Baloney detection

January 17, 2013

Keir Thorpe tries to explain why administrators may resort to using jargon ("Another world's words", Opinion, 10 January). Jargon is used for two purposes: to aid communication of thought in fields with a body of knowledge by using terms from that body; and to hide the lack of thought in fields dominated by shifting opinion and fashion.

To discover which sort is being used, I suggest that we calculate average sentence length and the fraction of sentences that include a semicolon. In both cases, the larger the number, the more likely it is that the second form is being employed.

When determining sentence length, words such as "facilitate", "interplay" or "leverage" should be counted as five words.

Dave Kimber, St Neots, Cambridgeshire

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