Tuesday, August 21, 2007

How to Identify the Research Potential of Innovative Work in the Field of Cutting and Pasting

I've been overworked, out of time, fagged out, in the wrong place at the wrong time, too busy, lazy, fit only for Facebook, reading about the Holocaust etc. So apologies in advance for cutting and pasting from a great letter in today's Irish Times - an organ I tend to reserve an inordinate amount of scorn for:


Madam, - Your report of the launch of the Adult Literacy Awards quotes Inez Baily, director of the National Adult Literacy Agency, as saying: "The awards were designed to encourage organisations to identify the research potential of their innovative work and recognise, share and learn from the work being done by others in the field" (The Irish Times, August 14th).

Madam, this is gobbledegook on stilts. Such vernacular vandalism, spouted by an organisation such as NALA which is charged with helping the 1 million Irish adults who are functionally illiterate, is mind-boggling.

Furthermore, in 2005 NALA launched its Plain English Mark. This is awarded to organisations which are committed to clear communication. Is it not time that NALA and its director employed the same standard of English that it demands from other organisations? - Yours, etc,

MICHAEL O'DONNELL, Old Youghal Road, Cork.

Michael O'Donnell of Old Youghal Road in Cork, you're on the button there. Literacy - especially in a country with rates of functional literacy far behind many developing countries - is far too important a thing to be left to the sub-literate to administer. I promise to be more pro-active tomorrow. I'm only working one job for the next few days, you know.


redking said...

Meh, I dunno. I'm all for plain English - I tediously point people in the direction of Politics and the English Language at every opportunity. Still, it seems a bit churlish to single out this person for something they said rather than wrote - I presume they would have been more careful in print.

seanachie said...

But it most likely came from a pre-written speech. It's so garbled and jargon-heavy that it could really have only been conceived by a really bad speechwriter. Such turgid oratory is common at arts and admin functions in Ireland (I imagine there was a good bit of it at the Fringe launch the other night). Calling someone up on this is hardly the same as correcting people's English when you're out in the pub.

redking said...

Yeah, fair enough. I think such language is so common now as to have zero shock value for me anymore. Its worse in politics, where the language tries to obscure meaning. At least in this case its trying to hide the fact that there is none.