Doublespeak – Fact Manipulation

Quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
(meaning — incomprehensiblity is no reason for you to take an idea seriously)

DoubleSpeak Obscures Clear Facts: Could you rephrase that in equivocal, inaccurate, vague, self-serving terms . . .

DoubleSpeak Obscures Clear Facts: “Could you rephrase that in equivocal, inaccurate, vague, self-serving terms . . . “

Doublespeak is the use of words to misleadingly hide, disguise, inflate or reverse unpleasant meaning, or meaninglessness.

The Four Kinds of Doublespeak (courtesy of Prof. William Lutz)

1. Hiding Meaning – Words used to avoid harsh or distasteful reality. Examples: “involuntary conversion of a vehicle” meaning your car was stolen, “Biosolids” is used instead of “sewage sludge”, “anomaly” was used by NASA to dress up the deadly Space Shuttle explosion.

2. Hiding Meaninglessness – gobbledygook or academia-ese. Using many impressive sounding words in a sentence that doesn’t mean anything. “Kinks in infinite cosmic strings.” (Neither cosmic strings or any kinks have ever been observed – they are all mere conjectures.)

3. Jargon (or acronyms) made obscure or pretentious; common in “Priesthoods.”Examples: Hemoglobin is more viscous than H20 (“Blood is thicker than water.”), or “NASA doesn’t need to do an EIS under NEPA.”

Jargon is more than just specialized and useful language for a particular field, it is the totally unnecessary use of uncommon words when the audience is unfamiliar with them.

4. Inflated Language — making the unimportant seem important or the simple complex. For example – “Recycling Engineer” meaning Garbage Collector, or “negative patient care outcome” meaning a dead patient.

1. The direct translation of the lead quote is Latin for “Anything Said in Latin Sounds Profound.

My own advice is  “incomprehensiblity is an excellent reason to reject an idea.

If you don’t understand an idea, its not your fault.

My first book included the declarationThere’s no such thing as computer illiteracy; there is only badly written software.”  

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