Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Academic Language: Academese

My wife and I have started a list of "academic" words and phrases that are annoying. These are words people in higher education seem compelled to use by some unnatural force. It's a scream, "Look at me! I'm educated! I'm an elitist (liberal) snob!" I added the "liberal" because academic language seems to explode in papers by leftist "experts" in the humanities and social sciences.

I'm not going to post the list here, but I think we should also compile example sentences from some of the documents we have been forced to read. "The hegemonic impulse, the notion that our paradigm is the penultimate, that is a conceit of the imperialist." Nothing like a misuse of penultimate (which means "second to last" and nothing close to the "ultimate" implied in the misuse I have repeated).

Nothing like an academic moron. I'm sure they will dislike me irregardless of my education. (That's sarcasm and intentional misuse, by the way.)

3 comments:

  1. I think it would be fantastic if ou could post the list. I'd like to make some suggestions:

    discourse(s)
    problematize
    negotiate
    space
    post-(anything)
    meta-(anything)
    neo-(anything)
    hegemony
    anything ending in -ism or -ity
    articulated
    complicate
    construct

    Surely I'm forgetting many more!

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  2. Here's one more: foregrounds

    I understand the argument that academic jargon is meant to be more precise...but much of this language is *not* any more precise than many other similar words that can be used. Such writing ends up coming across as highly arrogant and pompous, esoteric, and completely unnecessary.

    And let's not get into the run-on sentences and indecipherable rhetorical questions also common in academic writing.

    Coming into academia from a far, far different background, I just have to cringe at the very poor quality of the writing at times....from the jargon to the poor grammar and structure. It's incredible that some of these academics have Ph.D.'s and get published!

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  3. We should add these to the Tameri.com pages. The list is posted:

    http://tameri.com/write/academese.html

    ReplyDelete