Jargon is a specific type of language, a set of terminologies used by a group of people in a particular profession, which is not understood by others. But using it in excess can lead to misunderstandings or alienation. It is simple to communicate more effectively through the use of plain language in everything – from daily interactions to official documents.
This is the aim of the new Plain Language Bill that is currently being debated in the New Zealand Parliament. It contends that the right to understandable information from government institutions is a fundamental component of democracy.
The New Zealand government is trying to make the new law demanding bureaucrats use simple, comprehensible language to communicate to the public.
According to a report in The Guardian, the controversial bill passed its second reading last month after a colourful parliamentary debate but still faces a final vote before becoming law.
As per the Plain Language Bill, the purpose of the bill “aims to improve the effectiveness and accountability of the public service by requiring communications to be clear and accessible to the public.”
The salient features of the bill are:
Requirements for using plain language in documents
Requirements to appoint plain language officers with responsibilities for plain language
A reporting framework for how agencies are complying with plain language requirements
The provision of plain language guidance by the Public Service Commissioner.
Several nations, notably the UK, the US, and Canada, saw the beginning of plain language movements in the 1970s.
These movements, no matter how old, fought for straightforward, understandable language in government documents.
Simple language is not only about a language that the general public can understand, but it also aids with life-related issues because simplified medical information can address significant issues.