On Fri, 20 Oct 1995, Debbie Gunther wrote:
> This thread reminds me of the topic of a past popular book, "Cultural
> Literacy." The author's premise, if I recall it correctly, was that
> jargon was inclusionary rather than exclusionary. For the educated, it
> formed a shorthand which allowed people to communicate complicated ideas
> with the speed of thought rather than the speed of words. The example
> given was one I hadn't heard, but have often since thought of... "There
> comes a tide..." (Shakespeare), which, in 4 simple words, conveys the
> thought that certain opportunities arise only once, and once missed,
> cannot be ever recaptured.
Seem pretty clear by now, on this thread, that the word has both a
pejorative and meliorative (oh, ma, I'm proud of that one) usage. These
do not differ in their bare logical meaning: a vocabulary specific to a
single group or profession or locale. These two usages differ in the
contexts to which they apply. Ron Mallis gave an example of the thumbs-up
jargon a couple of weeks ago: the biker group. Any working team will
quite naturally develop whatever jargon it finds useful.
There've been examples on this thread of what I'd call "micro-jargon" -- a
moment's usage of a concept to obscure rather than to enlighten.
The essence of the exclusionary jargon is not the vocabulary itself but
the role that it plays, for its group, in keeping outsiders outside. This
is properly sociology, not linguistic usage.
But the example from Shakespeare is not jargon at all. It's great poetry.
This thread is in some danger, I think, of becoming its own exemplar.
Host's Note: I could have guessed, but I looked it up.
meliorative = To make better; improve.
-- Regards Jim Michmerhuizen firstname.lastname@example.org web residence at http://world.std.com/~jamzen/ ........................................................................... . . . . There are far *fewer* things in heaven and earth, Horatio, . . . . . . . . . than are dreamt of in your philosophy... . . | _ .