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Blogs about the uses of Jargon

Note that these entries are in date sequence – oldest first.

Why use jargon? Posted on 13 October 2016 by James Cowan in Jargon

First, what is jargon? Jargon, to me, is technical terminology used in an inappropriate context. For example, if a doctor tells a patient they are suffering from "bronchiectasis", unless the patient is medically knowledgeable, that is jargon. If the same term is used between medically-trained people, it is not jargon, it is concisely descriptive of a nasty lung condition. Note that what I am NOT saying is that technical terms are automatically incorrect (whether they are used correctly or not is not in the scope of this post!), what I am saying is that the context is important. It is the usage, not the ... Read more

Jargon 2: All in the ear of the beholder Posted on 18 February 2017 by James Cowan in General Semantics; Jargon

I was recently reminded about an incident in my not-too-distant past when I was confused by what (here, at least) I am prepared to call "inadvertent jargon". This occurred when I found that in a relatively new job, my colleagues were using an acronym whose meaning I knew to mean something entirely different, and specialised. Much of my career was spent working with computers. In this moderately arcane world, there is a commonly-used acronym "TLA", meaning "Three-Letter Acronym". Except in my new ... Read more

More about jargon Posted on 21 May 2017 by James Cowan in Jargon

The more I think about jargon, the more I can see where the problems arise (isn't that always the way?). This time, I was spurred by comments I heard recently on the radio about the incomprehensibility of scientific articles. The issue seemed to be that the speaker, not a scientist, had apparently found an erudite paper they wished to read, based on the title or the abstract, but could not comprehend it. And the fault was therefore the author's. It seemed ... Read more

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