The First Journalese-English Dictionary

I know, some people think that the words journalist and blogger should never be placed in the same sentence – unless they are being contrasted. Then again, I am not some people, and I do believe that these two groups of people do not have to be necessarily mutually exclusive. In any case, I ran across the first ever Journalese-English Dictionary online, something which aims to point out clichés that tend to be used by journalists. The idea of the author (Graeme) is to make writers aware of how tempting it is to use these words which are “lazy clichés that have little or no relation to the way people speak in real life.”

I found it interesting, I will say that much. I have to say, however, that some words presented in the dictionary could be used – and are being used! – in real life. Then again, maybe I am just too lazy and make use of some of the words in the list too often.

Quite obviously, the list is too long to list but here are a couple of my favorites.

QUIZZED: asked some questions.
As in: “Man quizzed by murder detectives.” BBC Online, January 2.
As it would never be said in real life: “Sorry I’m late, dear – I was being quizzed by my boss over that report I wrote.”

My take: I have heard this word used in real life so many times.

FRACAS: a fight.
As in: “Three men were arrested last week after a fracas that resulted in a police officer being arrested.” – Foster’s Daily Democrat, February 21.
As it would never be said in real life: “Look over there – there’s a fracas.”

My take: Yup, I don’t think I have heard this word used in a normal conversation.

Trust me, there are tons of other words in the list – you might want to look through it yourself.

Originally posted on April 15, 2008 @ 4:26 pm