Plain Language

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Critical reflection on plain language advocacy

Welcome plain language!

We welcome plain language’s recently proposed changes.Clarity 79 2018 Many of you will know that I have been a long-standing persistent (and sometimes irritating) critic of routine […]

Plain English Stories

Editor’s note: Plain language advocates and consultants, like many other communication consultants, make claims for the effectiveness of what they do without necessarily offering any evidence. This was the […]

Plain English: the getting of wisdom

Originally published in Communication News 9(3) May/June 1996

In 1994 the University of Sydney’s Centres for Plain Legal Language and Microeconomic Policy Analysis jointly published a discussion paper on the […]

What’s wrong with the term ‘plain language’ (PL)?

Put plainly, it’s misleading. Sometime back in the 1960s those of us who had read Orwell’s seminal essay on ‘Politics and the English Language’, and Ernest Gower’s little book on ‘Plain Words’ realised that not all was well with the way business and government used language in their communications with the public. The answer, or so it seemed at the time, was to reform the language used by large organizations in their dealings with the public.


If I thought it would do any good, I would advocate that every so-called 'plain language' document should have a warning. WARNING! THIS DOCUMENT CAN MISLEAD

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