Today’s letter in the A-Z Challenge J.
Last April I did a tiny post about the definition of Jargon. Man oh man, I didn’t realize how much there was to learn about this word. Thanks to all the great writers out there, I’ve learned a lot over the past year.
One of the biggest things I’ve learned is how confused a reader can become when this is overdone.
Recently, I felt this confusion and frustration first hand. Reading a book by a UK author became more of a chore than enjoyment.
Why? Because the book was riddled with words I didn’t understand. This required me to stop and look up the definition so that I could get the gist of what was happening. Had the author reduced some of the jargon or at least added an explanation, I might have stuck with the book.
What I learned about writing with or without using jargon.
- The use of jargon can confuse the reader. Use sparingly.
- Avoid using pretentious, showy, or fake unintelligible words that read like Gobbledygook.
- Slang is typical of a specific area or generation and can change.
- Don’t overdo “Cant” words such as humbug, twaddle, hogwash, or rubbish.
- Cant words that are supposed to sound like serious statements about important issues (such as religion or morality) but that are not honest or sincere.
- Careful using secret languages known as Argot.
- Argot is a secret language used by twins, criminals, or a dialect such as Patois.
- Only use Tech Speak when writing a tech manual.
- Unless you are writing about computers avoid Computerese.
- It’s Tech Speak of computer geeks.
- Buzzword words come and go. Make sure it’s important.
- Don’t fill your story with abbreviations. It will look like Alphabet Soup and the reader won’t understand most of it.
- Alphabet Soup term used figuratively to describe a confusing group of letters (such as abbreviations) used to refer to various organizations, items, etc.
- Avoid Inflated, euphemistic, official-sounding language of government—looks like alphabet soup and is known as Bureaucratese.
- Even if writing a military thriller, go easy with Pentagonese.
- Not everyone understands military words and phrases.
- Avoid the use of words that go to absurd lengths to avoid offending various classes of people. PC.
- Nope, not a computer, PC stands for Politically Correct.
Look for better alternatives that can add meaning and persuasive power to your writing. Using words that your reader can understand will create more of an impact than filling a scene with jargon.