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Jargon

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OPINION
May 15, 2013
Re "Tech firms begin to see 'delight' in a new light," Column One, May 10 I spent many years consulting to the corporate world, teaching where commas go and how to use semicolons. However, the majority of my work consisted of getting participants to recognize jargon and find straightforward and clear alternatives to that obfuscating form of English. I actually laughed out loud about 15 years ago when, for the first time, I saw the phrase "customer delight" in a corporate document.
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OPINION
May 15, 2013
Re "Tech firms begin to see 'delight' in a new light," Column One, May 10 I spent many years consulting to the corporate world, teaching where commas go and how to use semicolons. However, the majority of my work consisted of getting participants to recognize jargon and find straightforward and clear alternatives to that obfuscating form of English. I actually laughed out loud about 15 years ago when, for the first time, I saw the phrase "customer delight" in a corporate document.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 20, 2001
" 'Edspeak' Is in a Class by Itself" (Aug. 16) failed to mention how much it costs the taxpayer. Government agencies, industry and other professions are coming to realize the connection between plain language and improving their bottom lines. Meanwhile, the confusion and misunderstanding caused by Edspeak are ratcheting up the costs of education. Professions once tried to rationalize the use of acronyms and jargon as a kind of necessary shorthand. No more. Bad language interferes with communication within the profession just as much as it does with the public.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 15, 2012 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
What defines a political artist? Ideology? Activism? Revolutionary fervor? The question preoccupied me recently as I spent time rereading plays by Václav Havel, the dissident playwright turned Czech president, who died late last year. And the answer I discovered in "The Memorandum," "The Increased Difficulty of Concentration" and "Largo Desolato" had less to do with platforms and protests than I remembered. In fact, the only programmatic agenda I came upon was an unwavering defense of the individual, which just so happens to be the only agenda that will never grow obsolete.
NEWS
July 16, 1986 | Associated Press
Many Chinese bureaucrats stall, spout official jargon and hold endless discussions instead of getting things done, the official Communist Party newspaper said in a scathing commentary Tuesday. "We should shout in a loud voice at them, 'Comrades, wake up, wake up!' " the front-page commentary in People's Daily said.
MAGAZINE
August 7, 1988 | ELIZABETH VENANT, Elizabeth Venant is a Times staff writer.
EVER SINCE Moon Unit Zappa described her untidy toenails as "grody to the max" and turned Valley Talk into some thing of a national dialect, Los Angeles has been informally crowned the nation's capital of colorful contemporary speech. It's not the stuff of dictionaries, fer sure .
HEALTH
September 21, 2009 | Harris Meyer, Kaiser Health News
Neil Dukas knew little about health insurance because he had always been healthy. When he and his wife bought a high-deductible policy in 2008, he didn't know the difference between a deductible and an out-of-pocket limit. He simply assumed that when he needed care, the insurer would cover it. But when he injured his knee in July 2008, Dukas, 50, a professional writer in Larkspur, Calif., discovered how difficult it can be to understand and use insurance benefits and get clear, reliable information from an insurer.
MAGAZINE
June 16, 1991
As a Los Angeles native, I question your judgment in giving space to a glossary of gang jargon and calling it "L.A. Speak" (Palm Latitudes, May 12). Does this legitimize an acceptance of this condition within our city as just another trendy L.A. kind of thing? TERI KARSHNER Los Angeles
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 5, 1988
The only thing "artistic" about bullfighting is the jargon and foreign phrases used to promote this barbarism as glamorous, brave and acceptable ("Of Bullrings, Billowing Capes and the Queen of Chula Vista," May 22). The ritual torture and slaughter of powerless animals for entertainment can never be justified. And just because bullfighting is legal in Mexico does not make it any less cruel. Mere legality can never make anything humane. Thank God, humane people have never bought it. BOB and MARY ANN MELVIN Solana Beach
SPORTS
February 27, 1993
Larry Stewart (Feb. 19) can find something better to do than critique Magic Johnson's poor diction and his street-and-hoop jargon. Magic does not need to be modulated and homogenized like the rest of these smoothies. What he says and how he says it is what he is about, and that, along with his special personality, is what sets him apart and endears him to the public. We don't want to change him any more than we do an Ali, or any of the great characters in sport; it's a cautious and colorless enough lot out there as it stands.
