Monday, November 15, 2004

The New English

They say that, as far as the different types of jokes go, puns are the ones that make you cringe. I think it's the bastardization of the language that does it; there's something almost palpably painful about them. This brings me to something else that's palpably painful – this "New English."

What I'm talking about is the way, over the past five to ten years, there's been a movement to substitute a new soft and fluffy terminology for perfectly respectable words and phrases that we used to use every day. "All the time" becomes: "24/7;" "This also applies to" becomes: "This speaks to..."

Here are some more:

  • Learning has become up-skilling
  • Result has become outcome
  • Measurement has become metric
  • Manager has become team leader
  • Answer has become solution
  • Consultant has become coach
  • Category has become space
  • Room has become space
  • Breaking and entering has become home invasion
  • Stupid looking or impractical has become lifestyle version
  • "Total" goes in front of everything

Now, I'm not the greatest writer in the world, but I do remember being taught that good writing avoids the use of jargon. Jargon is supposed to be specialist language – unintelligible to most. So are any of the above examples even jargon? I strongly suspect that they are even less than that. I'll have to invent a "New" word of my own for words that are sub-jargon.

Let's see how quickly that word becomes part of the new English...


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