2006). Unpublished (commissioned by Technical Communication, but the book was so disgracefully edited that there was little positive I could say, and the editor, rightly I think, decided not to run it).

Robert Bringhurst's The elements of typographic style, version 3.0 (Point Roberts, WA: Hartley & Marks, 2004). 2005. Technical Communication 52, 476-77.

Michael H. Cohen, James P. Giangola, and Jennifer Balogh's Voice user interface design (Boston, MA: Addison Wesley, 2004). 2005. Technical Communication 52, 476.

Asaf Degani's Taming HAL: designing human interfaces (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004). 2005. Technical Communication 52, 476-77.

John Angus Campbell and Stephen C. Meyer's Darwinism, design, and public education (East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 2003). 2004. Rhetoric Society Quarterly.

Leah Ceccarelli's Shaping science with rhetoric: the cases of Dobzhansky, Schrödinger, and Wilson (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001). 2003. Review of Communication.

Richard Marback's Plato's dream of sophistry (Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 1999). Unpublished (Two separate book-review editors for Philosophy and rhetoric were set to publish it, until they read it. I think maybe they thought I was too hard on the book, and perhaps on Plato as well.)

Susan Weinschenk and Dean T. Barker´s Designing effective speech interfaces (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2000). 2001. Technical Communication 48.2:218-222.

Jeanne Fahnestock's Rhetorical figures in science (New York: Oxford U P, 1999). 2001. Rhetoric Society Quarterly 31.

Charles Kostelnick and David D. Roberts's Designing visual language (Allyn & Bacon, 1998). 1999. Technostyle.

Charles Alan Taylor's Defining science: A rhetoric of demarcation (University of Wisconsin Press, 1997). 1999. Argumentation.

Karen Schriver's Dynamics in document design (John Wiley, 1996). 1998. The Journal of Technical Writing and Communication.

Wout van Bekkum et al.'s The emergence of semantics in four linguistic traditions: Hebrew, Sanskrit, Greek, Arabic (John Benjamins, 1996). 1998. The journal of the history of the behavioral sciences.

Jonathan Potter's Representing reality: Discourse, rhetoric, and social construction (Sage, 1996). 1998. Rhetoric Society Quarterly 28:87-90.

Linda Fowler and Victor Stanwick's The GUI style guide (AP Professional, 1995). The Journal of Technical Writing and Communication.

Tony Fernandez's Global interface design (AP Professional, 1996). Technical Communication Quarterly 5:202-6.

Frederick J. Newmeyer's Generative linguistics: A historical perspective (Routledge, 1996). LINGUIST 7-1451.

Richard McKeon's On knowing: The natural sciences (Chicago UP, 1995). 1996. Rhetoric Review.

Marcello Pera's Discourses of science (Chicago UP, 1994). 1995. Rhetoric Review 14:207-13.

Alexander George's (editor) Reflections on Chomsky (Basil Blackwell, 1989). 1991. Word 42:327-36.

Rhetoric of science meets the Nazis. 1989. Review of Robert Proctor's Racial hygiene (Harvard UP, 1988). Rhetoric Society Quarterly 19:66-7.


Robert F. Barsky's Noam Chomsky: A life of dissent Books in Canada 27.2 (March 98), 14-17

Rod Mengham's On language. The sphere (1994).

Robert Proctor's Racial hygiene. The Ottawa citizen. (December 1989).

Northrop Frye's Creation and recreation Our books now (4.1:3, 1981).

The Globe and Mail

National Edition
Stephen Pinker's The language instinct (18 June 94)
William Safire's In love with Norma Loquendi (24 December 94)
David Stern's Wittgenstein on mind and language (25 November 95)

Metro Edition
John Willinsky's Empire of words (2 February 95)
Marcello Pera's Discourses of science (1 June 95)

Technical reports

Productopia meets Q, and Portia too. 2000. Qjunction Technology.

Q and Portia. 2000. Qjunction Technology.

Natural language interface usability. 2000. Qjunction Technology. With Harry Logan, Andrew McMurry, and Glenn Stillar. As editor and principal author.

Technical documentation—Online information guidelines. 1990. Northern Telecom and Bell-Northern Research. As editor and principal author. Chapters include a general "Introduction," "Categories of online information," "Developing online information," "Writing online information," "Presenting online information," and "Organizing online information." A glossary and a list of references is also included.

