Thursday, September 8, 2011

OK, You Know the Jargon, We Get It...

Knowledge of "specialized language" can be useful, or.. well, not useful at all.
from the Dilbert website - strip for 9/8/2011 - http://dilbert.com/strips/
Jargon, or discourse specific vocabulary, can be help you pass into gated discourse communities in the same way a secret password can. For example, if you use words like "reify" and "discursive" and "panopticon" frequently and correctly, you may notice the atmosphere becomes warmer and friendlier at our gathering of post-(insert term of choice here) scholars. However, if you use the wrong term at the wrong time, or drop the wrong name - your shibboleth will identify you as an impostor and will chill the air around you until you slink away in to outer darkness.

What is true for a circle of post-x scholars also holds true for groups of NASCAR fans, Trekkies, Vegans, Democrats, Republicans, and Business Leaders. Being fluent in the vocabulary of your discourse community can open doors for you, establish your credibility, and ensure you a place at the table of discussion.

Outside these circles, however... please, in the name of all that is holy, DROP THE JARGON and communicate clearly with your listeners in mind!

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