Navigating Discourse Genres:  Shows two small kids paddling a canoe

Parallel Texts in American Sign Language and English
on Canoeing in the Boundary Waters

with Eric Larson and Jenny Stenner
Interpretations by Anthony Verdeja


Hortatory Texts

Hortatory–Attempts to influence conduct of listener

Hortatory texts are attempts to persuade audiences who have already accepted certain ideas expressed in the text–sharing the same root as the word “exhort.” Both of these texts are focused on imagined audience of Wilderness Outfitters who want to make their services more accessible.

Eric’s talk focuses on providing access to people with disabilities, and Jenny’s talk is about providing access to people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. In your analysis, you may want to compare the explanatory and Hortatory texts and see what differences exist. These are sometimes grouped together as “Expository” texts and so there may be many more similarities between these genres than there are differences.

Hortatory Text – English


This length of this text is 5:40.

Click below to open the English Transcript

English Transcript

Hortatory Text—English Transcript

The Boundary Waters is a place that everybody should have access to, and, can reap the same benefits from in their experience traveling in the Boundary Waters. Um, people with disabilities, in a lot of cases, are often thought that, uh, that they might not have the same experience while experiencing the Boundary Waters or they might need to use a motor boat or something of that nature to have the same experience that an ablebodied visitor might have to the Boundary Waters. And I’m happy to know that you guys are not of that nature, not of that belief, that people with disabilities are you and me, and the neighborhood, and uh, or people in our neighborhood and family members–that are just members of our community and all—believe that wilderness experiences is a positive thing.

Some of the things to consider that…as outfitters, I think you guys have an obligation, and you obviously know that you market your outfitting services and you go to game fairs or whatever it might be, resource fairs, to let folks know that your services are available and what you offer. And one of the biggest things that I think people neglect to do is to, in their written information, or in their video information, they don’t highlight the things, they don’t make their brochures stand out in a way that people of all abilities are welcome. It’s an easy thing to do by putting a statement of inclusion into your brochures, or into your video recruitments or whatever you might be doing. That can be done simply by saying, “We welcome people of all abilities to participate in our, in our wilderness trips. We’d encourage you to let us know in advance what some of your needs might be, and uh, some of the things that, uh, we can do to help make your experience a more positive one.” Um, a lot of times people, if they don’t see that, they just assume that they’re not welcome. And if you make that step of saying, ” Hey, we welcoming. We embrace differences. We embrace diversity here on our trips” uh, people appreciate that. So, it’s just a simple, kind of uh user-friendly, consumer-friendly statement which you can include in your brochures.

When it comes to the actual planning of a trip, disability is a human condition and it’s something that we all live with or are faced with at some point in our life. And, and everybody is different in their levels of ability, so you can’t just say, by, that everybody is going to need wide portage paths, or paved portage paths, or ultralight canoes or whatever–it’s basically about treating people as individuals and finding out what their certain skills, and interest, and needs and abilities are. And, uh, so desiging kind of a registration form or some kind of questionnaire, so that when you do find out that people have some kind of special need, making sure you have that filled out in advance is going to give you the confidence that, Hey, these are the only things that this person is going to need, or some of the things that might help make this trip a little better.

Um, as far as physical modifications to a trip, of course route plan and level of difficulty is probably just as equally important when preparing to outfit a trip with people with disabilities as for able-bodied people. You can’t assume that because a guy in a wheelchair is on this trip, that the trip needs to be easy, or the trip needs to be tailored to the perceived inability of this person’s mobility. Um, by doing that, you’re taking away their opportunity to demonstrate what their strengths and abilities are. Um, not everybody that uses a wheelchair needs to be pushed. Some folks like to, can physically, uh, propel themselves. Other people might need a little more assistance.

So, coming up there’s, the American Canoe Association has guidebooks, it has suggested formats for making physical modifications to canoeing and to kayaking and to literature that you might have to promote your programs. There’s other local agencies in the region and in Minnesota, in particular, Wilderness Inquiry has done a lot of research on different routes in the Boundary Waters that are more accessible than others. The forest Service has also done a lot of work at making interpretive things available so I encourage you to contact the Forest Service and find out what kind of research or information that they have available on including people with disabilities on trips in the Boundary Waters. And a variety of other sources. Utilize your Centers for Independent Living and other agencies, and service providers for people with disabilities in the communities around you.

Hortatory Text – ASL


This length of this text is 4:53.

Starter question:

Both Eric and Jenny refer to other resources and agencies. How does mentioning these outside authorities contribute to the text’s ability to influence the audience?

Click below to open the ASL Outline

ASL Outline

Hortatory Text—ASL Outline

v Here is some info to help you in your decision to work with Deaf people
v Diversity
Ø Deaf
Ø Hard of Hearing
Ø Oral
v Not all deaf people sign
Ø Some use sign, some use talking, some a writing
· Passing on Emergency Information
v Deaf group on a trip
Ø Need to inform you of plans
· Some suggestions
v Get an interpreter for signing Deaf
· Contact RSC (Regional Service Center for Deaf/Hard of Hearing People)
§ Interpreter accompanies ranger
v Without interpreter, using writing
§ Some can communicate orally
v Many prefer writing for less misunderstandings
v How Deaf people communicate in canoes
v Not conducive to fast travel
Ø Bang side of canoe to get attention
· No paddling while talking
v Providing phone access
Ø Explain about Relay service
v If you need to make a change in reservation
§ Call relay number with voice
· Give operator Deaf person’s number
¨ Talk with operator using voice
Ø Operator conveys message to Deaf person using tty
· Tips:
v Talk Directly to Deaf person, not “Ask her” or “Tell her”
Ø End turn by saying “GA” for Go Ahead
§ End Conversation with SK for Stop Key.
· Short hand way of saying Good bye
Ø Have a book to share on TTY ettiquette
§ If lots of Deaf customers, may want to consider having own TTY
v Otherwise, Relay service can work really well