Saturday, April 12, 2014

Your Jargon, My Jargon

I'm a fan of jargon. I spent enough time in academia to understand its utility. I get that it can be abused, that incomprehensible jargon can be used to cover up sloppy thinking and writing. I also get that its use can exclude a wider audience, so one must keep that in mind when using it, especially if you wish to reach that audience.

Still it has a purpose. It can be used to add words which provide needed specificity which are otherwise absent in the language, or as simple shorthand to invoke broader concepts

So, jargon away! But I do have one pet peeve about some jargon-users: people who don't understand or properly use your jargon are not necessarily stupid. Failure to use proper jargon is evidence of nothing more than a failure to have learned that jargon. I'd mark down a student who failed to use terminology correctly on an econ exam, but life is not an econ exam. Sure people can get things wrong, but simply getting the jargon wrong doesn't necessarily mean they don't know what they're talking about.