AOS 2 unit 3 journal. Why politicians and academics don’t just say what they mean

Click here for a link to the article.

Title  Why politicians and academics don’t just say what they mean
Date  23/4/12
Author Neil Macdonald
Publication CBC news
Key Ideas (Point Form)
  • Politicians and academics are using language which is unclear to the average person so that they simply will not take any interest.
  • Deliberately obscure writing and speaking has infected bureaucracies, journalism, and academia.
  • Overuse of qualifiers like “apparently,” “evidently,” “rather,” “comparatively” and “presumably” by journalist. So that writers are not needed to stand behind what they write.
Feature of Language  Nominalisation is used by politician to allow them to exclude themselves from the act. For example using “seized with issues,” rather than just considering something.

Formal language is used by writers and politicians to obfuscate.

Aspects of the Course this Article Relates to.  The use of formal language in manipulating or obfuscating.

The features and functions of formal speech as represented in a range of texts from literature and the public domain.

The use of formal language in reinforcing social distance and authority

My opinion on the Article’s comments.  People in positions of power should use language to clarify not to confuse. Politicians should be clear to the people who vote for them about what they have done and are going to do. Politicians used language to obfuscate so they cannot be critiqued; as their speeches’ are often ambiguous. They use nominalisation to deflect the responsibility of their actions. This is all done so they can keep their profile and jobs which they can lose from a slip of the tongue. Academics should be using clear language when expressing their findings to the public but should be able to use the necessary vernacular when speaking to other colleagues.
Quotes  “French philosopher Michel Foucault once admitted, high officials fear that if they start speaking simply, they won’t be taken seriously by their audiences.”

“(Steve Pinker) is an argument for simplicity: “assumption of equality between writer and reader makes the reader feel like a genius,” he writes “Bad writing makes the reader feel like a dunce.”


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