Weather bureau scraps vague wording in forecasts: patchy, isolated, widespread to go

Weather bureau scraps vague wording in forecasts; patchy, isolated, widespread to go
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PHOTO The weather bureau has vowed to clarify exactly when people should pack an umbrella.
“A chance of scattered showers” is a report Australians have become well accustomed to over the years.

But it will soon be a thing of the past, with the Bureau of Meteorology ruling such forecasts too ambiguous. Continue reading

Dealing with a e-snub

Dealing with an e-snub

March 18, 2014

Nigel Bowen
What should you do when someone suddenly stops responding to your emails?
Danial Ahchow
Danial Ahchow: structure emails like a business proposal.
Hot on the heels of “phubbing”, when people play with their smartphones and ignore those around them, there’s a new passive-aggressive cyber phenomenon called “e-snubbing”.

E-snubbing occurs when one party unilaterally and without explanation decides to pull the plug on a business relationship that is conducted mainly or exclusively online. It seems to have reached epidemic proportions, raising the question of how to avoid experiencing it in the first place and how to best respond when it does happen. Continue reading

Practice Essay: formal language and social harmony

Practice Essay- Section C
Write a sustained expository response. 700-800 words

a. ‘Extra-Visibility or Emphasis on Difference: In many contexts it is quite unnecessary to mention a person’s sex, race, ethnic background or other characteristics, yet such characteristics are often mentioned even at the expense of information that would have benn more relevant to the context. This is particularly true for members of minority groups. Unnecessary references of this nature should be avoided.’
Inclusive Language Policy, University of Western Sydney
b. When people talk, they lay lines on each other, do a lot of role playing, sidestep, shilly-shally and engage in all manner of vagueness and innuendo. We do this an expect others to do it, yet at the same time we profess to long for the plain truth, for people to say what they mean, simple as that. Such hypocrisy is a human universal.’
Steven Pinker, ‘Words Don’t Mean What They Mean’, Time, 6 September 2007
c. ‘(M)odern writing at its worst does not consist in picking out words for the sake of their meaning an inventing images in order to make the meaning clearer. It consists in gumming together long strips of words which have already been set in order by someone else, and making the results presentable by sheer humbug.’
George Orwell, Politics and the English language, Horizon, April 1946
d. ‘It’s an uphill battle to get broadcasters to recognise and avoid bureaucratese, jargon, clichés and sheer pomposity. Media releases are often the source of such language but reporters who use them should weed out and replace any stilted or unidiomatic expressions that they wouldn’t normally use themselves…A politician may say, “We expect to see more ships going in and out of Sydney harbour going forward.” But journalists should be aware of how silly this cliché can make them sound, and realise that it’s redundant anyway.’
Irene Poinkin, ‘SCOSE notes’, Australian Style, April 2009

Formal language can both promote and prevent social harmony. Discuss, referring to at least two subsystems of language in your response.
This essay is a sample from Insight Publications, 2013

Formal Language and context

The importance of judging context was made very obvious when during the Royal Commission  into Child Sexual Abuse, Archbishop Hart used the phrase ‘better late than never’. Cardinal George Pell said the actions of the church in preventing abuse were ‘less than perfect’. What was wrong with this language use?