The Long and Short of It

Maybe we’ve been too hard on the official language of the US government, commonly known as “gobbledygook.’

The Telegraph (UK) reports that a legislative body in Germany has repealed the country’s longest “authentic” word, Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz (click here for audio). It means (or meant) "law for the delegation of monitoring beef labeling," a definition that is shorter than the word itself, at least in English. Another report says it will be replaced by the phrase “Landesverordnung über die Zuständigkeiten für die Überwachung der Rind-und Kalbfleischetikettierung,” which I’m not sure is an actual improvement.

We work with a lot with USDA and Department of Energy grant programs and have seen our share of tongue twisters. The now-discarded German word, which The Telegraph says was commonly abbreviated as "RkReÜAÜG," did relate to food regulation, so we are hoping our friends at USDA don’t find out it’s available.

Fans of gobbledygook might want to try the “Gobbledygook Generator” created by the Plain English Campaign. At the mere click of a button you can generate gems like “Forward-looking companies invest in three-dimensional relative mobility” and “We need to cascade memos about our integrated administrative contingencies.”

I had so much fun playing around with the Gobbledygook Generator that I think I’ll use it to write my blogs from now on, if Toni will let me get away with it [Editor's Note: Nice try Brent.]. But until then, just remember, you really can't fail with total digital paradigm shifts, so we need to get on-message about our interactive logistical capability.

About the Author
Brent Morrison is the founding principal at Morrison. To get in touch with Brent, please find contact information for Morrison here.


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