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to think this level of dumbing down has to be a joke?

(58 Posts)
mayorquimby Mon 03-Nov-08 14:01:40

in a nut shell, a number of local councils want to ban their staff from using latin terms because it might confuse people.
Now i'm not talking about quoting the republic but simple terms like "vice versa" "QED" or the abbreviation "e.g.".
i mean FFS surely this is just pandering to morons.

DaddyJ Mon 03-Nov-08 14:02:55

O tempora o morons!

TheArmadillo Mon 03-Nov-08 14:07:58

you would not believe what confuses people.


There are many out there who lack even basic skills. Who are not even functionally literate.

Councils need to make their services accessible to everyone. Many find their documents/letters etc hard enough to understand as it is.

They have to balance it with the legal stuff they have to put in and how letters/notifications have to be put in a certain way.

Well done you for understanding them hmm

many can't.

mayorquimby Mon 03-Nov-08 14:12:04

ok fair enough it might seem insensitive but it just seems ridiculous and it must be some indictment of the education system. surely as this stage these words/phrases are a part of the english language. i mean there must be lots of words that these same people don't understand that are english/more modern but you don't ban them from use simply because they are polysyllabic.

rebelmum1 Mon 03-Nov-08 14:14:52

Too much power, too many bureaucrats! Sack them and give me my tax back please!

rebelmum1 Mon 03-Nov-08 14:15:34

Seriously, do we really have to pay for these morons?

TotalChaos Mon 03-Nov-08 14:16:24

when they rewrote the civil procedure rules for civil courts several year back, one of the aims was to get rid of latin terms. so it's not just councils that are doing this! It's a shame where the latin term expresses things far more neatly than the new term, but I think plain english should be used whereever possible, for the reasons state by Armadillo.

rebelmum1 Mon 03-Nov-08 14:16:35

How can they be thinking about this and the cost and man/woman/animal/vegetable power of implementing this when there is a financial crisis?

Callisto Mon 03-Nov-08 14:17:17

Agree with MayorQuimby - why is it all about catering for the lowest common denominator? It becomes self-perpetuating and the nation just gets more and more stupid.

TheArmadillo Mon 03-Nov-08 14:17:31

I understand that, and if people were trying to stop their use altogether I would understand.

But one of the most common reasons people visit their council is because they don't understand the correspondance that has been sent. There are legal standards that cover what has to be put in and the way it is phrased and unfortunately councils can't change that. But what many try to do is make the rest as simple as possible so it does it's job in communicating what people need to know.

It's primary function is as a method of communication - therefore it does need to be understood by all, even those that you refer to as 'morons'.

With councils you don't have a choice in who you deal with, or selecting what kind of customers you like by only appealing to them. You have to cover all bases.

I feel the anger would be better directed at the govt and education system that so many don't know these, rather than the council who are having to deal with the situation as it is.

rebelmum1 Mon 03-Nov-08 14:17:42

I don't agree latin is part of our linguistic heritage, they should still be teaching it not eradicating it.

Callisto Mon 03-Nov-08 14:19:13

Also agree with Rebel - sack the bureaucrats and put the money saved into teaching basic levels of literacy.

rebelmum1 Mon 03-Nov-08 14:19:51

Is there a single example of someone not undertstanding a smattering of latin that was to their detriment? I could understand it if it was roadsigns we were talking about ..

TheArmadillo Mon 03-Nov-08 14:20:28

rebelmum - I assume the idea is to save costs, by reducing the amount of money spent on providing services that explain to people what these terms mean.

You can't just send something and say 'tough shit if you don't understand'.

Some do, I know, but it's not exactly good practice.

And what about those who need this - many of them are spending their taxes on this as well. How many of them could complain about spending their taxes on the council that sends stuff they can't even understand.

Callisto Mon 03-Nov-08 14:21:52

I can see where you're coming from Armadillo, but surely it is relatively easy to explain the meaning of 'per se' for eg? Especially when it is read in context?

rebelmum1 Mon 03-Nov-08 14:23:32

What services are there explaining what a smattering of latin means? I bet there isn't a single person who has requested an explanation..

rebelmum1 Mon 03-Nov-08 14:24:26

If the don't get what eg means then I reckon they wont get the rest of the document..

KatieDD Mon 03-Nov-08 14:25:41

Somebody I know who works at the Inland Revenue told me that the average reading age of somebody claiming tax credits is 7 year old.
When you put it into that contex you can see why everything has to be as clear as possible in government departments because in law ignorance is not a defence and yet clearly for some it would be.

mayorquimby Mon 03-Nov-08 14:25:42

"It's primary function is as a method of communication - therefore it does need to be understood by all, even those that you refer to as 'morons'."

and that's fair enough.but how could anyone who is of an age to be dealing with the council have made it through life without understanding the term "vice versa" as i said this isn't complex or even semi-complex terms that i could understand passing people by "actus reus" or "mens rea" but simple terms that have been a part of the english language for a long time just makes the movie "idiocracy" look like a prophecy rather than a comedy as we constantly dumb things down to the lowest common denominator and it seems to perpetuate itself.

and i fully reserve the right to refer to anyone as a moron who would make the following mistake. "A Campaign spokesman said the ban might stop people confusing the Latin abbreviation e.g. with the word "egg". "

Cupofteaplease Mon 03-Nov-08 14:26:23

I read the article and had to laugh...

It will prevent people possibly confusing e.g. with 'egg'... now I'm sorry but, has this EVER happened? To anyone? And if it has, would they not be too embarrassed to admit it?!

Callisto Mon 03-Nov-08 14:26:39

Ha, meant 'per se' for example, not 'per se' or 'eg'. grin.

Now can you see how confusing it gets?

rebelmum1 Mon 03-Nov-08 14:27:42

Why would you be asked to give an egg?

rebelmum1 Mon 03-Nov-08 14:28:21

Have they been deluged with eggs at the council office?

rebelmum1 Mon 03-Nov-08 14:28:45

lol grin

Callisto Mon 03-Nov-08 14:28:49

Maybe they think it is the polite version of giving a fuck?

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