NT Signature user interface guidelines. 1989. With Miguel Planas (senior author), John Meads, and others. Northern Telecom and Bell-Northern Research. My principal responsibility was for the chapter, "Linguistic guidelines" (pp. 81-109), a later version of which was published in the I.E.E.E. transactions on professional communication (as above), but I worked extensively on all aspects of the guidelines, and contributed to the writing of several other chapters.

Instructors' manual for Linguistics 382, Modern English Syntax. 1985. With Matthew S. Dryer. The Department of Linguistics, University of Alberta.



Rhetoric of science infography

Speech user interface design infography

With Michael Truscello. Rhetoric of science in 2002. 2003. Technical communication quarterly 12.4.
With Michael Truscello. Rhetoric of science in 2001. 2002. Technical communication quarterly 11.4.
Rhetoric of science in 2000. 2001. Technical communication quarterly 10.4.
Rhetoric of science in 1999. 2000. Technical communication quarterly 9.4.
Rhetoric of science in 1998. 1999. Technical communication quarterly 8.4.
Rhetoric of science in 1997. 1998. Technical communication quarterly 7.4.
Rhetoric of science in 1996. 1997. Technical communication quarterly 6.4.
Rhetoric of science in 1995. 1996. Technical communication quarterly 5.4.
Rhetoric of science in 1994. 1995. Technical communication quarterly 4.4.
Rhetoric of science in 1993. 1994. Technical communication quarterly 3.4

Editorials, notes, responses, complaints, unrefereed proceedings papers, and the like

Foreword to Sarah Cummins (2007) translation of Dan Sperber's “Rudiments of Cognitive Rhetoric,” Rhetoric society quarterly, 37, 357-359.

Articles in the Cambridge encyclopedia of the language sciences. Patrick Colm Hogan, editor. London: Cambridge University Press, 2008. Entries on:

Standard Theory and Extended Standard Theory
Generative Semantics
Voice Interaction Design

Biographical entries in the Biographical dictionary of Western linguistics, 1450-present. John Joseph and Pierre Swiggers, editors. London: Routledge, 2000. Entries on:

Jerry Fodor
Jerrod Katz
James McCawley
Paul Postal
John Robert (Haj) Ross

Letter to the editor on Black English, Globe and Mail (January, 1994), an otherwise unremarkable little note, except that it was pounced upon by Peter C. Emberley as an example of liberal daffiness, in his "Hot-button politics on campus", The Globe and Mail (27 July 96), and in the larger polemic that piece comes from, his Zero tolerance: Hot button politics in Canada's universities (Penguin Canada, 1996).

A response to David Berreby's "Figures of speech" (on my Linguistics wars). 1994. In "Peer Review. " The sciences (May/June)

The LINGUISTics Wars (author's response). 1993. LINGUIST List 4.654.

A response to John Lawler's review of my Linguistics wars (LINGUIST List 4.644); see also the comments of Steven Murray (and again, here), Richard Wojeck, Douglas Kibee, Helen Dry, and Barbara Need; the book also came up for discussion as part of an exchange over Robert Barsky's A Life in dissent (see Feargal Murphy, and the response by Paul Postal and Geoffrey Pullum (and Pullum again), and Barsky's take on the issues).

A Response to K. Scott Ferguson and Frank Parker's "Grammar and technical writing." 1992. The journal of technical writing and communication 22:53-6.

The pragmatics of usability. With Paul Yee (as senior author). 1989. Technicom '89 proceedings. Ann Rockley, editor. Toronto: Technicom, 155-60

Acoustic dimensions of functor comprehension in Broca's aphasia. With Lois Marckworth Stanford (under my senior authorship). 1985. Proceedings of the Western Conference on Linguistics. Eugene: The University of Oregon.

Conference organization

Computational Rhetoric Workshop: Computing Figures / Figuring Computers II.  12-14 August 16. University of Waterloo. A multidisciplinary,threee-day intensive workshop on the intersection of computation and rhetoric. Addresses by Chrysanne Di Marco, Marie Dubremetz, Randy Harris, Daniel Hromada, Ashley Rose Kelly [now Mehlenbacher], John Lawrence, Jelena Mitrović, Cliff O'Reilly, Michael Ullyot, and Ying Yuan.

Computational Rhetoric Workshop: Computing Figure / Figuring Computers.  31 July 14. University of Waterloo's CIGI Campus. A multidisciplinary, one-day intensive workshop on the intersection of computation and rhetoric. Keynotes by Chrysanne Di Marco, Randy Harris, Omar Nafees, and Michael Ullyot. Raw footage of accompanying webcast.

