Taxonomy, tax avoidance and banned words

Banned words and secret tax documents make uneasy companions

Today’s Word of the Day, taxonomy, is hastily rescued from the ‘banned jargon list’ before it disappears.

The BBC site has an article about council leaders’ ‘banned list of the 200 worst uses of jargon’. A Plain English Campaign spokeswoman said: ‘Churchill and Einstein were both plain speakers and they did OK.’ So the theory or relativity is plain English, then? Odd, too, that quantum is on the ‘worst offenders’ list.

I console myself that my concerns about the loss of, inter alia, symposium and pathfinder may be misplaced. After all, the mighty Barclays Bank (have they banned apostrophes?) has been granted an injunction (councils note: ‘gagging order’ to be used in future) to remove documents about its tax affairs from the Guardian site. Only 127 people had, the paper reports, accessed the documents before they were removed at 2.30 am yesterday. Yet these same papers are now available elsewhere on the Internet in seconds by searching for something like ‘Barclays tax avoidance secret documents’ (though all references to this are immediately removed from the paper’s discussion threads, so don’t say I told you). So it looks as though ‘coterminosity’ will be at least as safe as a banker’s bonus.

Have a profitable and jargon-free day – even the taxonomists amongst you!