*Who Uses Jargon?

*Advantages & Disadvantages

*Jargon VS. Slang




*External Links


Jargon includes special words and phrases that are only used or understood by people in the same kind of work. This word usually shows that you don’t like this kind of language.Macmillan English-Chinese Dictionary, 2005) People tend to associate it with medical or legal professions instead of daily conversation. As for a jargonaut who studies jargon, jargon was invented for a more convenient use rather than intentional confusion. (1)

Who Uses Jargon?
Generally speaking, there are about three types of people. (1)
①groups with a similar interest, such as trades or professions
people involved in sports or other casual groups
medical or legal professions instead of everyday conversations.

Advantages & Disadvantages
People who use jargon may find a sense of belonging to a special group. They are easy to make friends in this group, and easy to communicate with each other using comparatively short sentences instead of long and explanatory sentences.

For those who do not understand the special language, jargon is like a barrier that keeps them from getting into that area. They may think that those who use jargon a lot just to show off their intelligence or confuse others. (1)

Jargon VS Slang
People always compare slang with jargon. According to Macmillan English-Chinese Dictionary, slang is defined as “words or expressions that are very informal and are not considered suitable for more formal situations.” Sometimes, people treat slang as useless words.
The word “say” can be slang when used at the beginning of a sentence and would mean “tell me”, like “Say, what are you doing?” (2)

Jargon is more formal and is considered to be technical terminology. It usually is used by people who have some special knowledge.
Here is an example of difference between slang and jargon: (3)
Did you hook up with him? (Slang)
Get me his vitals. (Medical jargon)

1、Some common words can be used as jargon
Consideration is a very common word. We all know it means careful thought about something. The phrase “in consideration of something” means in exchange for something or as a payment for something in legal profession.

② In NASA jargon, the meaning of “resources” is money, which is different from the meaning in “natural resources”.
2、Different types of jargon
① Medical Jargon: (4)
Aneurysm: a serious swelling in the wall of an artery ( =tube carrying blood around the body)
Angioplasty: a medical operation to repair an artery ( =tube carrying blood around the body) that has become blocked or too narrow
Leprosy: a serious disease that affects the skin, nerves, and bones and can cause people’s fingers and toes to fall off
Antigen: a harmful substance that causes your body to produce antibodies to fight
Tonsillectomy: a medical operation to remove your tonsils
(The definitions are found in the Macmillan English-Chinese Dictionary.)

② Financial Jargon (5)
Appreciation: the increase in the value of property caused by economic factors like inflation, or an excess of demand over supply for that property type.
Unencumbered: usually describes a property free of mortgage interests
Chattels: property other than real estate. Moveable possessions which may be included in a sale, for example, furniture.
③ Legal Jargon
Affidavit: a legal document containing a written promise that something is true
Certiorari: a writ from a higher court to a lower one requesting a transcript of the proceedings of a case for review.
Circuit court: a state court that holds sessions at several different places within a judicial district.

④Scientific Jargon
Today, the television play The Big Bang Theory is very popular. The four chief characters—Sheldon, Leonard, Howard and Raj—use jargon a lot. What they say is very hard for Penny, a waitress, to understand. During the process, we can find lots of fun and have a better understanding about the scientific jargon.

Here are some examples:
Penny: Oh,I always tear up, when the Grinch's heart grows three sizes.
Sheldon: Tears seem appropriate.Enlargement of the heart muscle, or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a serious disease

⑤Workplace Jargon
“Workplace Jargon" is a term used mainly in the Britain to describe the needless or meaningless sentences and phrases used by both managers and colleagues in the workplace instead of plain English.
It is also known as "corporate speak", "corporate nonsense" and "buzz phrase" in the UK, where these three phrases have a slightly different meaning to the U.S. interpretation and Corporate speak.” (6)

Here are some examples: (6)
Blue sky thinking:Idealistic or visionary ideas - not always with practical application (source: BBC)

Deep dive:getting into the detail
In the loop:knowing what's going on and being kept informed

After learning so many examples, I hope people can change the opinions towards jargon. Sometimes, it is very annoying and confusing, when people keep talking about something you do not understand. However, they may not deliberately use these terminologies. It is also a way to show their expertise during interview.
I also find some interesting exercise.
Jargon Exercise (Group Work)
1Each of the following sets of words will come from a particular occupation. Determine which occupation would use the words and what would you think each word would mean.
1- Alfalfa, Butcher, Cats, Horse, Possom Belly
2- Bibles, Heralds, Jonah's Luck, Lot, Sky Boards
3- Larry, Jill, Joey, Hey Ruby, Big Bertha
4- Layout Man, Main Guy, Spec Girl, 24hr Man, Web Girl

(2) http://www.yourdictionary.com/grammar/examples/examples-of-jargon.html
(3) http://www.buzzle.com/articles/jargon-examples.html
(4)Yang Xinzhang: (2009): English Lexicology: A Coursebook. Beijing: Higher Education Press.p126
(5) http://www.loanscafe.com.au/jargon.php
(6) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workplace_jargon

External Links:
More political jargon:
More examples of jargon:
More medical jargon:
More details about jargon: