Plain English campaigners call technical jargon new threat to language

July 26th, 2009 - 1:20 pm ICT by ANI  

London, July 26 (ANI): The way text messages are composed using technological jargon and abbreviations is a new threat to clear language, the Plain English Campaign has warned on its 30th anniversary.

The organisation likens incomprehensible instruction manuals and the ‘text speak’ associated with mobile phones and the internet to the hard-to-understand legal language of ’small print’.

Veteran campaigner Chrissie Maher, who began the war on waffle on this day in 1979, said that the increasing acceptance of street slang could mean that younger generations would not benefit from clearer communication.”Youngsters have their own jargon and that’s all very well in its place but if they aren’t taught plain English it will hold them back when it comes to applying for jobs, signing hospital forms or applying for credit in a shop,” the Telegraph quoted the 71-year-old as saying.

“Technology has brought benefits but also a lot of jargon and poor language that is not easily understood. With mobile phones it is so easy to slip back into text language and then suddenly you have used ‘woz’ instead of ‘was’ in a formal letter without even realising,” she added.

According to a study, three-quarters of school students are of the view that it is acceptable to use abbreviations such as ‘lol’ in academic assignments, and that exam boards, including the Scottish Qualifications Authority, admit that answers containing text message language are given some marks as long as they are correct.

Maher said: “I think if you learn the language the hard way then you have a lot of respect for it. It is disappointing that plain English is still not part of the school curriculum. All we have campaigned for is the right to have letters and forms that everyone can understand but there is always a new threat to clear language and new sources of jargon and gibberish.”

She finds it “very disheartening” that councils and corporations are still producing incomprehensible documents despite three decades of campaigning.

“Sometimes I think we’ve achieved nothing when we see yet another example of nonsense in print, but in truth we have done a lot of work with local authorities and banks to improve things,” she said.

The organisation, which still encounters daily examples of baffling language, has even launched an anniversary website to encourage supporters to submit more entries for its annual ‘Golden Bull’ awards for the worst communication of the year. (ANI)

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