People who think about such things estimate that at least 20 million Americans now speak, read, write or dream at least in part in Bureaucratese.
In metropolitan Washington more than two-thirds of the adults, and many children, communicate, output or interface in Bureaucratese, mixed with English.
Although not recognized as an official language-like French, Italian or Russian-Bureaucratese is spreading rapidly.Once a local dialect confined to the dwellers around the Potomac River (and some federal and military outposts of the United States), it has become a second language incommerce, the computer industry and among lawyers everywhere.
Unlike most other languages, not everyone who speaks, reads or writes Bureaucratese actually understands it. Anyone who has ever received a government report, filled out a federal form, or asked for an explanation of the form will agree that Bureaucratese is easier said that understood.
The growth of government, its dynamic interaction with various segments of the population and the socio-economic impact through maximum verbalization has served, in a short time frame, to conceptualize and optimize the usage of Bureaucratese.
Now that so many people speak and use Bureaucratese, one segment of the government is working up a dictionary to help users figure out what they are saying. That brave place is the public affairs office of the federal Food and Drug Administration. It is working up a "now dictionary" of buzz words.
So far, the FDA staff has come up with the following definitions for favorite words phrases in Bureaucratese. Test you knowledge:
INFRASTRUCTURE-(a) the structure within an infra; (b) the structure outside an infra; (c) , a building with built-in infras.
MEANINGFUL-(a) opposite of meaningless, (b) the same as full of meaning; (c) when used as 'meaningful relationship,' it is what used to be called being in love (archaic).
IN DEPTH-(a) opposite of shallowness; (b) opposite of out of dept; (c) should always be used before words such as 'study, review, analysis and research'. so that readers will think that you didn't do a quick and dirty job."
PRIORIIZE-(a) giving priority to priority; (b) putting the horse before the cart; (c) establishing a new order.
SOFTWARE-(a) underthings for babes and babies (c) Pablum for computers; (c) ware that lacks wearing durability.
In coming months, the FDA office promises to come up with definitions for such things as multi-discipline, job enrichment, throughput, in-house, socio-economic, team-building, implement and resources. If you know what any of them mean, write the government immediately so it can complete its dictionary so those of us who speak and write Bureaucratese can figure out what we have been saving all along. Who knows? It may be brilliant.