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Jargon is the specialized
terminology Terminology is a general word for the group of specialized words or meanings relating to a particular field, and also the study of such terms and their use. This is also known as terminology science. Terms are words and compound words or multi-w ...

terminology
associated with a particular field or area of activity. Jargon is normally employed in a particular communicative context and may not be well understood outside that context. The context is usually a particular occupation (that is, a certain trade, profession,
vernacular A vernacular or vernacular language refers to the language or dialect that is spoken by people that are inhabiting a particular country or region. The vernacular is typically the native language, normally Spoken language, spoken informally rath ...
or academic field), but any
ingroup In sociology and social psychology, an in-group is a social group to which a person self-categorization theory, psychologically identifies as being a member. By contrast, an out-group is a social group with which an individual does not identify. ...
can have jargon. The main trait that distinguishes jargon from the rest of a language is special vocabulary—including some words specific to it and often different
senses A sense is a biological system A biological system is a complex network Network and networking may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * ''Network'' (1976 film), a 1976 American film * ''Network'' (2019 film), an Indian film * ''Netw ...
or meanings of words, that outgroups would tend to take in another sense—therefore misunderstanding that communication attempt. Jargon is sometimes understood as a form of technical
slang Slang is vocabulary (words, phrases, and usage (language), linguistic usages) of an informal register, common in spoken conversation but avoided in formal writing. It also sometimes refers to the language generally exclusive to the members of p ...
and then distinguished from the official terminology used in a particular field of activity. The terms ''jargon'', ''slang'' and ''
argot A cant is the jargon Jargon is the specialized terminology associated with a particular field or area of activity. Jargon is normally employed in a particular Context (language use), communicative context and may not be well understood outside t ...
'' are not consistently differentiated in the literature; different authors interpret these concepts in varying ways. According to one definition, jargon differs from slang in being secretive in nature; according to another understanding, it is specifically associated with professional and technical circles. Some sources, however, treat these terms as synonymous. In Russian linguistics, jargon is classified as an expressive form of language, while secret languages are referred to as ''
argot A cant is the jargon Jargon is the specialized terminology associated with a particular field or area of activity. Jargon is normally employed in a particular Context (language use), communicative context and may not be well understood outside t ...
s''. One thing is true about these terms, they come from a desire to differentiate between groups of people.


Specifics

Jargon is "the technical terminology or characteristic idiom of a special activity or group". Most jargon is ''technical terminology'' (''technical terms''), involving ''terms of art'' or ''industry terms'', with particular meaning within a specific industry. A main driving force in the creation of technical jargon is precision and efficiency of communication, when a discussion must easily range from general themes to specific, finely differentiated details without
circumlocution Circumlocution (also called circumduction, circumvolution, periphrasis In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying an ...
. Jargon enriches everyday vocabulary with meaningful content and can potentially become a
catchword A catchword is a word placed at the foot of a handwritten or Printing, printed page that is meant to be bound along with other pages in a book. The word anticipates the first word of the following page. It was meant to help the bookbinder or pri ...
. While jargon allows greater efficiency in communication among those familiar with it, a side-effect is that it raises the threshold of comprehensibility for outsiders. This is usually accepted as an unavoidable
trade-off A trade-off (or tradeoff) is a situational decision that involves diminishing or losing one quality, quantity, or property of a set or design in return for gains in other aspects. In simple terms, a tradeoff is where one thing increases, and another ...
, but it may also be used as a means of
social exclusion Social exclusion or social marginalisation is the social disadvantage and relegation to the fringe of society A society is a group A group is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measu ...
(reinforcing ingroup–outgroup barriers) or social aspiration (when introduced as a way of showing off). Some academics promote the use of jargon-free language, as an audience may be alienated or confused by the technical terminology, and thus lose track of a speaker or writer's broader and more important arguments.


Etymology

The French word is believed to have been derived from the Latin word , meaning "to chatter", which was used to describe
speech Speech is human vocal communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''c ...

speech
that the listener did not understand. The word may also come from
Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance language The Romance languages, less commonly Latin or Neo-Latin languages, are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular o ...
meaning "chatter of birds". Middle English also has the verb meaning "to chatter," or "twittering," deriving from Old French. The first use of the word dates back to the usage of the word in
The Canterbury Tales ''The Canterbury Tales'' ( enm, Tales of Caunterbury) is a collection of 24 stories that runs to over 17,000 lines written in Middle English by Geoffrey Chaucer between 1387 and 1400. It is near-unanimously seen as Chaucer's ''Masterpiece, mag ...

