Thursday, March 03, 2005

More good quality Perspective

Most of my family learnt English by listening to the Radio. ABC radio was consistently the choice of English learners in our neighbourhood.

Once again, ABC radio, via Radio National teaches me language.
Tonight Julian Burnside edified the airwaves.
These were my favourite of many fine words,

"Tact is kind; diplomacy is useful; euphemism is harmless and sometimes entertaining. By contrast, doublespeak is dishonest and dangerous.
[...]
Doublespeak uses language to smuggle uncomfortable ideas into comfortable minds."

8 Comments:

Blogger Gerry said...

Brilliant article by Burnside. But I don't agree with him that euphemisms are harmless. A lot of what he calls doublespeak is, to my mind, euphemism cunningly applied.

the again what would I know. English is not my first language...

12:37 am  
Blogger suki said...

In all languages, the intent of the language chosen by the user informs the outcome.

Whenever I attend meetings where the chair uses many acronyms and initialisms (and when asked, does not expand upon them) all of us saying "Huh?" feel excluded.

Is it ignorance or power and control? Either way it is unpleasant and these meetings end up with large apology lists (and eventually a 'roving Chair’).

I love English. It is so well suited to expressiveness.

8:26 am  
Blogger The Heretik said...

Suki: You just got featured as Woman Blogger of the Day here. You also just got added to The Heretik's blogroll in the section: More Than Three Wise Women Here. Congratulations! Cultivate your unique voice. Continue the good work.

10:17 am  
Blogger bogan-A said...

Burnside eh? Now he wouldn't ahve built up his career to the point of being a $6000 a day commercial barrister at the time of the waterfront battle by use of any doublespeak or weasel words, would he?

Respect him overall, with the reservations that come from being a litigator.

2:34 pm  
Blogger suki said...

All my heroes have flaws...

5:03 pm  
Blogger gringo said...

He is very eloquent - I was driving past Parliament House in Canberra when I heard this last night, and found it very fitting.

8:12 pm  
Blogger Andrew Bartlett said...

There's a longer version of the same good stuff at this month's New Matilda (plus some interesting comments)

http://www.newmatilda.com/home/articledetailmagazine.asp?ArticleID=510&HomepageID=70

It has a couple of minor factual errors, but as was wisely said, even heroes have flaws.

2:24 am  
Blogger weezil said...

Andrew, brlliant link, thanks.

The mechanics of doublespeak and deception are not often well known to consumers of news. These methods must be named up and identified to clarify the motives of the disingenuous.

-weez

11:06 am  

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