Literature, Rhetoric, and Values. 3-5 June 11. University of Waterloo. A three-day conference to foster productive interdisciplinary exchanges on the nexus of values with literature and rhetoric, broadly conceived. Highlights include a plenary discussion between Barry Brummett and Christopher Hitchens on the cultural value of religion, moderated by Jian Ghomeshi; and keynote addresses by Carolyn R. Miller, James Phelan, and Barry Brummett. Video of the Hitchens/Brummett debate.

Cognitive Allegory Workshop. 26 June 09. St. Jeromes University and the University of Waterloo. A multidisciplinary, international one-day intensive workshop on the cognitive underpinnings of allegory, which brought together medievalists who work specifically on allegorical texts with rhetoricians, literary theorists, psychologists, and philosophers who focus on representations of knowledge. Keynotes by Mary Thomas Crane, Raymond W. Gibbs, Jr., and Paul Thagard.

Keynote addresses

Form-Function dyads and computational rhetoric. CMNA XVII - Computational Models of Natural Argument. Strand campus, King's College, London.16 June 17.


Computers, cognition, chiasmus; chiasmus, cognition, computers. Computers Figuring / Figuring Computers II: A Workshop on Computational Rhetoric.12 August 16. University of Waterloo Davis Centre. Accompanying webcast.


Construction Grammar, rhetorical figures, computational linguistics. Computers Figuring / Figuring Computers: A Workshop on Computational Rhetoric. 31 July 14. University of Waterloo CIGI Campus MRP 142. Accompanying webcast.


The Antimetabole Construction. The 12th ArgDiaP [Argumentation Dialogue Persuasion] Conference. 21 May 14. Staszic Palace, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw.


Rhetoric, incommensurability, and the curious case of David Brewster. Incommensurability 50. 3 June 12. National Taiwan University.


Two failed metaphors: Incommensurability does not obtain For the Halloran Symposium 2003. Troy, 2 May 03.


A new career path: voice user interfaces and technical communication For the Southwestern Ontario chapter of the Society for Technical Communicators. Davis Centre, University of Waterloo, 3 April 01.

Linguistics, Usability, and Technical Communication. Keynote Address for the awards ceremony of the combined Toronto, Toronto-West, and Southwestern Ontario chapters of the Society for Technical Communication. The Old Mill Inn, Toronto, 1 April 95.

Invited talks, conference presentations, guest lectures

Antimetabole and its friends. International Association for Cognitive Semiotics. Toronto ON. 15 July 18.


A climactic ontology. With Cliff O’Reilly (Senior author), Yetian Wang, Katherine Tu, Sarah Bott, Paulo Pacheco, and Tyler William Black. International Association for Cognitive Semiotics. Toronto ON. 14 July 18.


Re-Inventing rhetorical figures: Celebrating the past, building the future. Rhetoric Society of America Conference. Minneapolis, MN. 2 June 18.


Scientific futures for a rhetoric of science: We do this and they do that? With David Gruber. Rhetoric Society of America Conference. Minneapolis, MN. 1 June 18.


Rhetoric, neuroscience, and cognitive resilience. Association for the Rhetoric of Science, Technology, and Medicine Pre-Conference. 31 May 18.


The chiastic suite. Toronto Semiotic Circle, Victoria College, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, 11 April 18.


Arguments in gradatio, incrementum and climax, a climax ontology. With Cliff O’Reilly (Senior author), Yetian Wang, Katherine Tu, Sarah Bott, Paulo Pacheco, and Tyler William Black. CMNA XVIII - Computational Models of Natural Argument. Proceedings. Liverpool, UK, 6 April 18. Presented by O’Reilly.


Figural logic in scientific argumentation. Soka University of America. Aliso Viejo, California. 13 February 18.


Antimetabole and image schemata: Ontological and vector space models. 2017. With Cliff O’Reilly (Senior author). JOWO (Joint Ontology Workshops) 2017. Free University of Bozen. Bolzano, Italy. 21 September 17.


Rhetorical schemes as grammatical constructions. The 14th International Cognitive Linguistics Conference (Tartu, Estonia). 12 July 17.


A neurocognitive ontology of rhetorical figures. Congress. Canadian Society for the Study of Rhetoric. 1 June 17. Ryerson University.


A cognitive ontology of rhetorical figures. With Chrysanne Di Marco, Ashley Rose Mehlenbacher, Robert Clapperton, Insun Choi, Isabel Li, Sebastian Ruan, and Cliff O’Reilly. CAOS - Cognition and Ontologies. University of Bath. 20 April 17.


