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{{other uses}}Jargon is the specialized terminology associated with a particular field or area of activity.BOOK, Murray, Neil, Writing Essays in English Language and Linguistics: Principles, Tips and Strategies for Undergraduates, 2012, 9780521111195, Cambridge University Press,weblink 147, 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, or academic field), but any ingroup 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 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 and then distinguished from the official terminology used in a particular field of activity.BOOK, Polskaya, Svetlana, Differentiating between various categories of special vocabulary (on the material of a professionals speech of English-speaking stock exchange brokers), Raţă, Georgeta, Academic Days of Timişoara: Language Education Today, 2011, 9781443833165, Cambridge Scholars Publishing,weblink 519, The terms jargon, slang, and argot 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;BOOK, Piekot, Tomasz, Język w grupie społecznej: wprowadzenie do analizy socjolektu, 2008, 9788388425387, Wałbrzych, Wydawnictwo Państwowej Wyższej Szkoły Zawodowej im. Angelusa Silesiusa, 297524942, 28, pl, according to another understanding, it is specifically associated with professional and technical circles.BOOK, Outsmarting Your Competitors: Techniques of Sales Excellence to Build Profitable Business,weblink 88, Marshall Cavendish, 2007, 9789812614483, en, Patrick, Forsyth, Some sources, however, treat these terms as synonymous.WEB, Jan, Grzenia,weblink gwara a żargon, 2005-04-25, 2019-04-26, Poradnia PWN,, pl, BOOK, 385, Mistrík, Jozef, Encyklopédia jazykovedy, 1993, 8021502509, 1, Bratislava, Obzor, 29200758, sk, In Russian linguistics, jargon is classified as an expressive form of language, while secret languages are referred to as argots.JOURNAL, 29-38, Kortas, Jan, pl, Terminy «argot», «argotyzm» w polskiej nomenklaturze językoznawczej, 2003, 2003 (7), Poradnik Językowy, Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego, 0551-5343,


Jargon is "the technical terminology or characteristic idiom of a special activity or group".WEB, Jargon,weblink Merriam Webster, Merriam-Webster, 29 March 2013,weblink" title="">weblink 5 April 2013, yes, Most jargon is technical terminology (technical terms), involving terms of artMERRIAM-WEBSTER, Term 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 (wikt:concise#Adjective|efficiency of communication), when a discussion must easily range from general themes to specific, finely differentiated details without circumlocution. Jargon enrichess everyday vocabulary with meaningful content and can potentially become a (wikt:catchword|catchword).BOOK, Wodak, Ruth, Language, Power and Ideology: Studies in political discourse, 1989, John Benjamins Publishing Company, 9789027286055, 1–288,weblink en, 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, but it may also be used as a means of social exclusion (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.JOURNAL, Ross, Steven, Jargon and the Crisis of Readability: Methodology, Language, and the Future of Film History, Cinema Journal, 2014, 44, 1, 130–133, 3661180, 10.1353/cj.2004.0052,


The French word is believed to have been derived from the Latin word , meaning "to chatter", which was used to describe speech that the listener did not understand.WEB,weblink Jargon, Online Etymology Dictionary, April 28, 2018, The word may also come from Old French meaning "chatter of birds". Middle English also has the verb meaning "to chatter," or "twittering," deriving from Old French.WEB, Martinuzzi, Bruna, The History of Jargon,weblink American Express, American Express Company, 22 February 2019, The first use of the word dates back to the usage of the word in The Canterbury Tales written by 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 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.WEB, Mufwene, Salikoko Sangol, Jargon {{!, linguistics |url= |website=Encyclopedia Britannica |publisher=Encyclopaedia Britannica |accessdate=22 February 2019 |language=en}}

