Sometimes one is forced to consider the possibility that affairs are being conducted in a manner which, all things being considered and making all possible allowances is, not to put too fine a point on it, perhaps not entirely straightforward.
If you had a hard time understanding any of that, you’re in good company. The Local Government Association, a UK lobbying group based in the administrative area of Whitehall in London, has published a list of 200 words and phrases that it says are making it difficult for ordinary people to understand what services and help are available to them. The Chairman of the Local Government Association, Councillor Margaret Eaton, said:
The public sector must not hide behind impenetrable jargon and phrases. Why do we have to have ‘coterminous, stakeholder engagement’ when we could just ‘talk to people’ instead?
Among the changes they suggest are using IMPROVE for ENHANCE, CHOICES instead of MENU OF OPTIONS and the more understandable UNEMPLOYMENT for WORKLESSNESS. Not surprisingly, words such as REBASELINING, TAXONOMY and SYNERGIES should be eliminated completely, according to the LGA.
You can find the full list of “offensive” words at the LGA website. Perhaps as an exercise, you could check how many of the phrases have an equivalent in your language, maybe even used in your company!
Strange Random Language Fact:
Seoul, the South Korean capital, just means “the capital” in the Korean language.
A blurb is a short summary or some words of praise accompanying a creative work, usually referring to the words on the back of the book but also commonly seen on DVD and video cases, web portals and news websites. (from Wikipedia)
If you’re thinking of buying someone a book for Christmas (or even perhaps as an early St. Jordi present) and are not sure what they want, you’ll probably end up reading the blurb on the back cover. To start your training, here are synopses and comments on two popular novels, taken from the UK online bookstore Waterstones. We’ve highlighted the most important words and structures in bold
1 – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her uncle is convinced it was murder – and that the killer is a member of his own tightly-knit but dysfunctional family. He employs disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist and the tattooed, truculent computer hacker Lisbeth Salander to investigate. When the pair link Harriet’s disappearance to a number of grotesque murders from forty years ago, they begin to unravel a dark and appalling family history. But the Vangers are a secretive clan, and Blomkvist and Salander are about to find out just how far they are prepared to go to protect themselves. A violent and bloody thriller; a sinister family saga; a mystery of massive financial fraud; an ambiguous and haunting love story – this is a genuinely complex and unique contribution to crime fiction.
What a cracking novel! I haven’t read such a stunning thriller debut for years. Brilliantly written and totally gripping – Minette Walters.
I doubt you will read a better book this year – Val McDermid.
Brilliantly written – the characters are superbly drawn and the story grips from first to last – Mail On Sunday.
WHAT WAS LOST WILL BE FOUND…Washington DC: Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned at the last minute to deliver an evening lecture in the Capitol Building. Within moments of his arrival, however, a disturbing object – gruesomely encoded with five symbols – is discovered at the epicentre of the Rotunda. It is, he recognises, an ancient invitation, meant to beckon its recipient towards a long-lost world of hidden esoteric wisdom. When Langdon’s revered mentor, Peter Solomon – philanthropist and prominent mason – is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes that his only hope of saving his friend’s life is to accept this mysterious summons and follow wherever it leads him. Langdon finds himself quickly swept behind the facade of America’s most historic city into the unseen chambers, temples and tunnels which exist there. All that was familiar is transformed into a shadowy, clandestine world of an artfully-concealed past in which Masonic secrets and never-before-seen revelations seem to be leading him to a single impossible and inconceivable truth. A brilliantly composed tapestry of veiled histories, arcane icons and enigmatic codes, The Lost Symbol is an intelligent, lightning-paced thriller that offers surprises at every turn. For, as Robert Langdon will discover, there is nothing more extraordinary or shocking than the secret which hides in plain sight…
‘Dan Brown brings sexy back to a genre that had been left for dead…His code and clue-filled book is dense with exotica…amazing imagery…and the nonstop momentum that makes The Lost Symbol impossible to put down. SPLENDID…ANOTHER MIND-BLOWING ROBERT LANGDON STORY’ – Janet Maslin, New York Times
Strange Random Language Fact:
The word “Checkmate” in chess comes from the Persian phrase “Shah Mat,” which means, “the King is Dead”
1. noun Informal.
1925–30; from the phrase spit and image by confusion of spit and with spittin’; cf. earlier the very spit of - the exact likeness of
In the spirit of the famous UK show, Kenyan politicians (as well as Barrack Obama and Michael Jackson) are being satirised in The XYZ Show, which has just finished its first season and starts again in January. This is a report from Reuters Africa.
Elsewhere, the South African Broadcasting Corporation commissioned and then rejected as too controversial the series ZA News (from the .za in South African web addresses). It is now available for streaming and download over the internet. This is the first episode from October this year; of course, it’s difficult to follow if you don’t know about the news, but it’s worth watching if only for the puppets of Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu at the beginning!
Strange Random Language Fact: There is no English word that rhymes with purple – so if you’re writing a song, consider using “blue” instead!
Most of us seem to spend lot of our time nowadays on the computer, at work or at home. We also know that there is an enormous amount of information and resources available for things like, say, improving our English …
That’s the easy part, the hard part is getting at those resources. Where do you start?
As far as radio is concerned, thousands of stations now broadcast over the internet, so that you can listen to them on a PC wherever you happen to be. You can also now find specific internet wireless radios, like the one in the photo.
One of the best databases and search engines for this is RECIVA, where you can search by genre or location or both (under the advanced search) so if you happen to be a fan of Hawaiian thrash metal, there’s a good chance you’ll find the perfect station right away! So go ahead, choose a country and improve your listening skills while you work!