Antimetabole, argument, computation. Argumentation Group, Artificial Intelligence section of the Department of Computer Science, The University of `Liverpool. 20 March 17.


Chiastic figures and how they argue. Centre for Argument Technology, University of Dundee. 23 March 17


I called Noam Chomsky a liar. Cognitive Science Confessions: My Biggest Cognitive Science Mistake. Cognitive Science Colloquium. 7 December 16. University of Waterloo.


Rhetorical figure annotation with XML. With Sebastian Ruan and Chrysanne Di Marco. CMNA XVI - Computational Models of Natural Argument. Proceedings. New York, NY, 9 July. Presented by Ruan and Di Marco.


Ploche: Überscheme. Congress. Canadian Society for the Study of Rhetoric. 2 June 16. University of Calgary.

The fourth master trope, antithesis. Rhetoric Society of America. 28 May 16, Atlanta, GA.

This idea must die: Conceptual metaphor. This Idea Must Die Symposium. 14 December 15. AL 208, University of Waterloo.


The four master schemes. Congress. Canadian Society for the Study of Rhetoric. 5 June 15. University of Ottawa.


Scheme, trope, chroma, move. Tutorial. Interdisciplinary Graduate School on Argumentation and Rhetoric. 23 May 14. Staszic Palace, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw.


Antimetabole—A comprehensive figure. Figuration across the Modalities, a panel including papers by Cameron Butt (“Classifying Rhetorical Pictures: Advertising the Northern Gateway Pipeline”), Gian Mancuso (“Procedural Figures”), and Tommy Mayberry (“G.U.Y.s and G.I.R.L.s: Embodying our Figures in Logic”) Congress. Canadian Society for the Study of Rhetoric. 2 June 14. Brock University.

The fourth master trope. Congress. Canadian Society for the Study of Rhetoric. 2 June 13. University of Victoria.

What are the cognitive affinities? Waterloo Ignorance Day. 6 December 12. PAS 2083, University of Waterloo.


The rhetoric of science meets the science of rhetoric. Association of Rhetoric, Science, and Technology Vicentennial Celebration. 14 November 12. Orlando, Florida.

Where is metaphor?! Waterloo Ignorance Day. 7 December 11. PAS 2083, University of Waterloo.

Mendel's figural logic. (Presented by Robert Clapperton.) Stylistics across disciplines. 17 June 11. University of Leiden, The Netherlands.

On Brendon Larson’s Metaphors for environmental sustainability. SLAS 2011. 23 September 11. The Museum, Kitchener ON.

The RhetFig Project: Computational Rhetorics and Models of Persuasion. With Chrysanne Di Marco. (Presented by Chrysanne Di Marco.) CMNA XI (Computational Models of Natural Argument) 7 August 11, San Francisco, CA.

Schematic organization of clinical decision-making: Findings from qualitative corpus analysis. 2011. With Olga Gladkova (Senior author) and Chrysanne Di Marco. CMNA XI (Computational Models of Natural Argument) 7 August 11, San Francisco, CA.

Your brain on rhetoric. Extended Learning Opportunities. 17 March 11, Erin, Ontario.


Toward an ontology of rhetorical figures. With Ashley Rose Kelly [now Mehlenbacher], Nike A. Abbott, and Chrysanne Di Marco. (Presented by Ashley Rose Kelly and Nike Abbot.) ACM-SIGDOC 2010. 28 September. Sao Paolo, Brasil.


The return of the body. Max Planck Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte (Sciences of Communication Workshop). 20 March 10, Berlin, Germany.

Constructing a rhetorical figuration ontology. With Chrysanne Di Marco. AISB (Artificial Intelligence and Simulation of Behaviour ) 8 April 09, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Commitment valence in group negotiations: The case of North Korea. With Amer Obeidi. GDN (Group Decision and Negotiation) session of CORS/INFORMS (Canadian Operational Research Society / Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences), 12 June 09, Toronto ON.

Rhetoric, argumentation, and fallacies. CSME (Canadian Society of Medical Evaluators), 16 June 09, Toronto ON.

An annotation tool for automatically detecting rhetorical figures. With Jakub Gawryjolek and Chrysanne Di Marco. CMNA (Computational Models of Natural Argument) 13 July 09, Pasadena, CA

Figural logic in Mendel’s Experiments in plant hybridization. The joint conference of the CSSR (Canadian Society for the Study of Rhetoric) and the ISHR (International Society for the History of Rhetoric), 21 July 09, Montreal.

