Thursday, 12 March 2015

Writing - I love our language but!

I really do like our language - that's English - but over the years I've been unlucky enough to witness the attempts of pseudo-intellectuals to chew it up to the point of being unrecognisable. I heard an absolute cracker this morning!

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Morrison's announced their profits today and they came out with the following phrase as part of the statement,

'net new space will be negative'

You will undoubtedly work out that it means they are going to close some stores but then as a piece of English it was described as 'Corporate speak' which of course is a sector of industry trying to make their world exclusive by adopting a set of phrases or words, not in common usage, with meanings that are in fact quite plain. It makes you wonder why they feel the need to be so obtuse. I personally have more respect for plain speaking and have a positive aversion to jargon.

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When in college and attending courses in years of work since there is always an attempt by groups to introduce the concept of exclusivity by excluding those not up-to-date with current jargon which is defined as,

language that is characterized by uncommon or pretentious 

vocabulary and convoluted syntax and is often vague in meaning.

Children play around with words when creating groups that friends 

belong to, but in that case it is understandable and temporary. For 

companies and corporations to 'play the same game' is rather silly. 

Another example,

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'let me unpack that for you' - this is so demeaning suggesting that the listeners haven't the wit to understand something themselves, when in fact they have just had their ears assaulted by more pretentious and confusing garbage.

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When I left teaching and joined a well known high street bank the shock waiting for me wasn't just jargon but acronyms. In fact the people in the supervisory and training roles used acronyms so frequently I wonder in retrospect how they managed to hold normal conversations. Of course that was then compounded by the development of text speak!

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What really worries me is the development of language in young children. I can remember discussing the slow development in speech in some children, possibly because of too much baby talk by the parents, as only new young parents do. However, these days there is text speak, acronyms, corporate speak, American English, Australian English and so on. Kids have no chance these days.

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There are lists of acronyms and I'll share a few with you but just a word about thoughtlessness that are embodied in some of them. I was brought up a Christian, not overpoweringly so, but there were certain things you didn't say. For instance, you didn't take the Lord's name in vain when mum was around and yet today people OMG this and OMG that and I mentally cringe. Similarly, national newscasters seem unable to describe the little people in our lives as 'kids' when in fact they are baby goats. I don't know about yours but none of mine are of that species. 
Finally, a real pet hate 'cor blimey' which is derived from God Blind Me - no thank you!!!

Some common acronyms

AFK – Away From Keyboard
BRB – Be Right Back
BBIAB – Be Back In A Bit
BBL – Be Back Later
TTFN – Ta Ta For Now
BBS – Be Back Soon
BTW – By The Way
HAGN – Have A Good Night
KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid
KIT – Keep In Touch
NYOB – None of Your Business
OMG – Oh My God

God Bless