Monday, June 14, 2010

Divided by a common language

Because I work for an American company I'm often subjected to the newest corporate newspeak, either directly from source or after it's been adopted with alacrity by my more eager-to-please UK colleagues. The most irksome ones, with the only sensible response in brackets thereafter:

Reach out
. Sample usage: "I will reach out to her about it." (Er, no, surely it would be quicker and easier just to email?)
Around, as in "have we made a decision around this?" (No, but we have made a decision about it.)
Sunset. "Corporate have decided to sunset this product". (Does that mean it will come up again tomorrow morning?)

Can someone please explain to me how any of these tiresome augmentations of the language advance the use of it in any way?


mancsoulsister said...

There is nothing worse than corporate speak. 'Sunset' is a good example of how a perfectly normal word gets completely distorted.

I used to work for an American company and every Friday we had a 'war' meeting with the CEO talking to the whole company. Our office used to play 'corporate bingo'. We would choose an annoying corporate speak word like synergy, blue skies thinking, traction etc. The word that was mentioned most often during the speak won a coffee!

LottieP said...

"Sunset" is my favourite. It doesn't even make sense.

Claire said...

How about "put it in a rest home for the remainder of its days and never visit it"? It sounds kinder than saying "administer a lethal dose of morphine to it".

dennis hodgson said...

For me, the most annoying habit is using nouns as verbs:

"Action this report."
"Progress this initiative." Ugh!

I'm particularly interested in how people use language. Mind Your Language summarizes my point of view.

LottieP said...

Agreed, Dennis! The worst one has to be "farewell" - in reference to a funeral, "we gathered to farewell our friend".