The Canterbury Tales
written by
Geoffrey Chaucer Geoffrey Chaucer (; – 25 October 1400) was an English poet and author. Widely considered the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and coll ...

Geoffrey Chaucer
between 1387 and 1400. Chaucer referred to jargon as the utterance of birds or sounds resembling birds. In colonial history, jargon was seen as a device of communication to bridge the gap between two speakers who did not speak the same tongue. Jargon was synonymous with
pidgin A pidgin , or pidgin language, is a grammatically simplified means of communication that develops between two or more groups that do not have a language in common: typically, its vocabulary and grammar are limited and often drawn from several lan ...

pidgin
in naming specific language usages. Jargon then began to have a negative connotation with lacking coherent grammar, or gibberish as it was seen as a "broken" language of many different languages with no full community to call their own. In the 1980s, linguists began restricting this usage of jargon to keep the word to more commonly define a technical or specialized language use.


Fields using the term

The term is used, often interchangeably, with the term
buzzword A ''buzzword'' is a word or phrase, new or already existing, that becomes very popular for a period of time. Buzzwords often derive from technical terms yet often have much of the original technical meaning removed through fashionable use, being s ...
when examining
organizational culture Historically there have been differences among investigators regarding the definition of organizational culture. Edgar H. Schein, a leading researcher in this field, defined "organizational culture" as comprising a number of features, including ...
. In linguistics, it is used to mean "specialist language," with the term also seen as closely related to
slang Slang is vocabulary (words, phrases, and usage (language), linguistic usages) of an informal register, common in spoken conversation but avoided in formal writing. It also sometimes refers to the language generally exclusive to the members of p ...
,
argot A cant is the jargon Jargon is the specialized terminology associated with a particular field or area of activity. Jargon is normally employed in a particular Context (language use), communicative context and may not be well understood outside t ...
and
cant CANT may refer to: *CANT, a solo project from Grizzly Bear bass guitarist and producer, Chris Taylor. *Cantieri Aeronautici e Navali Triestini, an aviation company See also

* Cant (disambiguation) {{dab ...
. Various kinds of language peculiar to ingroups can be named across a
semantic field In , a semantic field is a lexical set of words grouped (by ) that refers to a specific subject.Howard Jackson, Etienne Zé Amvela, ''Words, Meaning, and Vocabulary'', Continuum, 2000, p14. The term is also used in ,Ingold, Tim (1996). ''Key deba ...
.
Slang Slang is vocabulary (words, phrases, and usage (language), linguistic usages) of an informal register, common in spoken conversation but avoided in formal writing. It also sometimes refers to the language generally exclusive to the members of p ...
can be either culture-wide or known only within a certain group or subculture.
Argot A cant is the jargon Jargon is the specialized terminology associated with a particular field or area of activity. Jargon is normally employed in a particular Context (language use), communicative context and may not be well understood outside t ...
is slang or jargon purposely used to obscure meaning to outsiders. Conversely, a
lingua franca A lingua franca (; ; for plurals see ), also known as a bridge language, common language, trade language, auxiliary language, vehicular language, or link language, is a language or dialect The term dialect (from , , from the word , 'disco ...
is used for the opposite effect, helping communicators to overcome unintelligibility, as are
pidgin A pidgin , or pidgin language, is a grammatically simplified means of communication that develops between two or more groups that do not have a language in common: typically, its vocabulary and grammar are limited and often drawn from several lan ...

