Julie, thanks for an excellent question.
Jargon, I think, is making up new words for convenience or when the
existing words don't seem effective in naming a thing, thought, or
In Synectics, an important part of my background, there's an important
notion that in a meeting the facilitator should discourage people from
using jargon. Because the people might not have the same understanding of
the jargon word. Because including outsiders with fresh viewpoints might
be important for really creative solutions, but jargon would exclude them.
Interesting that Synectics is a made-up word (not in my Am Heritage 3rd
... A different line of thought...
I have been reading Winograd and Flores who report: Humberto Maturana and
Francisco Varela invented a new way of thinking about life and gave it a
name "Autopoiesis." The scientists feel that giving it a name has been
very important in the success of the concepts. (See one of my favorites,
_The Tree of Knowledge_, Maturana and Varela, Shamballa Publications 1987,
And, on the other hand, when Charlie Kiefer and Peter Senge began working
in this LO area, they invented a word for the personal transformation that
seems essential for being in a learning organization. "Metanoia." Seemed
like a good idea, but it didn't stick.
Mike Hammer told me a couple years ago that he hoped one day to have
contributed a word to the language and that the official judge should be
the Oxford Dictionary. His word: "Reengineering."
I think, in net, that inventing new words is a gamble, one that sometimes
pays off. There are some examples where the payoff has been big. But, be
careful of the downsides along the way. Mucking around with the language
is not something to be taken lightly!
On Sun, 8 Oct 1995, Julie Beedon wrote:
> > . Ambiguous words are powerful because they require conversation to
> > agree on their meaning.
> Does anyone else suffer with me with this.......
> ...groups who complain about 'jargon'
[...good stuff sniped...]
> Personally I really value new words and the learning that
> understanding them brings, often they help me to develop new
> paradigms because they are different - so how can I develop new
> ways of working with groups who hate jargon - what are they
> really saying??
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