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Additional info for Accessibility and Acceptability in Technical Manuals: A Survey of Style and Grammatical Metaphor (Document Design Companion Series, V. 4)

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Essential to the calculation of lexical density is furthermore the probability of a lexical item occurring in a text more than once. Words that occur frequently (high-probability words) are easier to process and hence seemingly less loaded with information. Examples of high-probability words are grammatical words, but also words which are used repeatedly such as make, have, go, etc. The same mitigating eŸect may be obtained through repetition of a lexical item in diŸerent lexical words such as diŸer, diŸerent, diŸerence in that the eŸect of lexical density is reduced (see Halliday, 1989: 65).

These may then be exchanged in the form of goods and services or information through the Modality and Mood systems. To describe the notion of modality, Halliday takes his starting point in polarity which implies that a choice has to be made between a negated and a non-negated ªnite verb. But between these two poles, there are a variety of possibilities, which Halliday classiªes as Propositions (statements and questions) and Proposals (oŸers and commands). Propositions subsume two categories: Probability — also known as epistemic modality — and Usuality, which notions show varying degrees of subjectivity as regards how probable an action is and how often it takes place.

The obvious answer to this question seems to point towards text accessibility, which is the area we have been concerned with all along. Intuitively, metaphoricity may be assumed to in¶uence comprehension. But how this happens and to what extent is less clear. As mentioned above, lexical metaphor has been shown to facilitate the comprehension of complex meaning while grammatical metaphor might have the opposite eŸect due to the complexities of transformation taking place at a subtler level, viz.

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