The language that we use

This from the normally readable Booznews

This year’s fact-based shopper marketing study, prepared in partnership with Shopper Sciences and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, reveals, among other findings, that leading CPG manufacturers and retailers are increasingly adopting a solutions-based approach to amplify the impact of their shopper marketing investments.

I will ask you to enquire no further into this study – as if you would!

The language we use shapes the response we get- in this case “delete”. The delete button on my computer is sticky with use.

Defensive language, of which the quote is an example always does that to me. If people need to use acronyms and jargon and long sentence and avoid the everyday cadences of speech, then they are on the back foot. Like a lion I sense fear and with the awesome “delete” button, dispatch them to the netherworld of “trash”. So easily done.

Sadly I am only one of many thousands who received booznews this morning, no doubt some will have clicked the link to find out more of the study, prepared to pull aside the heavy vegetation to get to the clearing in the jungle in which some deep truth lies.

Defensive language aims to bamboozle with verbal bamboo. The trick is to make you think, through the periphrastic phraseology, that there is something behind this wall of verbiage/herbage/garbage.

My old English teacher, Geoffrey Hill , used to start his nine O’clock lectures (at which I and two or three others would attend)  with this..

“Worn down as I am by the ineluctable modality of existence..” .

It was a precursor to his mesmerizing lectures that never for the next hour used  cliche or jargon. It was a warning of what might have come had he unloaded the toxic armoury of polysyllables he had at his disposal.

But his wry smile as he desisted told us that we had nothing to fear.

Vince Franklin and Mark Scantlebury who run Quietroom, coach me on how to keep my language simple. Hopefully they will be coaching more than me and extend their good words to my colleagues.

If , like Geoffrey Hill, we are aware of the ineluctable moronity of verbal bamboo of the type this blog began with, then we too can move on. If however we have no awareness, we become the target of the delete button and in this case, of Tapper’s scorn.

Have a cracking Friday, have a cracking weekend and thanks for all the kind words about my blog this week. Last week some people reported seeing foul words on this blog- if you see them, please send the link to Obscenities are worse than jargon, they create offence and destroy reputations.

There is a big step between defensive language (to be laughed at) and offensive language (to be stopped).


About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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