Anderson, NLR and all that

TheRevWilliams at TheRevWilliams at
Thu Jan 4 04:51:52 MST 2001

Jurriaan wrote:
> When is a question worth asking ? I get annoyed when socialists, whose
>  political constituency is supposed to be ordinary working people, start to
>  talk in a rarified academic (really haute bourgeois) language using words
>  you have to look up in a dictionary in order to understand the nuance of
>  what they mean. It's a kind of linguistic elitism that is inappropriate in
>  my view. When you check it out, you find that for all the difficult words
>  that are being used, there are simpler, readily understood alternatives.
>  But of course then you don't have the "mystique" of a specialised language
>  anymore. I am sensitive to this because I have worked professionally as
>  translator and editor of a lot of leftwing literature. I have translated
>  e.g. for Science & Society and the Review of the Fernand Braudel
>  subedited an article for NLR and so on to mention a few things.

    I can understand and appreciate that...but in that very paragraph quoted
above, there are words a great deal of people would have to look up, i.e.,
constituency, bourgeois, nuance, linguistic, etc.  I don't believe that when
people write (at least most of the time) they concern themselves with the
degree of the vocabulary they use, they simply write.  And, when one writes
something not for the layman, they are almost definitely going to use the
jargon of whatever it is they are discussing.

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