pidgin
s and
creole language A creole language, or simply creole, is a stable natural language In neuropsychology Neuropsychology is a branch of psychology. It is concerned with how a person's cognition and behavior are related to the brain and the rest of the ner ...
s. For example, the
Chinook Jargon Chinook Jargon (' or ', also known simply as ''Chinook'' or ''Jargon'') is a language originating as a pidgin trade language in the Pacific Northwest The Pacific Northwest (PNW) is a geographic region in western North America bounded by ...
was a pidgin. Although technical jargon's primary purpose is to aid
technical communication Technical communication is used to convey scientific, engineering, or other technical information. Individuals in a variety of contexts and with varied professional credentials engage in technical communication. Some individuals are designated as t ...
, not to exclude outsiders by serving as an argot, it can have both effects at once and can provide a technical ingroup with
shibboleth A shibboleth () is any Convention (norm), custom or tradition, usually a choice of phrasing or even a single word, that distinguishes one group of people from another. Shibboleths have been used throughout history in many societies as passwords, ...
s. For example, medieval
guild A guild is an association of artisan Wood carver in Bali An artisan (from french: artisan, it, artigiano) is a skilled craft worker who makes or creates material objects partly or entirely by hand. These objects may be functiona ...
s could use this as one means of informal
protectionism Protectionism is the economic policy of restricting imports from other countries through methods such as tariffs on imported goods, import quotas, and a variety of other government regulations. Proponents argue that protectionist policies sh ...
. On the other hand, jargon that once was obscure outside a small ingroup can become generally known over time. For example, the terms ''
bit The bit is a basic unit of information in computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithm of an algorithm (Euclid's algo ...
,
byte The byte is a unit of digital information that most commonly consists of eight bit The bit is a basic unit of information in computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It ...
,'' and ''
hexadecimal In mathematics and computing, the hexadecimal (also base 16 or hex) numeral system is a Numeral system#Positional systems in detail, positional numeral system that represents numbers using a radix (base) of 16. Unlike the decimal system repres ...
'' (which are terms from computing jargon) are now recognized by many people outside
computer science Computer science deals with the theoretical foundations of information, algorithms and the architectures of its computation as well as practical techniques for their application. Computer science is the study of computation, automation, a ...
.


Referenced

The philosopher
Étienne Bonnot de Condillac Étienne Bonnot de Condillac (; ; 30 September 17142 August or 3 August 1780) was a French philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , translit=philosophos ...
observed in 1782 that "every science requires a special language because every science has its own ideas". As a rationalist member of the
Enlightenment Enlightenment, enlighten or enlightened may refer to: Age of Enlightenment * Age of Enlightenment, period in Western intellectual history from the late 17th to late 18th century, centered in France but also encompassing: ** Midlands Enlightenment ...
, he continued: "It seems that one ought to begin by composing this language, but people begin by speaking and writing, and the language remains to be composed."


Industry term

"An industry term... is a type of technical terminology that has a particular meaning in a specific industry. It implies that a word or phrase is a typical one in a particular industry and people working in the respective industry or business will be familiar with and use the term." Precise technical terms and their definitions are formally recognized, documented, and taught by educators in the field. Other terms are more colloquial, coined and used by practitioners in the field, and are similar to
slang Slang is vocabulary (words, phrases, and usage (language), linguistic usages) of an informal register, common in spoken conversation but avoided in formal writing. It also sometimes refers to the language generally exclusive to the members of p ...
. The boundaries between formal and slang jargon, as in general English, are quite fluid. This is especially true in the rapidly developing world of computers and networking. For instance, the term ''
firewall Firewall may refer to: * Firewall (computing) In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development ...

firewall
'' (in the sense of a device used to filter network traffic) was at first technical slang. As these devices became more widespread and the term became widely understood, the word was adopted as formal terminology. Technical terminology evolves due to the need for experts in a field to communicate with precision and brevity, but often has the effect of excluding those who are unfamiliar with the particular specialized language of the group. This can cause difficulties as, for example, when a patient is unable to follow the discussions of medical practitioners, and thus cannot understand his own condition and treatment. Differences in jargon also cause difficulties where professionals in related fields use different terms for the same phenomena.


In practice

Jargon may serve the purpose of a "gatekeeper" in conversation, signaling who is allowed into certain forms of conversation. Jargon may serve this function by dictating to which direction or depth a conversation about or within the context of a certain field or profession will go. For example, a conversation between two professionals in which one person has little previous interaction or knowledge of the other person could go one of at least two possible ways. One of the professionals (who the other professional does not know) does not use, or does not correctly use the jargon of their respective field, and is little regarded or remembered beyond small talk or fairly insignificant in this conversation. Or, if the person does use particular jargon (showing their knowledge in the field to be legitimate, educated, or of particular significance) the other professional then opens the conversation up in an in-depth or professional manner.


Positivity

Ethos Ethos ( or ) is a Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...

Ethos
is used to create an appeal to authority. It is one of three pillars of persuasion created by
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questio ...

Aristotle
to create a logical argument. Ethos uses credibility to back up arguments. It can indicate to the audience that a speaker is an insider with using specialized terms in the field to make an argument based on authority and credibility. Jargon can be used to convey meaningful information and
discourse Discourse is a generalization of the notion of a conversation Conversation is interactive communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful d ...

discourse
in a convenient way within communities. A subject expert may wish to avoid jargon when explaining something to a layperson. Jargon may help communicate contextual information optimally. For example, a football coach talking to their team or a doctor working with nurses.


