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Leslie Budd on... jargon

Updated Thursday, 30th September 2010
Leslie Budd puts forward the case for using plain English in the business world

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The universities of the world have given us great discoveries and vast amounts of knowledge, but the evolution of business schools has had one unfortunate side effect – the growth and use of jargon.  The great economist, Keynes, once stated that politicians are the prisoners of some defunct economist.  Similarly many business leaders appear to be the prisoners of some defunct business academics whose specialty is jargon in abundance.  If we look at the phrase ‘ballpark estimate’, this conjures up all kinds of imaginings in the mind where we’re actually talking about a guess.  Similarly ‘going forward’ seems to suggest the start of the charge of the Light Brigade.  In France, the famous dictionary, Le Petit Robert, has a business equivalent.  Perhaps it’s time that we had a complete plain words for business in the English language.  The bottom line is that businesses need to communicate their activities and strategies in a clear and simplified way to the rest of the economy and society; otherwise muddled speaking tends to suggest muddled minds.  

That’s my view.  You can join the debate with The Open University.


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