A Nation Tries to Banish Jargon. If Only it Were That Simple

Mike Cherney:

A push to pass a law pro­mot­ing the use of sim­ple lan­guage in New Zea­land’s gov­ern­ment doc­u­ments is prov­ing com­pli­cated. For one thing, no one can quite agree on what plain Eng­lish ac­tu­ally means.

Nearly 70 cit­i­zens and groups have made writ­ten com­ments. Of­fi­cials put to­gether a 53-page re­port, and a leg­isla­tive com­mit­tee needed 19 pages to ex­plain and present an amended ver­sion of the bill. Law­mak­ers have quoted “Chron­i­cles of Nar­nia” au­thor C.S. Lewis, Amer­i­can lin­guist Ju­lia Pene­lope and for­mer British Prime Min­is­ter Mar­garet Thatcher on the im­por­tance of be­ing clear and con­cise.

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