Tamsin Constable

International Plain Language Day

Hurray for International Plain Language Day on 13 October (follow #iplday on Twitter).

I can’t get to Ottawa in time to pig-out at the plain English celebratory luncheon, or to Stockholm to rub shoulders with the Swedish language consultants. I’d love to see how the government writers respond to their plain English workshop in Washington, and I wish I could join the town hall petition in Alberta, Canada to Calgary to have the city declare International Plain Language Day by 2012. I hope the free webinar goes well , that the competition to find the best examples of jargon being organised by plain English experts in South Africa attracts lots of entrants, and I wish I could go to the presentation for editors in New Zealand, as that looks really useful.

But all that’s a bit too far from soggy Yorkshire, and anyway I’d have to be home in time to pick the kids up from school.

So what can I do? I’ve decided. I will close my eyes, begin to hum, breathe deeply and take my editing brain down to the cool, calm Zone of Clarity.

Having taken leave of my senses, I will then offer a two-hour JARGON AMNESTY. I spend two hours  ‘plain Englishing’ (now a verb) any material I receive (within reason) from an organisation or business by Thursday 13 October, for free, until the two hours is up and I emerge gracefully from the Z of C.

So go on, sling it over.

Good luck to everyone else celebrating International Plain Language Day in whatever form. Let’s hope the effect lasts more than a day…

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