Fields using the term

The term is used, often interchangeably, with the term buzzwordBOOK,weblink Management Fads and Buzzwords: Critical-Practical Perspectives, 9781136295089, Collins, David, 2013-10-11, when examining organizational culture.Martin, J. and Frost, P., 2011. The organizational culture war games. Sociology of Organizations: Structures and relationships, 315. In linguistics, it is used to mean "specialist language,"BOOK, Allan, Keith, The English Language and Linguistics Companion,weblink 2017, 978-1-349-92395-3, 18, with the term also seen as closely related to slang, argot and cant.BOOK,weblink Slang: The People's Poetry, 9780199986538, Adams, Michael, 2012-09-01, The use of jargon in language can be used in professional and unprofessional settings.WEB, {{!, Keep It Jargon-free |url= |}} Examples: economics, computing, medical, photography, business, military, politicians, sports, geographical, employee, employer, radio, music, movies, plays, children, adults, professors, students etc.Various kinds of language peculiar to ingroups can be named across a semantic field. Slang can be either culture-wide or known only within a certain group or subculture. Argot is slang or jargon purposely used to obscure meaning to outsiders. Conversely, a lingua franca is used for the opposite effect, helping communicators to overcome unintelligibility, as are pidgins and creole languages. For example, the Chinook Jargon was a pidgin.WEB,weblink Jargon | linguistics, Although technical jargon's primary purpose is to aid technical communication, not to exclude outsiders by serving as an argot, it can have both effects at once and can provide a technical ingroup with shibboleths. For example, medieval guilds could use this as one means of informal protectionism. On the other hand, jargon that once was obscure outside a small ingroup can become generally known over time. For example, the terms bit, byte, and hexadecimal (which are terms from computing jargonWEB,weblink Buzzwords– bang * splat !, Lundin, Leigh, 2009-12-31, Criminal Brief, Don Martin School of Software, ) are now recognized by many people outside computer science.


The philosopher Étienne Bonnot de Condillac observed in 1782 that "every science requires a special language because every science has its own ideas". As a rationalist member of the 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."Quoted by Fernand Braudel, in discussing the origins of capital, capitalism, in The Wheels of Commerce, vol. II of Civilization and Capitalism, 15th–18th Century, 1979:234. Originally found in Condillac's work Le Commerce et le gouvernement considérés relativement l'un à l'autre (1776).

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."JOURNAL,weblink Peterlicean, Andrea, Challenges and perspectives in teaching specialised languages, The Journal of Linguistic and Intercultural Education, 2015, 8, 149–162, 18 January 2017, 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. 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 (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.WEB,, jaimemontoya, Technical Terminology -,weblink, 22 February 2019, es, 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.WEB, Jirtle, James, Words in English :: Usage,weblink, 2003, James Jirtle, 22 February 2019,

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.{{Citation|last=Campbell|first=Gordon|chapter=Jargon|date=2014-01-22|publisher=Oxford University Press|doi=10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.t2072529|title=Oxford Art Online}} 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 of jargon

Ethos is used to create an appeal to authority. It is one of three pillars of persuasion created by 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.WEB, Ethos,weblink Philosophy Terms, 1 December 2015, Jargon can be used to convey meaningful information and 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.WEB, Boggs, Colleen Glenney, In Defense of Jargon,weblink Huffington Post, 1 March 2019, 27 November 2012, For example, a football coach talking to their team or a doctor working with nurses.WEB, Dodge, Amanda, The Pros and Cons of Using Jargon,weblink Copypress, 1 March 2019, 23 August 2013,

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.WEB,weblink Jargon buster – Accessible Information * splat !, Lundin, Leigh, 2013-04-05, Northampton Borough Council, Northampton Borough Council, 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 therapists, 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 were the treatments and the risks.JOURNAL, Schnitzler, Lena, et al, Communication during radiation therapy education sessions: The role of medical jargon and emotional support in clarifying patient confusion, Patient Education and Counseling, 9 August 2016, 100, 1, 112–120, 10.1016/j.pec.2016.08.006, 27542311, There resources include online glossaries of technical jargon, also known as a "jargon busters."WEB,weblink Jargon buster – Involve * splat !, Lundin, Leigh, 2013-04-05, Involve,


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.WEB,weblink Cinematic Terms – A FilmMaking Glossary,, In Rhetoric, rhetoricians use words like "arete" to refer to a person of power's character when speaking with one another.WEB,weblink - Find the Meanings and Definitions of Words at,, {{Div col}} {{Div col end}}

See also

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Further reading

  • Green, Jonathon. Dictionary of Jargon. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1987. {{ISBN|0-7100-9919-3}}.
  • Nash, Walter. Jargon: Its Uses and Abuses. Oxford: Blackwell, 1993. {{ISBN|0-631-18063-X}}.
  • 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

  • weblink" title="">The Jargon Wiki—A wiki based on The Jargon File.
  • Business Jargon—Business jargon and terminology
  • Jargonism—Business English dictionary for industry-specific jargon
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