Urban Times – Rebuilding the Tower of Babel

When everyone is unified by one language, human beings can accomplish anything. There is power in a unified language that is accessible to all; this is the underlying principle in the Tower of Babel story. Whether or not you believe this tower ever existed, we can all agree that language is certainly not universally accessible. Not only are there many different languages spoken on this planet, but sometimes we even struggle to understand people who are (allegedly) speaking our own language. Jargon and technical terminology play a vital role in our lives and can serve as identifiers for our place in society or academia.

Use “seretonergic” in a sentence and you are a neuroscientist; use “Neoclassical aesthetic” and you transform into an art critic. If you can name a “reciprocating saw”, people know that you can do carpentry. While the use of jargon can be helpful—or, at worst, harmless—in communication between members of the same field, it is far more dangerous when extended beyond a specialized field—particularly in science, social movements, and civic contexts. With the vast availability of documents and presentations online, how can we improve the way we communicate with our target audience while acknowledging that the audience may be larger than we can predict?

For more: http://urbantimes.co/2013/03/rebuilding-the-tower-of-babel-using-and-abusing-jargon/

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