Jargon is a specific type of language, a set of terms used by a group of people in a particular profession, that others do not understand. But using it excessively can lead to misunderstanding or alienation. It’s simple to communicate more effectively through the use of pure language in everything – from everyday interactions to formal documents.
This is the intent of the new Common Language Bill currently being debated in the New Zealand Parliament. It argues that the right to intelligible information from government institutions is a fundamental component of democracy.
The New Zealand government is trying to introduce new legislation requiring officials to use simple, understandable language to communicate with the public.
According to a report in GuardiansThe controversial bill passed its second reading last month after a colorful parliamentary debate but still faces a final vote before becoming law.
According to the Common Languages Bill, the bill’s purpose is “to enhance the efficiency and accountability of public services by requiring that communications be clear and accessible to the public.”
The salient features of the bill are:
Requirements for the use of plain language in the document
Requirements to appoint a colloquial language officer responsible for common language
Reporting framework on how agents comply with plain language requirements
The Public Service Commissioner’s provision of plain language instruction.
Several countries, notably the UK, USA and Canada, saw the beginnings of the plain language movement in the 1970s.
These movements, no matter how old, fought for easy, understandable language in government documents.
Simple language is not only language that can be understood by the general public, but it also supports life-related issues because simplified medical information can address important issues.