Arcane writing is unnecessary

Peter W. Lock, Professor emeritus Department of French and Italian

Recently I came across this extract that strikes me as social science, jargon-ridden writing bent on transforming English language into a strange Latinized and Germanic hybrid. It read, âÄúprocess use, then, includes cognitive, attitudinal, and behavior changes in individuals, and program or organizational changes resulting, either directly or indirectly, from engagement in the evaluation process and learning to think evaluatively (e.g., increased evaluation capacity, integrating evaluation into the program, goals clarification, conceptualizing the programâÄôs logic model, setting evaluation priorities, and improving outcomes measurement).âÄù

I donâÄôt know what âÄúprocess useâÄù could possibly mean, and I am none the wiser having read the above sentence. To learn this arcane academic language, the trick is to replace all simple, clear Anglo-Saxon words by their polysyllabic Greek or Latin equivalents. Then, jam together nouns in the best Germanic manner, thus: âÄúprocess use,âÄù âÄúbehavior changes,âÄù âÄúevaluation capacity,âÄù âÄúgoals clarification,âÄù âÄúlogic model,âÄù âÄúevaluation priorities,âÄù leading triumphantly to âÄúoutcomes measurement.âÄù

Even with this primer, the above passage leads only to a headache. George Orwell was complaining that the English language is âÄúin a bad wayâÄù in 1946, and in certain kinds of academic writing, itâÄôs getting worse.