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Stylized diagram of a person wrapped around a sword.

Advocacy, please

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I think plain language is awesome. I’m glad the movement is gaining momentum and that there are enthusiastic advocates out there trying to make plain language the default. And I’m excited to be learning more about how to improve my own plain language skills.

Stylized diagram of a person wrapped around a sword.

But I’m not so excited about the current of language shaming that undercuts plain language advocacy.

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International Plain Language Day

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October 13th is International Plain Language Day (IPLDay), a celebration of clear communication and the plain language movement. In Vancouver, we celebrated IPLDay a week early at Communication Convergence, a conference that brought together communicators from different fields for an afternoon of discussion. I’m fairly new to the concept of plain language, and throughout the afternoon I began to reflect on how it fits in with my role as a science communicator.

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Forget zombie nouns–watch out for vampire verbs

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I don’t often leave a six-hour seminar with more energy than when I came in, but if it’s six hours of language stuff, I’m pumped. This past Saturday the BC branch of the Editors’ Association of Canada hosted a workshop called Eight Step Editing, delivered by veteran editor and writer Jim Taylor, who developed the program in the 1980s. Jim has taught this process literally for as long as I’ve been alive, and I soaked up all the expertise I could. Eight Step Editing provides a framework for the editing process, a systematic way to approach editing that begins with making the fewest changes to the author’s words and becomes progressively more in-depth. I won’t go into the eight steps (you can find a good summary here), but I will share with you what got me so excited.

Read More »Forget zombie nouns–watch out for vampire verbs