J is for Jargon

“Can I pick your brains?” says my friend who, poor thing, works in ‘communication’ and spends his days (plus nights and weekends) writing, editing and translating applications for funding for, well, bullshit.

“Pick away,” I reply affably.

My friend reads from his screen. “Going forward, innovation and disruption are the key features of our design-driven tech-optimised customer-focussed solution…”

What is this ‘solution’ and what is it supposed to do? What problem does it solve? How does it work? And, most importantly, what’s in it for the customer?

No one has the faintest idea – not even after trawling through dozens of densely packed pages.

Every profession has its jargon, its technical vocabulary, which is fine and necessary in its place, but this sort of convoluted corporate crap is all too often used as a substitute for the clear thinking that must precede clear communication.

Interestingly, the word ‘jargon’ dates from the mid-14c. meaning ‘unintelligible talk, gibberish; chattering, jabbering,’ and is from Old French ‘jargon’ meaning ‘a chattering’ (of birds). The French in turn is believed to derive from Latin ‘garrire’ meaning ‘to chatter’ (cf ‘garrulous’)

And guess what we can call a person who uses an excessive amount of jargon when speaking or writing: a jargonaut.



The A-Z of Bullshit, Hype and Cool Stuff is part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2016

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3 Responses

  1. Loved reading the post, Valerie. Thank you.
    I thank my lucky stars for literary books, for reading and a love for writing, or I would be beating my head against the desk daily. I work in a law corporation, where the vocabulary it that of jargonauts … of the worst kind.

    1. Yes, thank goodness for reading and writing. I used to translate pages and pages of stuff that didn’t actually mean anything. Got burned out.

  2. Oooh, I caught a good one here. I love this series as you know, but the scene you laid out here made me laugh anew. When DID people give up on meaning in the quest for “flavor”

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