Jargon's unstoppable march into our language

WHAT started as a light-hearted discussion of business buzzwords on CNBC television recently aroused such an outpouring of bile from our viewers I feel duty-bound to &ldquo;on-pass the learnings.&rdquo; <br /><br />Grammatical rules apply at all times, even to important businessmen. &ldquo;Leverage&rdquo; and &ldquo;interface&rdquo; are bad enough as nouns, but make intolerable verbs. Similarly, anyone paying attention in reception class will recall that verbs are doing words and therefore make ugly nouns &ndash; what&rsquo;s &ldquo;a disconnect?&rdquo; <br />A tool of punctuation that is regularly violated is the hyphen. As a rule this should only be employed by the aristocracy (Lady Ponsonby-Smythe) and shouldn&rsquo;t be used to jam together two unrelated words as in the case of &ldquo;get-go,&rdquo; nor in the case of &ldquo;value-added,&rdquo; a phrase for use only by the taxman, in which case it isn&rsquo;t hyphenated anyway.<br /><br />While we&rsquo;re on &lsquo;riting and &lsquo;rithmetic... It used to be enough to give 100 per cent. Now you need to lay your hands on at least 110 per cent to cut the mustard. I&rsquo;ve heard Louis Walsh in the X-Factor this season say &ldquo;two million per cent -- yes&rdquo; to at least two contestants. That&rsquo;s 20 thousand times more affirmation than is physically possible for one Irish music mogul.<br /><br />Another couple of areas of concern. &ldquo;Thinking,&rdquo; as in Blue sky thinking, out-of-the-box thinking (note forced use of hyphens, see above) and &ldquo;solution&rdquo;. Storage solution = box, out of which one must think. <br /><br />There are good reasons for the use of jargon. Usually to try and sound clever or cover up the fact that you don&rsquo;t really know what you&rsquo;re talking about. Also to disguise the unpleasantness of what you are really saying. <br /><br />You&rsquo;ve probably noticed the unemployment rate is rising, so you may assume there have been job cuts. In fact, it&rsquo;s due almost entire to &ldquo;restructuring&rdquo; and &ldquo;downsizing&rdquo;. And the economy is being propped up by quantitative easing, and don&rsquo;t you dare suggest it&rsquo;s anything so vulgar as printing money.<br /><br />Sporting analogies used by well-fed, pin stripe besuited City gents don&rsquo;t work either. &ldquo;Ball park&rdquo; figures, &ldquo;game changers&rdquo; and &ldquo;touching base&rdquo; are out, unless you happen to play baseball at the weekends. And please, no high five-ing, unless you&rsquo;re an American. <br /><br />Americans do tend to be repeat offenders, despite many other national strengths. My favourite was uttered without a hint of irony by an anonymous US management consulting partner. &ldquo;Let&rsquo;s vocalise live off-line.&rdquo; Does that mean talk?<br /><br />Rebecca Meehan co-anchors Capital Connection and is a presenter on Squawk Box Europe, each weekday on CNBC.

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