Liza Rose

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Buzzwords and Jargon

The subject of today’s blog arises from the intersection of various discussions I had today on a selection of different platforms, all of which revolved around language.

The use of extraneous buzzwords, the use of plain English in report writing, the communication of ideas by different media including Twitter are to name but a few.

The office in which I work is currently in the throes of adopting the parent companies culture. Culture change is always difficult, since it involves the introduction of a whole slew of new concepts, management styles and buzzwords; Buzzwords, which we are now in the process of learning and applying in the established way via the company intranet. At the same time today, the UK BBC reported on the internet that the use of excessive buzzwords and jargon makes us less efficient although it can encourage a sense of belonging in a common language, it can also lead to miscommunication and misunderstandings with clients. The suggestion at the end of the article refers the reader to the use of Plain English where ever possible.

This brings me to the second discussion which occurred via Yammer, a similar concept to Linked In but with a closed environment so that individual companies can throw ideas around without giving away their intellectual property. This discussion was also on the use of Plain English and via a number of different topic threads happily explored what exactly is meant by Plain English and indeed Plane English. The result being that there is no such thing, since English is one of the most complicated languages around. Examples abound, through and threw, so and sew and so forth.

Meanwhile my new found “platform” has expanded to include an exploration of the Twitterverse. I have attempted to post profound, or at least new short poems, and have taken some time to look up some of my favourite writers. This latter activity has led to some disappointment. While I was not expecting great literature from every post, I had some expectations, in particular of writers who are known as some of the most eloquent people on the planet. I do realize that not every post will be a heart stopping moment of literary creation, and perhaps I’m a little old fashioned, but is it necessary to swear so much?

I was brought up to believe that there are a very few situations in which swearing is appropriate – banging your thumb with a hammer, when the driver in front cuts across you, when no one else is around, but that the rest of the time, it is mere laziness and lack of knowledge of the vastly expressive language we call English. Is it laziness though or something else. Consider the text I received from a friend “R U OK?” – Is this laziness, or is this someone making sure I’m alright, and taking a few seconds to think about me, out of their very busy schedule. Has language evolved to allow us to be more efficient? Or is it degenerating, and will our next step will be a return to grunting.

Which brings me to evolution not just of language, but of writing, and myself. We have to evolve if we are to survive. Those who deny evolution deny themselves the ability to rise to every day challenges, or to react to the changes around them. If I choose to stay in the past, and not embrace the change in language, and structure, how then can I learn and adapt, create something that is both interesting and readable, something that actually speaks to an audience whose language has evolved when mine has not?

So, since I am obviously very busy and important (to quote Bridget Jones), I will “C U L8er”!.

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