Monday, November 23, 2009

In praise of plain speech

Currency inflation is at a low level at the moment, but language inflation is surging.

Language inflation is my term for writing and speaking that is filled with unnecessary or pretentious words. There are only two reasons for people to inflate their language --- to confuse, or to sound important. It's often both. Always in the case of politicians.

To make the point, here are some actual, recent examples from the news and elsewhere, followed by the Geezer Plain Speech (GPS) translation:

"Builders may have got ahead of the supply issue." --- They built too many houses.

"The impact of this crisis is heterogeneous." --- Everybody is getting whacked.

"Upgrades will ... provide refurbished infrastructure for campers." --- They're getting some new toilets.

"He demonstrates the principles of movement using locomotion, manipulation and stability skills." --- The kid can run and stand without falling down.

"A solution for the scalable, enterprise industry offers benefits at the user and infrastructure level." --- This has lots of good features for the company and its employees.

"Something about the [cell phone] conversation seems to limit attentional capacity" --- Cell phone conversations are distracting.

"Cell phone users have a negative impact on your road safety." --- Cell phone yakkers can run into you."

"Long-tenured workers receiving extended benefits can expect a gradual transition back to normal terms and conditions." --- Those who have worked for a while, and are now unemployed, will likely find a job, eventually.
We anticipate that longitudinal trends in grandiloquence and magniloquence may be extrapolated perdurably, thereby precipitating the inference that rhetorical bombast and other excessive use of verbal ornamentation are unlikely to experience a decrescendo.

That is to say, lots more claptrap coming.

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