Accessibility and criticism

With the rise of the self-advocacy movement within the disability movement, "jargonized" language has been much objected to by advocates and self-advocates. Jargon is largely present in everyday language, in newspapers, government documents, and official forms. Several advocacy organizations work on influencing public agents to offer accessible information in different formats. One accessible format that offers an alternative to jargonised language is " easy read", which consists of a combination of plain English and images. The criticism against jargon can be found in certain fields when responding to specific information. In a study done by analyzing 58 patients and 10
radiation therapist A radiation therapist, therapeutic radiographer or radiotherapist is an allied health professional Allied health professions are health care Health care, health-care, or healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health via the preventi ...
s, they diagnosed and explained the treatment of a disease to a patient with the use of jargon. It was found that using jargon in the medical field is not the best in communicating the terminology and concepts. Patients tend to be confused about what the treatments and risks were. There are resources that include online glossaries of technical jargon, also known as "jargon busters."


Examples

Many examples of jargon exist because of its use among specialists and subcultures alike. In the professional world, those who are in the business of filmmaking may use words like "vorkapich" to refer to a montage when talking to colleagues. In Rhetoric, rhetoricians use words like "arete" to refer to a person of power's character when speaking with one another. * Architectural terminology *
Ballet terminology Because ballet Ballet () is a type of performance dance that originated during the Italian Renaissance The Italian Renaissance ( it, Rinascimento ), a period in History of Italy, Italian history that covered the 15th and 16th centuries, de ...
*
Binomial nomenclature In taxonomy Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may also refer to a specific classification scheme. Originally used only ...
*
Blazon In heraldry Heraldry () is a discipline relating to the design, display and study of armorial bearings (known as armory), as well as related disciplines, such as vexillology, together with the study of ceremony, Imperial, royal and noble rank ...

Blazon
(Heraldic terminology) * Business jargon *
Chemical nomenclature A chemical nomenclature is a set of rules to generate systematic nameA systematic name is a name given in a systematic way to one unique group, organism, object or chemical substance A chemical substance is a form of matter In classical ph ...
* Computing jargon *
Corporate jargonCorporate jargon, variously known as corporate speak, corporate lingo, business speak, business jargon, management speak, workplace jargon, corporatese or commercialese, is the jargon often used in large corporation A corporation is an organi ...
*
Cricket terminology This is a general glossary __NOTOC__ A glossary (from grc, γλῶσσα / language, speech, wording) also known as a vocabulary or clavis, is an alphabetical list of terms in a particular domain of knowledge Domain knowledge is knowled ...
* Economics terminology that differs from common usage * Fencing terminology *
Flag terminology Flag terminology is the nomenclature Nomenclature (, ) is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The idea of a two-way effect is esse ...
*
Language of mathematics The language of mathematics is the system used by mathematicians to communicate Mathematics, mathematical ideas among themselves, and is distinct from natural languages in that it aims to communicate abstract, logical ideas with precision and unambi ...
**
Mathematical jargon The language of mathematics The language of mathematics is the system used by mathematicians to communicate Mathematics, mathematical ideas among themselves, and is distinct from natural languages in that it aims to communicate abstract, logical ...
* Legal terms *
Medical terminology Medical terminology is language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. La ...
*
Musical terminology This is a list of musical terms that are likely to be encountered in printed scores, music reviews, and program notes. Most of the terms are Italian (see also Italian musical terms used in English Many musical terms are in Italian, because th ...
*
Nautical terms This is a glossary of nautical terms; some remain current, while many date from the 17th to 19th centuries. See also Wiktionary's nautical terms, :Nautical terms, and Nautical metaphors in English. See the Further reading Further or Furthur ma ...
* Padonkaffsky jargon * Poker terminology *
Scientific terminology Scientific terminology is the part of the language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing sys ...
**
International scientific vocabulary International scientific vocabulary (ISV) comprises scientific and specialized words whose language of origin may or may not be certain, but which are in current use in several modern languages (that is, translingually). The name "international sc ...
*
Wine tasting descriptorsThe use of wine tasting descriptors allows the taster to qualitatively relate the aromas and flavor Flavor (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the se ...