HEALTH
April 18, 2011 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
Heather Spear and William Hanberg sit with their daughter EmmaRose in an examination room at UCLA. At 21/2, EmmaRose is snuggly and engaging, but she doesn't yet walk or talk, and the family has traveled about 150 miles from Lompoc, Calif., to try to figure out why. A genetic test showed abnormalities, including alterations to a gene linked to learning disabilities and autism. But no one's sure whether these lie at the root of EmmaRose's delayed development. A large team — doctors specializing in pediatric genetics, social workers, dieticians and others — will help Spear and Hanberg figure out what's going on. But Michelle Fox, who joins them in the room, will be the family's primary contact.
HEALTH
September 21, 2009 | Harris Meyer, Kaiser Health News
Neil Dukas knew little about health insurance because he had always been healthy. When he and his wife bought a high-deductible policy in 2008, he didn't know the difference between a deductible and an out-of-pocket limit. He simply assumed that when he needed care, the insurer would cover it. But when he injured his knee in July 2008, Dukas, 50, a professional writer in Larkspur, Calif., discovered how difficult it can be to understand and use insurance benefits and get clear, reliable information from an insurer.
NATIONAL
September 6, 2009 | Kristina Sherry
Members of Congress have been trying to pass healthcare legislation for years, perhaps leading to the assumption that people know what all the political jargon and policy buzzwords refer to. Here are some key terms: The exchange : A marketplace in which individuals could comparison-shop for insurance plans overseen by the government. Plans offered within the exchange would have to meet basic standards, to be determined by an expert panel (see below). It's still unclear on which level these exchanges would be offered -- national, regional, statewide, etc. Single-payer system : Sometimes called "Medicare for all," a system in which one entity (typically the government)
OPINION
March 15, 2008
Re "Maternal care -- or harm?" March 9 Leslie Udvardi may feel some vindication now that her children have been officially diagnosed with the conditions she had suspected them of having. But even if they hadn't, wouldn't resources have been better spent getting this overwhelmed family the help it needed to manage its troubles rather than pushing a case supported by circumstantial evidence and innuendo? Unfortunately, the Internet provides just enough information and jargon to make us feel like authorities on almost any subject without also providing the breadth of knowledge or experience to assess that information within its proper context.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 28, 2006 | Hemmy So, Times Staff Writer
How do you say "spaghetti straps" in Spanish? To find the answer, translator Ron Koff paged through a mini-dictionary used by the Los Angeles Unified School District. He found a few offerings for baggy pants: pantalones abombachados, anchos, sueltos, flojos, guangos. He found halter top: blusa con espalda al descubierto. But no spaghetti straps.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 14, 2005 | Kevin Thomas, Times Staff Writer
Shinji Aramaki's anime "Appleseed," a post-apocalyptic sci-fi action-adventure employing 3-D computer-generated imagery, is dazzling visually but is flattened by corny dialogue better suited to the 1936 "Flash Gordon" serial, a needlessly hard to follow plot and heavy-handed exposition clotted with pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo. These problems reportedly also plagued the Japanese-language version and surely have been exacerbated in this typically stilted English-language version.
OPINION
March 15, 2008
Re "Maternal care -- or harm?" March 9 Leslie Udvardi may feel some vindication now that her children have been officially diagnosed with the conditions she had suspected them of having. But even if they hadn't, wouldn't resources have been better spent getting this overwhelmed family the help it needed to manage its troubles rather than pushing a case supported by circumstantial evidence and innuendo? Unfortunately, the Internet provides just enough information and jargon to make us feel like authorities on almost any subject without also providing the breadth of knowledge or experience to assess that information within its proper context.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 15, 1989
G'Day mate. I don't often write to one of these grand American newspapers, so I'm a bit nervous. You'll have to excuse. But see, me and three other Kiwis down here in New Zealand got to drinking and yarning about you over there, and it turns out how worried we all are that you're mebbe losing your touch. See, it has to do with being ordinary blokes . . . and sheilas, of course. Now I know there are a lot of you . . . 250 million or so, and it's easier for us to keep our act together, being only 3 million, but strewth, mate, take a hint from a friend.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 15, 2004 | Anna Gorman, Times Staff Writer
Hoping to make jury instructions in criminal cases more user-friendly, the Judicial Council of California is rewriting them to replace legal jargon with common, recognizable phrases. The council, the policymaking arm of the California courts, approved new "plain language" instructions for civil cases last year. Those for criminal matters are expected to be approved next year.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 27, 2003 | Manohla Dargis, Times Staff Writer
"Two thumbs down!" My friend Alexander Horwath, director of the Austrian Film Museum in Vienna, isn't a guy who waves around his thumbs around casually -- much less a man given to quoting Roger Ebert. But Alex was fuming, his double-digit antipathy directed at an article by David Weddle published in the Los Angeles Times Magazine July 13 with the title "Lights, Camera, Action. Marxism, Semiotics, Narratology."
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