Cognition and the rhetoric of science. ARST (Association for Rhetoric of Science and Technology) session of NCA (National Communication Association), 11 November 09, Chicago, IL

Cognitive dimensions of the universal audience, The Promise of Reason: The New Rhetoric after Fifty Years, 18 May 08, University of Oregon.

Coduction and the incommensurability of values, Canadian Society for the Study of Rhetoric, 4 June 08, University of British Columbia.

Knowing Mendel, Mendel knowing. 26 October 07, 232 Hagey Hall, University of Waterloo.

Crossing Mendel. For SAGE (Student Association of Graduates in English), 15 June 07, University of Waterloo.

Cognitive rhetoric and the genesis of genetics. 10 January 07, 232 Cathedral of Learning, University of Pittsburgh.

Using blogs to promote discussion. Presentation for "Blogging and Academic Life," 18 April 05, Flex lab, LT3, University of Waterloo.

Figuring brains: rhetoric, cognition, children’s literature and oral poetry. Lecture to language scholars visiting from Jiangsu Province, China, 6 November 03. University of Waterloo.

Rhetoric and the commensurability of values For Inventio. Waterloo, 8 August 03.

Rhetoric and the incommensurability of values For ILL@25 2003. Windsor, 15 May 03.

Comentary on Nicholas Shackel's 'Two rhetorical manouevres: Vacuity of post modernist methodology. For ILL@25 2003. Windsor, 17 May 03.

Kuhn, Feyerabend, rhetoric and incommensurable argumentation. Hawaii International Conference on the Arts and Humanities, 2003. Honolulu, 2 January 03.

The problem of incommensurability. Introduction to a panel discussion, Rhetoric and incommensurability. For RSA 2002. Las Vegas, 23 May 02.

(Anti-)anthropomorphism and interface design. With Paula Loewen (and presented by her). For CATTW 2002, Toronto, 27 May 02.

Rhetoric and the incommensurability of values. With Lara Varpio (and presented by her). For CSSR 2002. Toronto, 27 May 02.

Voice interface design. For the WatCHI panel discussion, UW perspectives on HCI. Davis Centre 1304, University of Waterloo, 23 November 01.

Themata, Topoi, Knowledge. National Communication Association Convention. Washington State Convention Center, Seattle, 9 November 00.

Reading the RST Literature—The Scholarly Conversation. National Communication Association Convention. Washington State Convention Center, Seattle, 9 November 00.

On Scott Montgomery's 'Science by Other Means—Japanese Science and the Politics of Translation.' National Communication Association Convention. Washington State Convention Center, Seattle, 10 November 00.

Human Factors in Information Design. For the University of Toronto course, The Principles of Information Design. Faculty of Information Studies building, 30 October 00.

Rhetorical Hermeneutics through Thick and Thin. For the University of Waterloo Philosophy Department. Board Room, Hagey Hall, University of Waterloo, 9 April 99.

Enthymemes, Markedness, and Incommensurability. National Communication Association Conference. (Delivered by Thomas Lessl.) Gibson Suite, New York Hilton, 23 November 98.

Pervasiveness and Productivity of Rhetoric in Science. For IF, the University of Waterloo Interdisciplinary Forum. Board Room, Hagey Hall, University of Waterloo, 25 March 97.

University of Waterloo's Rhetoric/Language and Professional Writing Programmes. For the combined Southwestern Ontario Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication and the Grand Valley Chapter of the International Association of Business Communication. Davis Centre, University of Waterloo, 5 October 95.

Artificial Languages. OAC talk, Board Room, Hagey Hall, University of Waterloo, 13 April 95.

Rhetoric of Science. Philosophy Department Spring Colloquium series. Board Room, Hagey Hall, University of Waterloo, 19 May 95.

Notational Variants, Restrictiveness, and Grammaticality. Department of Linguistics, University of Toronto, 10 February 95.

Testing Usability Testing. Southwestern Ontario Society for Technical Communication. Davis Centre, University of Waterloo, 2 February 95.

Teaching Science Writing to Technical Communication Students. Canadian Association of Teachers of Technical Writing, University of Calgary, 10 June 94.

Workshop for The University of Waterloo Third Conference on Quality in Documentation: Usability Concepts and Procedures: A Do-it-yourself Usability Kit. Davis Centre, University of Waterloo, 3 July 93.

Cognitive Science Series: "The Chomskyan Revolution, Parts 1 and 2." Engineering 2, University of Waterloo, 15 February 93.

SAGE Brown-Bag series on Professional Issues: "Getting Published." Hagey Hall, University of Waterloo, 10 October 92.

