Rationalisation Measures

August 14, 2014

The company that runs my workplace is changing. The new company recently sent a document through to all staff. This is such delightful gibberish that I just had to share it.

CENSORED* will be a clustered model which may result in the requirement for less staff to undertake certain jobs where rationalisation can be achieved by combining roles and responsibilities or due to the terms of the contract resulting in the requirement for less staff in certain areas.

Wow. I mean… wow. Words fail me. There’s so much wrong with this sentence — and yes, check it out again, that is one sentence! Some lowlights:

  • 46 words + in sentence
  • “…clustered model…”
  • “…where rationalisation can be achieved…”

And the document just goes on and on.

But to be fair to my (new) company, this type of language is standard. But standard or not, it just isn’t on. There was a genius quote in the Evening Standard** by Lucy Tobin recently. She’s slagging off email etiquette, particularly that of employers(!) I want to share one of the zingers she comes out with:

This is what happens when managers who learned “how to deal with people” in a two-day module at business school are released into the community.

!!! Brilliant! And I’m keeping a clipping of this article for future students — and bosses! (yes, I’m an English teacher).

So, back to where I began. Instead of the, frankly, offensive drivel that my new employers splurged into my inbox, how about this?

We will group CENSORED*. We may lay some people off in some areas, if we can, because it is cheaper to get two people to do three people’s jobs.

My version isn’t the pithiest or the best you could come out with. And it isn’t pure Anglish, either. But that’s the point: I just splunked that off, but it is still shorter and makes far more sense. It also doesn’t patronise people with nonsense euphemisms like “rationalisation” and “combining roles and responsibilities”.

So there we have it. In other news, here’s the Plain English Campaign’s website.


*Company and work location deleted.
**Tuesday 29 July 2014, p15 Comment.

© 2014 Bryan A. J. Parry

Anglish the Mindworm

August 1, 2014


If you follow my blog, you’ll have noticed something by now. Asides from the inherently obscure, niche-like nerdiness of it, that is. Namely, I tend to have periods, lasting a few days to a few months, of fairly intense blogging, followed by months or even years of no activity whatsoever. This isn’t because I get bored of this whole Anglish thing and come back to it from time-to-time like a fatty* who pops back into the gym every six months or so trying to convince himself that “this time it’s for real”. It’s exactly because Anglish isn’t a fad or trend for me that I keep coming back to it. Anglish is just something I am. No matter how much time passes, no matter what dramas I have in my life, I always keep coming back to Anglish.

I don’t remember when I first started specifically discussing Anglish — my involvement long predates this blog. And I don’t know what caused my interest in it: although I suspect it’s a combination of (i) my lifelong desire to teach and explain stuff**, (ii) my artistic, creative side, (iii) my love of language and languages, (iv) my lifelong interest in conlanging, (v) my deeply-felt English patriotism, (vi) my interest in history, and (vii) a daydreamy, whimsy-like disposition of my character.

In any case, Anglish is a bug, it’s an interminable itch of the mind, an ongoing fever with periods of lucidity and peace and calm and others of sweaty, febrile psychosis. Frankly, it’s what I call a mindworm. That is, an idea that has burrowed its way into my mind, like some kind of hideous parasite. And it won’t leave its cosy new gray home. Sometimes it’s at rest, and I do not work much on Anglish. And sometimes the worm stirs or gets agitated, and provokes my mind to obsess fixedly on this notion of Anglish. But it’s always there, lurking beneath the surface, getting ready to derail my day by assaulting my mind with a barrage of new wordforms or ideas (and thereby preventing me from, say, taking out the rubbish, doing the ironing, or putting my pants on). For this reason, I’ll never leave Anglish even if I have apparent breaks from it. Or rather, Anglish will never leave me.

So there we have it: mindworm. I based it on the model of “earworm” — noun: a song or part of a song that repeats in one’s mind; verb: to work itself or its way into one’s mind — which is a loan translation of the German Ohrwurm. A related word: minditch. That is, a mental itch that one must scratch, an idea that causes you to come back to it. A minditch can be caused by a mindworm, or may arise through some other means.

So there we have it. Anglish, one of my greatest mindworms. To paraphrase Shakespeare: As long as I can breathe and I can see / This mindworm twitcheth and gives life to me.

*This isn’t offensive; I’m allowed to say “fatty” because I am one and I do pop into the gym every so often to convince myself that I’m actually giving it a fair go.

**A significant part of the urge to Anglish, is the urge to have a plainer, clearer English.

featured image from http://klangschreiber.de/files/2012/02/OHRWURM2.jpg

© 2014 Bryan A. J. Parry

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