Garblog's Pages

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Good speech and vocabulary often lost to ideology | Tulsa World

I'm not distressed by this article, about the U.S. Congress. The article reports:
A report released Monday says the vocabulary and sentence structure of senators and representatives has declined markedly over the past seven years, and that there seems to be a correlation between vocabulary and political extremism.

Those at the ends of the political spectrum, both liberal and conservative, use simpler vocabularies and sentence structures, while moderates tend to use longer words and more complex sentences.
The article explains that a computer analysis of the Congressional Record back to 1996 showed that, on average, members of Congress use a 10th-grade vocabulary. And that's down a full grade level from 2005.

But I would say that is not a bad thing. In fact, many of the senators and representatives who use simpler vocabularies and sentence structures are likely more effective in communicating with more of their constituents and the news media. 

According to some advocates of using plain language, writers and speakers who communicate at a junior-high or middle-school level (grades 6-9) are often the easiest for people to understand.
A couple of college professors quoted in the article affirm those ideas.

The chair of the University of Tulsa's communications department:
An overly complex or long sentence could be evidence not of erudition but of confusion.
A University of Oklahoma political science professor:
The language is not a function of the education level of the politician. It's a function of the education level of the audience they're trying to reach.
For more information on plain language, check out Garbl's Plain English Writing Guide.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...