JARGON: PART TWO

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  1. By way of experiment, I have tried to un-jargonize a medical text and a legal one (please, be careful with using the word “unjargonize”: I’ve coined it only now and only for this occasion). I fact, this method demonstrates how inexact and wordy such “adapted” texts can be. The jargon proves to be much more concrete and effective in conveying the message.

Example #1

Medical Jargon

This passage contains medical jargon such as nasal, congestions, alpha blockers and anti-depressants. Perhaps only those in the medical community would fully understand all of them.

Certain medications can cause or worsen nasal symptoms (especially congestion). These include the following: birth control pills, some drugs for high blood pressure (e.g., alpha blockers and beta blockers), antidepressants, and some medications for prostatic enlargement. If rhinitis symptoms are bothersome and one of these medications is used, ask the prescriber if the medication could be aggravating the condition

(Robert H Fletcher and Phillip L Lieberman)

 

The same text un-jargonized:

Some medicines can cause or worsen diseases of the nose (especially its clogging). These medicines include birth control pills, some drugs for high blood pressure, those which bring down depression and the medicines which help with prostatic problems. If you feel that the problems with your nose are getting worse, ask the doctor who prescribes the medicine if this condition could be the result of your taking the medicines mentioned above.

 Example # 2

 Legal jargon

The text is full of modern legal jargon starting with putative, lawsuit, alleging, privacy laws, equitable, injunction, etc. that a layman could only understand with the help of his lawyer.

In August 2008, nineteen individuals brought a putative class action lawsuit in the U. S. District Court for the Northern District of California against Facebook and the companies that had participated in Beacon, alleging violations of various federal and state privacy laws. The putative class comprised only those individuals whose personal information had been obtained and disclosed by Beacon during the approximately one-month period in which the program’s default setting was opt out rather than opt in. The complaint sought damages and various forms of equitable relief, including an injunction barring the defendants from continuing the program

(MAREK v. LANE, Supreme Court Order)

The same text un-jargonized:

In August 2008, nineteen persons sent a complaint to the U. S. District Court for the Northern District of California. In the complaint they also said they were an organized and registered group. They stated that Facebook and the companies that had participated in Beacon (the Facebook Ads system that collects and publishes activities of its users from external websites) allegedly violated various federal and state privacy laws. The complainants had become Beacon victims because their personal information had been obtained and disclosed by Beacon during the approximately one-month period in which the program’s default setting was said not to be activated. The complainants asked for various kinds of compensation for damages, insisting also that the program should be stopped.

 

2. A Cornish poet, novelist and critic Arthur Quiller-Couch (1863-1944) did the opposite: he jargonized a literary piece, this time Hamlet’s famous To Be or Not To Be:

Hamlet’s soliloquy (Shakespeare’s original)

To be, or not to be–that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them. To die, to sleep–
No more–and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to. ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep–
To sleep–perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.

 

Hamlet’s soliloquy jargonized (literary criticism jargon):

1/ To be, or not to be–that is the question:
To be, or the contrary? Whether the former or the latter be preferable would seem to admit of some difference of opinion;

2/ Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them

the answer in the present case being of an affirmative or of a negative character according to which variant is elected: to mentally suffer the disfavor of fortune, albeit in an extreme degree, or on the other to boldly envisage adverse conditions in the prospect of bringing them to a conclusion.

 

3/ To die, to sleep–
No more

The condition of sleep is similar to, if not indistinguishable from, that of death;

4/ and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to. ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished

and with the addition of finality the former might be considered identical with the latter;  so that in this connection it might be argued with regard to sleep that, could the addition be effected, a termination would be put to the endurance  of a multiplicity of conveniences, not to mention a number of downright evils incidental to our fallen humanity, and thus a consummation achieved of a most gratifying nature. (from: Arthur Quiller-Couch, On the Art of Writing, 1916).

 

3. And the finishing touch to the theme of jargon. The following aid to an academic article was circulating anonymously in the 1970s. Anyone wishing to produce an acceptable paper for a folklore journal, the author contended, had simply to construct sentences from the columns below, in the sequence Section 1- Section 2 – Section 3 – Section 4. The prank demonstrates how easy it may be to pretend that a scholarly loaded theme is presented though the final conceptual outcome is next to zero.

Section 1
1. Obviously,
2. On the other hand,
3. From the intercultural standpoint,
4. Similarly,
5. As Lévi-Strauss contends,
6. In this regard,
7. Based on my own field-work in Guatemala,
8. For example,
9. Thus, within given parameters,
10. In respect to essential departmental goals,
Section 2
1. a large proportion of intercultural communicative coordination
2. a constant flow of field-collected input ordinates
3. the characterization of critically co-optive criteria
4. initiation of basic charismatic subculture development
5. our fully integrated field program
6. any exponential Folklife coefficient
7. further and associated contradictory elements
8. the incorporation of agonistic cultural restraints
9. my proposed independent structuralist concept
10. a primary interrelationship between systems and/or subsystems logistics

 

Section 3
1. must utilize and be functionally interwoven with
2. maximises the probability of project success while minimizing cross-cultural shock elements in
3. adds explicit performance contours to
4. necessitates that coagulative measures be applied to
5. requires considerable further performance analysis and computer studies to arrive at
6. is holistically compounded in the context of
7. presents a valuable challenge showing the necessity for
8. recognizes the importance of other disciplines, while taking into account
9. effects a significant implementation of
10. adds overwhelming Folklorist significance to

 

Section 4
1. Propp’s basic formulation
2. the anticipated epistemological repurcussions
3. improved subcultural compatability-testing
4. all deeper structuralist conceptualization
5.any communicatively-programmed computer techniques
6. the profound meaning of The Raw and the Cooked
7. our hedonic Folklife perspectives over a given time-period
8. any normative concept of the linguistic/holistic continuum
9. the total configurational rationale
10. Krappe’s Last Tape

 

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