ERIC Number: ED373328
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994-Jul
Reference Count: N/A
Grunts or Jargon: Poor Communication in Educational Writing.
In the late 20th century, Australia's diverse population and international commitments require its constituents to use plain English. Unfortunately, its language is eroding as fast as its soil. On the one hand, much academic jargon excludes even well-educated readers; on the other, many teachers do not believe in teaching grammar or standard English. Consequently, Australia's economy loses $13 million a year and employers complain that graduates have poor communication skills. The recent renewal of interest in grammar may not help because the notion of "correct" English is being replaced with "standard" English, one dialect among many. Of help in evaluating language written today are three indices: Gunning's Fog index, which measures the number of difficult words per sentence; Halliday's lexical density, which measures the number of lexical items per clause; and Flesch Reading Ease, which measures the number of words per sentence and syllables per 100 words. Such indices show us the relative difficulty of language written by scholars and students today compared with that of clean stylists such as Virginia Woolf and George Orwell. Contributing to these stylistic disparities is the agnosticism of resource books like Peter Knapp's "Literacy and Learning Programs," which views grammar as a descriptive rather than a prescriptive program. Knapp and other educators fail to encourage certain types of expression, (i.e., active verbs, active voice) over others. They consider no forms of expression better than others. (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Plain English
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association (44th, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, July 11-15, 1994).