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Jargon

Ideally, the purpose of jargon would be to enable professionals to develop a language that they can use in order to talk about relevant subjects with an adequate level of detail and rigor. For example, professionals use jargon in their CVs to increase career marketing. What can happen sometimes, though, is that the jargon merely serves the purpose of keeping outsiders from understanding specialized knowledge, even when that knowledge could be expressed in a more generic way. It is thus important to only use jargon when necessary. 

Jargon - Buzzwords in action

The chances are that you have been annoyed by people talking in jargon. Jargon refers to the specialized language that is used by a given professional group and is specific to them. The term jargon usually implies that the language being used by the group would not be readily understandable to "outsiders" who lack the relevant training. 

Using the term in professional documents

In order to help you better understand the meaning of jargon, here are some examples of the term being used correctly within the sentences. 

"The philosophy student began to seriously wonder whether all the jargon in the supposedly great works was really necessary, or whether many philosophers were just bad writers who were ineffective at communication." 

"The professional group insisted that the jargon was necessary in order for them to talk about difficult and specialized concepts, and that popularizing the language would result in a falsification of the concepts."

"Although the jargon was initially daunting, the law student gradually learned the language, and soon he was speaking like a trained professional himself." 

In case you still need further clarification of the meaning of the term jargon, here are a couple basic rules you can follow when using it. 

  1. Jargon implies that only a select group of people understand the language in question; and this is because learning the language requires specialized training. The term jargon is often associated with professional groups, although it could perhaps also be used to refer to the unique way of speaking within (for example) a microculture or even a group of friends.
  2. Jargon often carries a mild negative connotation, due to the fact that if the specialized language is not actually necessary for effective communication, then this would essentially mean that professionals are excluding the "masses" for no meaningful reason. This is especially an issue with the humanities, including subjects such as philosophy and social theory.

Roots in social behavior

The roots of jargon can perhaps be traced to the psychology of human social behavior. People have an inherent tendency both to group together with others who share their interests and to develop distinctions between the ingroup and the outgroup within any given social context. In this context, jargon can develop naturally as one group of people explore interests that are not salient to other groups; and it can also serve as a kind of status marker of who actually does or does not belong to the given group. 

In addition, the increasing division of labor that has characterized capitalist society has likely also played a role in the development of jargon. This is because insofar as all people were more or less responsible for fulfilling all the tasks of living, it would have been necessary for all people to also be able to understand each other in a relatively easy way. Today, though, outsiders don't really need to understand what the lawyer or scientist does; if anything, they are primarily just concerned about results, which can be communicated in a relatively popularized way. The result of this growth of jargon is that different people are perhaps living in their own unique versions of reality to a much greater extent than they realize.

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