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Dotcom boom spawned menace of mumbo-jumbo

A new book on jargon pins the blame for its spread on the net nerds of the noughties

Do you yell at politicians on the radio when they promise things will get better “going forward”, or describe the rampage of the rioters as “criminality”, instead of good old-fashioned crime? Then your new favourite book has arrived: in Talk Normal, a spin-off from his blog, journalist Tim Phillips gathers together evidence of scores of crimes against language like these, especially in the business world, charting the rise of “blue skies thinking,” “low-hanging fruit” and others. It’s great fun, but it also makes the crucial point that jargon makes it harder to understand what you’re going on about.

Who’s to blame for this corporate bilge? Apparently, it’s the dotcommers: Phillips tracks the frequency of many of the worst buzzwords (in itself a buzzword, of course) and finds that they peaked in the early Noughties.

Phillips says: “After 2003 the dotcommers mostly disappeared; but now apparently we can’t stop ourselves from talking like them. The buzzwords the dotcommers left behind are the fag burns in the plush carpet of our language after a bullshit orgy has been held on it. Thanks, guys.” © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds