19 agosto 2010

MPs told to mind their language


By Sean Curran

Parliamentary Correspondent, BBC News

Could the expenses scandal turn out to be good news for the English language?

A group of MPs has been having a bit of end-of-term fun by talking about the sort of language used by politicians and civil servants.
To help their plain English party go with a swing they invited along some star witnesses: Matthew Parris from The Times, The Guardian's political sketch-writer Simon Hoggart and Professor David Crystal, a linguistics expert from Bangor University.

Everyone agreed that a lot of political speeches are gobbledygook, full of words and phrases like "stakeholder", "multi-agency", "level playing field", "outsourcing" and "blue-sky thinking".
I could go on but that's part of the problem. Politicians do go on and on and on, inventing more and more gibberish.

David Crystal pointed out: "politicians could not be accused of lying if nobody understood what they had said".