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Plain English Movement - Term Paper Example

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Plain English Movement Dear Ms. Allen, I thank you for writing to me and enquiring about plain English. I can understand your curiosity to know about the new movement that is going on for quite some time on the issue of using plain English in our formal and informal communication needs…
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Download file to see previous pages Some of the features that differentiate plain language document from traditional ones are: properly organized format, effective wordings, and simple sentences. Plain English (PE) offers several advantages to us over traditional form of English. PE gives information to the readers in the form that is easy for them to understand. It uses straight small sentences and commonly understood words. The core objective is to communicate with clarity and precision. The communication has been a necessity ever since people came on this planet. Hundreds of languages evolved over time for the needs of communication across different parts of the world. Many languages died down for the varied reasons. One of the prime reasons for the death of some of the established languages has been its complexities that are difficult to grasp by the masses. Sanskrit, the ancient language of India and the mother of more than 20 current Indian languages, is a glaring example that proves my point. The language died on its own and gave birth to several modern Indian languages. The question may come to our minds that why so it happened? The reasons are not far and wide. People naturally tend to choose a language for communication that is easy, simple, straight and concise. Precisely for these reasons, language naturally evolves over time to meet above criteria. Compare the Shakespearean English with the English that evolved during last century. Nobody prefers to speak and write in the classic style of English now, which was in vogue during a few centuries back. The phenomena still continues and the English is still evolving for people neither have time nor an inclination to read long complex sentences. It is a common experience that given the long sentences quite often we need to read them twice or more to extract the gist. If the same sentences are broken into smaller versions then those can be understood in less time and efforts. The term plain language was first used in the US in the early 1950s. In 1998, Bill Clinton issued a memorandum to the heads of executive departments and agencies asking them to use plain language in government Writing. The objective was to make government more responsive and understandable in its communication to the public. He clearly stated that plain language saves time, effort and money. He informed that plain language informs public with clarity that what the government is doing. Plain language texts have simple everyday words except necessary technical words, the active voice and short sentences. Kimble, Joseph (2005) has been highly critical of federal statutes drafting which just does not serve the purpose for which they have been made. Currently, PE is used by many Federal departments and agencies use plain language in their communication with public. Some of them are Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Federal Register, Health and Human Services (HHS), Veteran’s Benefits Administration (VBA), National Institutes of Health (NIH). Not only government but private sector also is taking deep interest in spreading plain language. The countries such as UK, Canada, and Australia are also taking keen interest in plain language implementation programs. The stark differences between PE document and traditional business documents are clarity, understandability, conciseness in conveying the information without beating around the bush. Common people are able to grasp the information at their level without taking help from others. Plain Language ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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