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Queen Bee
Nov 29, 2008
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Does the autocratic officialese of elected representatives transport you centrifugally past the direction-changing juncture?


Does jargon drive you crazy? Well the Local Government Association, a body that represents councils in England, is doing its bit to banish irritating phrases.

The LGA has listed 100 words or phrases that public bodies should avoid if they want to communicate effectively with people.

The list, which has been sent to councils across the country, includes such abominations as "value-added", "improvement levers", "predictors of beaconicity", "stakeholder" and "empowerment".

As the LGA chairman, Sir Simon Milton, put it: "Why do we have to have 'coterminous, stakeholder engagement' when we could just 'talk to people' instead?"

This determination to rid jargon from public life may see trivial, but Sir Simon makes an important point about the significance of language.

Without explaining what a council does in proper English then local people will fail to understand its relevance to them or why they should bother to turn out and vote.Unless information is given to people to explain why their council matters then local democracy will be threatened with extinction.

That of course applies in spades to politicians at the national level. Is it any wonder why Gordon Brown fails to connect to voters? Quite apart from his political missteps, the prime minister does not exactly use language that draws in voters.

He takes refuge behind a barrage of statistics during his confrontations with David Cameron in parliament and resorts to using jargon to which New Labour seems particularly prone.

Just look at any Queen's speech, where our poor monarch has to mouth some really horrible lines such as "financial inclusion" and "binding frameworks". Contrast Brown with Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential candidate, who uses language so effectively as part of his political appeal. Jargon does not move the people.

So bravo to the LGA for striking a blow for the English language. Let's hope it is not fighting a losing battle. Its list is not comprehensive and could easily stretch to more horrible phrases. A sequel has to include: "low-hanging fruit" and a term from the financial world that should never have crept into common use - "going forward"

Very widespread this use of jargon to intimidate the "rank and file" into thinking that some thick suit is brighter than them - little do they realise that all they are showing is their own insecurity and inferiority - caught one website using the word "colloquium" the other day, when what they actually meant was "an informal chat to discuss some ideas"...........:)


New Bee
Dec 10, 2008
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The real problem of jargon is that it hides vague ,waffled thinking behind ready made phrases. Read some of George Orwell's essays on the subject- written over 60 years ago. Nothing changes, except the particular jargon being used.


Queen Bee
Feb 27, 2009
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The language of beekeeping actually falls neatly into the category of jargon.
1. the language, esp. the vocabulary, peculiar to a particular trade, profession, or group: medical jargon.
2. unintelligible or meaningless talk or writing; gibberish.
3. any talk or writing that one does not understand.
4. pidgin.
5. language that is characterized by uncommon or pretentious vocabulary and convoluted syntax and is often vague in meaning.

One man's jargon happens to be another mans lingua franca. Each trade or calling has it's own range of words that are often pretty obscure to the lay man that has no knowledge of the subject or speciality area.
Shallow, super, deep, 14 x 12. These terms represent jargon to a lot of people who might not otherwise think of a hive as anything more than a vague stylised image associated with Poo bear, his jar of honey, dipper and a WBC hive.

I don't suggest that we all start dumbing down for the comic readers, but be aware that we, as well as others use the jargon that we do for reasons of expediency. I fully accept that civil servants and many others use jargon to promote self worth in the eyes of others and to make things sound smart when they are often crocks, the deluded ideas from some petty minded person or group that wouldn't recognise simple English usage if it got up and bit him or her on the arse.

Twenty years ago how many beekeepers would have known instantly what a Gigabyte was, never mind what sort of number it represented? Ho hum :cheers2:

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