The Judge RANTS!
Crimes Against Language (#2)
I read a memo from a colleague today. I wish I hadn't. For there,
referring to the need to take action in reply to enquiries, was the
phrase "to respond in a timeous fashion".
I can only suppose that he had seen it in a memo from senior
management, or in one of those 'consultation documents': you know, the
ones where you can be certain that the decision has already been taken
before they 'consult'.
Management-speak is the curse of our age. Not simply because of
what it does to itself and those who use it (apparently with a straight
face), but because of the effect it has on those subjected to it. The
ambitious see it as a form of 'open sesame' - if they start to use it,
they reason, then it will show how au fait they are with the latest
trends in business leadership and thus boost their credentials for
preferment. What this does to the linguistic wing of their immortal
souls doesn't bear thinking about, but it does explain much about what
is wrong with modern management.
(*) Footnote: although this hideous word does not appear in the
Concise Oxford, it does rear its ugly head in Collins. It is 15th
Century Scottish in origin, although how much more of that dialect from
that period is familiar to management consultants and other parasites
on the world of work must remain, for the moment, a moot point.