See also

*
Colloquialism Colloquialism or colloquial language is the style (sociolinguistics), linguistic style used for casual (informal) communication. It is the most common functional style of speech, the idiom normally employed in conversation and other informal cont ...
*
Critical vocabulary A critical vocabulary is a formal terminology related to one or more branches of critical theory. Although it may be considered a type of jargon, it is predominantly used by academics and is not slang. The word "critical", as used in the term ''c ...
*
Cryptolect A cant is the jargon Jargon is the specialized terminology associated with a particular field or area of activity. Jargon is normally employed in a particular Context (language use), communicative context and may not be well understood outside t ...
* Eurodicautom *
Gibberish Gibberish, also called jibber-jabber or gobbledygook, is speech that is (or appears to be) nonsense. It may include speech sounds that are not actual word In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A langu ...
*''
Idola fori ''Idola fori'' (singular ''Idolum fori''), sometimes translated as "Idols of the Market Place" or "Idols of the Forum", are a category of logical fallacy which results from the imperfect correspondences between the word definitions in human langua ...
'' *
Jargon File The Jargon File is a glossary __NOTOC__ A glossary (from grc, γλῶσσα / language, speech, wording) also known as a vocabulary or clavis, is an alphabetical list of terms in a particular domain of knowledge Domain knowledge is knowledg ...
*
Legalese Legal writing involves the analysis of fact patternA fact pattern or fact situation is a summary of the key facts of a particular legal case, presented without any associated discussion of their legal consequences. For example, at common law In ...
* Lexigraf *
Nomenclature Nomenclature (, ) is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The idea of a two-way effect is essential in the concept of interaction, a ...

Nomenclature
*
Orismology Orismology is the study of the process and the products of definition, in practice, in praxis, and in theory. ''Orismology'' is particularly applicable to the analysis and the writing of stipulative, normative definitions that explain and delimit t ...
* P convention *
Phraseme A phraseme, also called a set phrase, idiomatic phrase An idiom is a phrase or expression that typically presents a figurative language, figurative, non-literal meaning (linguistic), meaning attached to the phrase; but some phrases become figurat ...
*
Pidgin A pidgin , or pidgin language, is a grammatically simplified means of communication that develops between two or more groups that do not have a language in common: typically, its vocabulary and grammar are limited and often drawn from several lan ...

Pidgin
*
Polari Polari () is a form of slang Slang is vocabulary (words, phrases, and usage (language), linguistic usages) of an informal register, common in spoken conversation but avoided in formal writing. It also sometimes refers to the language generall ...
*
Procedure word Procedure words or prowords are words or phrases limited to radio telephone A radiotelephone (or radiophone) is a radio communication system for transmission of speech over radio. Radiotelephony means transmission of sound (audio signal, au ...
*
Register (sociolinguistics) In sociolinguistics Sociolinguistics is the descriptive study of the effect of any and all aspects of society A society is a group A group is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measu ...
*
Specification (technical standard) A specification often refers to a set of documented requirements to be satisfied by a material, design, product, or service. A specification is often a type of technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requi ...
*
Technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task which is applied to a common and repeated use of rules, conditions, guidelines or characteristics for products or related processes and produc ...
*
Thieves' cant Thieves' cant (also known as thieves' argot, rogues' cant, or peddler's French) was a cant, cryptolect, or argot which was formerly used by thieves, beggars and hustlers of various kinds in Great Britain Great Britain is an island in th ...
*
Three-letter acronym A three-letter acronym (TLA), or three-letter abbreviation, is an abbreviation consisting of three letters. These are usually the initial letters of the words of the phrase abbreviated, and are written in capital letters (upper case); three-lette ...
*
Variety (linguistics) In sociolinguistics Sociolinguistics is the descriptive study of the effect of any and all aspects of society A society is a group A group is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measur ...


References


Further reading

* Green, Jonathon. ''Dictionary of Jargon''. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1987. . * Nash, Walter. ''Jargon: Its Uses and Abuses''. Oxford: Blackwell, 1993. . * Sonneveld, H., Loenning, K.: (1994): "Introducing terminology", in ''Terminology'', p. 1–6 * Wright, S. E.; Budin, G.: (1997): ''Handbook of Terminology Management, Volume 1: Basic Aspects of Terminology Management''. Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 370 pp.


External links


The Jargon Wiki
A wiki based on The Jargon File.
Business Jargon
Business jargon and terminology
Jargonism
Business English dictionary for industry-specific jargon {{Authority control Linguistics terminology Terminology