Explicit and Implicit Components of Social and Technical Instruction

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Instructions are increasingly part of our lives and become the subject of research by linguists, philosophers, political scientists, sociologists, and marketing professionals. Instructions not only regulate social aspects of our life, but also allow us to control technical systems and devices. Analysis of the explicit and implicit components of instructions provides knowledge about the types and functions of instructions, their direct and indirect impact on individuals and the human community at large. The paper takes a close look at “job descriptions” and “user manuals,” of instructions as algorithms for actions. It explores the discrepancy between the centrality of instruction for social life and the comparatively recent appearance of the term „instruction“ in our vocabulary. In linguistic terms, the paper refers to the Russian uses of „instruction“ but its conclusions apply more universally.