Why we sometimes do need jargon

11 Jul 19 ARH away tiny
Anthony Haynes

Anthony Haynes writes: Jargon, we all know, is a Bad Thing.

Arthur Quiller-Couch (“Q”), writing in the early twentieth century, put it well. Jargon, he said,

“looks precise, but is not. It is, in these times, safe: a thousand men have said it before  and not one to your knowledge had been prosecuted for it. And so, like respectability in Chicago, Jargon stalks unchecked in our midst.” “Interlude: on Jargon” from On the Art of Writing (CUP, 1928)

To write jargon, Q continued,

“is to be perpetually shuffling around in the fog and cotton-wool of abstract terms”.

So jargon is a bad thing.

Except when it isn’t. Hats off to Dan Gunderman of Big Duck for identifying — on the consistently impressive Smart Communications podcast — three occasions where use of jargon is appropriate.

The episode is here: https://bigduck.com/insights/when-is-it-okay-to-use-jargon/.


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