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Fighting over WordsLanguage and Civil Law Cases$
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Roger W. Shuy

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195328837

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195328837.001.0001

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Toxic Shock Syndrome from Tampons

Toxic Shock Syndrome from Tampons

Krystal H. Rinehart v. International Playtex

Chapter:
(p.107) CHAPTER 10 Toxic Shock Syndrome from Tampons
Source:
Fighting over Words
Author(s):

Roger W. Shuy (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195328837.003.0011

This case focused entirely on the warning label on the package insert of a tampons product used by a young woman who subsequently suffered from toxic shock syndrome (TSS). One side of the tightly folded insert contained instructions about how to use the product. The other side was labeled “Important Information About Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).” The “Important Information” side was compared with the Federal Drug Administration's guidelines for wording on tampon packages and inserts, focusing on the speech acts of warning and on the discourse requirements of prominence and legibility. Linguistic analysis was made concerning the semantics of “association,” “attention,” “alert,” and “warning”; the discourse analysis of topic; topic sequencing; the application of Grice's maxims of quantity, relation, and manner; and the importance of directness rather than indirectness in communications of this type, including an analysis of the lack of prominence and effective document design.

Keywords:   warning label, speech acts, warning, linguistic analysis, prominence, legibility, semantics, topic sequencing, Grice's maxims, indirectness, document design

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