Ethos and the power of Syntactic structures. Rhetoric Society of America, Arlington, TX. 89.

Referee and adjudicate

Book manuscripts and proposals, for Oxford University Press, University of Chicago Press, John Benjamins, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Irwin Publishing, The MIT Press, Morgan Kauffman Publishers.

Articles, for Cognitive Semiotics, Isis, Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, Rhetoric Society Quarterly, Technical Communication Quarterly, Technostyle, Historiographica Linguistica.

Grant applications, for Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems (MITACS), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Scholarship applications, for Ontario Graduate Scholarships (OGS).

Conference papers for SigDoc (Annual meeting of the Special Interest Group on Documentation, of the Association for Computing Machinery), CogSci (Annual meeting of the Cognitive Science Society).

Random acts of punditry

Interviewed (for TV) on

US Presidential Election Rhetoric 2012: Analysis and Discussion, for the Rawal TV show Contemporary Issues (22 November 2012), hosted by Atif Mir. It is available on YouTube.

US Presidential Election Rhetoric 2012: Obama vs. Romney, for the Rawal TV show Contemporary Issues (6 November 2012), hosted by Atif Mir. It is available on YouTube.

Bullshit and Truth, for the Rawal TV show Contemporary Issues (18 December 2011), hosted by Atif Mir. It is available on YouTube (4 episodes).

Clichés, for CKCO (the story ran locally in Kitchener-Waterloo, and was picked up nationally, running several times on CTV Newsnet, and appearing on Canada AM; January 2007)

Text-messaging and spelling conventions, for CKCO (the story ran locally in Kitchener-Waterloo; August 2006)

Interviewed (for radio) on

Lies, Rhetoric and Truthiness, for CBC's The Current (National; 1 October 2008)

Quoted (in print) as a

History of linguistics expert in Evan Goldstein, "Who Framed George Lakoff?," The Chronicle of Higher Education (15 August 2008)

Voice-interaction authority in Janie Iadipaolo's voice-interaction article for Customer Management Insight (January 2007)

Linguistics expert in Bill Bean "Hey," for the KW Record (3 March 007), which was picked up by the Cranbrook Daily Townsman, (Cranbrook BC, 30/3/07), The Tribune (Welland ON, 31/3/07), The Journal-Pioneer (Summerside PEI, 31/3/07), The Nugget (North Bay ON, 31/03/07), and The Sault Star (Sault Ste Marie ON, 31/03/07).

Voice-interaction authority in Naomi Grattan, "Ask your phone," Intercom (July 2001)

Pinko subversive in Peter C. Emberleys "Hot-button politics on campus", The Globe and Mail (27 July 96), and in the book that essay comes from, Zero tolerance: Hot button politics in Canada's universities (Penguin Canada, 1996). (The quote is out of context and a wilful misinterpretation, but I was honoured to find myself as one of Emberleys enemies.)

Technical writing authority in Hugh Marsh, "With friends like this, ..." Shell, the newsletter of the Santa Barbera chapter of the Society for Technical Communication (October 1993:6).

Linguistics authority in Scott Heller, "Linguistics on the defensive at Harvard," The chronicle of higher education (27/10/93):A8.

Usability authority in Neil Randall, "A look at usability testing," Windows (September, 1992:174).

Technical and scientific writing authority in Robert R. Armstrong, "Find a way with words," Rensselaer (March 1988:8-9).

Consulted for the

"Linguistics" entry for the American New Book Encyclopedia, 1999.

Discovery Channel documentary The road from silence (Tinsel Media Productions, Edmonton Alberta), 1995-96.

Biographical entries in

Contemporary authors (Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Publishing). Annual. Added 2000.

International authors and writers who's who (London, England : Europa Publications [Taylor & Francis]. Annual. Added 1995, with 14th ed.

Killam scholars who's who (entry 1179 in the first edition, 1777 in the second).

Lexington who's who. (Lanham, MD: Lexinginton Books [Rowman &Littlefield]). Biannual. Added 1995.

Other stuff

Editorial Board Member for The journal of technical writing and communication, 1992-

Editorial Board Member for Cognition & culture, 2009-

Invited participant in the 1995 University of Waterloo Arts Alumni Great Debate (taking the negative side of the question, Is gender dead?)

Mentor Graduate Student teachers (Kathleen Venema, Teena Carnegie, Tracy Whalen, James Allard, Sheila Hannon, Mark Wallin, Olga Gladkova, Saeed Sabzian)

Sorry, that's personal.