Are our vocabularies shrinking? Is bureaucratic double-talk a sinister form of code designed to short-circuit original thought?

Author Don Watson thinks so, and explains why in his latest book Worst Words. But how does his view stack up to language science?

Don Watson goes head to head with linguist Daniel Midgley on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with Kylie Sturgess


Show notes

UNESCO: International Mother Language Day
http://www.unesco.org/new/en/unesco/events/prizes-and-celebrations/celebrations/international-days/international-mother-language-day-2016/

Language in school: If you don’t understand, how can you learn
https://efareport.wordpress.com/2016/02/19/language-in-school-if-you-dont-understand-how-can-you-learn/

‘40% have no access to education in own language’
http://en.prothom-alo.com/international/news/95665/‘40%25-have-no-access-to-education-in-own-language’

Aboriginal minister Bess Price denied request to speak Indigenous language in NT Parliament
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-18/nt-warlpiri-minister-denied-request-to-speak-indigenous-language/7178298

Minister Chastised For Speaking Indigenous Language On Indigenous Land.
http://www.sbs.com.au/comedy/article/2016/02/19/minister-chastised-speaking-indigenous-language-indigenous-land

Worst Words: A compendium of contemporary cant, gibberish and jargon
http://www.randomhouse.com.au/books/don-watson/watsons-word-wisdom-9780857983442.aspx

Don Watson on the warpath against Worst Words
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/review/don-watson-on-the-warpath-against-worst-words/news-story/3d997f3c60acfd8fd69aa8e65236a08d

Worst Words review: Don Watson fires up on howlers, expressions and bad language
http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/books/worst-words-review-don-watson-fires-up-on-howlers-expressions-and-bad-language-20151207-glh17i.html

Late Night Live: Don Watson’s worst words
http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/latenightlive/don/6948354

Etymonline: attrit
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=attrit

Does the average American student have less vocabulary today than in days gone by?
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2724/does-the-average-american-student-have-less-vocabulary-today-than-in-days-gone-by

Vocabulary Test Results Show Top U.S. Students Losing Ground, Others Stagnate
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/06/vocabulary-test-results-us_n_2249647.html

Fast-growing tumbleweed called hairy panic blows into Australian city
http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/feb/18/fast-growing-tumbleweed-called-hairy-panic-blows-into-australian-city

Comment: Are ‘frolleagues’ replacing our friends?
http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/02/18/comment-are-frolleagues-replacing-our-friends

Urban Dictionary: frolleague
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=frolleague

Groucho Marx: “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/g/grouchomar146422.html

From Monica: Copywriting Fundamentals: How to Write in Plain English
http://thecopycollective.com/copywriting-fundamentals-how-to-write-in-plain-english/


Show tunes

Find the tracks we play on the RTRFM webpage for this episode.