There must be something about early October that makes me more impatient and intolerant with newsreaders.
I first vented my spleen about the mis-use of our language by newsreaders in October, 2009 and even then I noted that every day I understand it less. I was first told I had antiquated views on the use of English over 30 years ago and nothing has changed.
What pulled my chain this time? It was a few nights ago, on the sports section of The News. I might not have shouted at the TV had it been on a sports programme, although that is doubtful to be honest. The newsreader in her star struck admiration for the Black Ferns (New Zealand's women's rugby team) informed the public that they had been "kicking arse" around the world. I kid you not. Have we no standards at all left in this country? I suppose I should be thankful that at least she had expressed herself clearly.
I don't know what riles me the most. That sort of reporting on the news or how I have trouble understanding what is being said in general.
I have a file on my laptop titled "Gobblygook by Pollyanna" where I take note of our prime minister's often used expressions.
My favourite (meaning I like it least) is "I reject the premise of that question/subject/theory" Somehow that also means subject closed.
Never, ever do I understand what follows any of these -
"What I would say is ...
We're working on that.
We're looking at that.
We are looking at the options
There is more to come in that space.
We've been very clear."
I really am starting to think it's just me. I can't believe the words I long to hear are just a simple "yes" or "no". I just want people to say what they mean and mean what they say. How hard can it be?
Pretty hard by the look of it. I would expect that government departments would have people who can communicate clearly. Yet the top finalists for poor communication at 2022 Plain Language Awards went to public services. (https://www.plainlanguageawards.org.nz/)
People’s Choice — Worst Brainstrain Communication
- Finalist: Internal Affairs | Births, Deaths, and Marriages (BDM) — Application to register a name change webpage and application form
- Finalist: Work and Income — Covid-19 Leave Support Scheme: who can get it webpage
There is hope. There are the good people from the Plain Language Awards who care about these things. They want to see plain language as the norm in government and business communication.
Long may they prosper.