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Last updated at 12:54 GMT, Thursday, 25 March 2010

News Words: News jargon

BBC journalist on camera

BBC journalist Kate Adie

The BBC's Clare Arthurs looks at some of the jargon often used in the news and news reporting.


Clare Arthurs on: news jargon

Related vocabulary


special words and phrases that are used and understood by people who work in a particular job but are often confusing for others


a style of language used by journalists


very informal words and expressions used in everyday situations

A challenge for you

Do you work in a profession that has a lot of jargon? Do you think jargon is useful or just confusing?

Send us your short 'news story' on this topic and try to use some of the vocabulary from this page.

We'll publish our favourites on this page.

This topic has now closed. Thanks for all your comments.

Janz, Pakistan
I have been working in a garments manufacturing company. I was appointed in the sample dept. as an assistant pattern master. All my co-workers usually speak in slang language which is quite ordinary. Jargons are a must in our working environment. It help us to cut the long story short. Using jargon creates an understanding between co-workers. We don't feel any want of communicate in journalese because our work is very different as compare to journalism.

Sokunthy, Cambodia
In Cambodia, we speak Khmer language and of course Khmer people have their own slangs and jargons in different regions. Therefore, it is very importatnt that we are careful to be aware of where, what and how to make communication with them effectively, especially for rulral extension, training and teaching as part of community dvelopment otherwise the contents of our messages would not be understood.

Abd, Nigeria
I am a student in one the reputable polytechnic in Nigeria,the term jagon make communication so easy among people of the same geographical location,according to my own point of veiw,jagon is the most easiest way of expression among Nigeria youth. Thanks

A M, Afghanistan
I am working in one of the telecommunacation company as a translator in Kabul,from my point of view learning of jorgon in releated field is most important because it can safe our valubale time and can run our daily work and task very propersly .

I'm working in a bank bruch and we are always using journalese when we're talking with our clinets e.g we're using the word 'mars number',mars means customer research system,In my opinion we must be careful when we re talking or telling an finance product to our clients because sometimes they have an intersting face shape like not to understand us so we can't sell our product them and most important we can't have good relation with them.

Lyuba, Russia
I work in Human Resources Department and my colleages and I use a lot of jargon. I believe that using jargon helps us to communicate more quikly and more efficiently. Also when you use the jargon words you feel yourself as a part of a teem which has its own language. I like it very much! My opinion is that slang and jargon makes people more closer to each other.

Tímea, Hungary
In any workplaces the jargon usage is fated. After picking up them everyone sees that using those phrases makes the work easier and more interesting.

Joyce, Taiwan
I've learned biomedical science for a while as a beginner in this field. some technical words are often confusing when I first heard. such as " SNP", "in situ hybridization", "RFLP" etc.,... It is better to ask some professionals when you get confused. It should be necessary to learn jargons in some special research or work field. For a rookie,it will be difficult to understand although you will soon pick it up!

Nowadays, using jargons plays an important role in all spheres of social activities everywhere such as on air, on the telephone. We use jargons not only to communicate easily and effectively but also to make it unintelligible to outsiders if necessary. For example,I often use technical terms such as BIOS (basic input/output system), NAK (Negative Acknowledgment) when I say to my colleagues and it's very convenient despite the fact that those terms don't make beginners on the ball. I, therefore, appreciate the vital role of jargons in daily life.

Hoaithuong, Vietnam
I'm working as a teacher of English, and I usually use jargon or journalese when discussing with my colleagues.Doing so help me save a lot of time in presenting my own ideas and focus my listeners much more on what I'm talking.The only thing is that we should decide whether to use such kind of jargon or journalese or not when you are working with specific partner.Otherwise, this can make your partner confused a little bit about what you mean.

Raul, Spain
I'm engineer and in my profession we have a lot of jargon. This jargon is a group of words only undestanded by engineers, but we use them everyday. To other people is difficult and just confusing to understand us when we use engineers' jargon.I think there is a lot of jargon in each profession. For example, a lawyer uses a lot of words just confusing for my, but he usually uses every day.

Leena, Finland
I am working with music - I teach classical singing. When I work with professinals I can use as much jargon as I like, and it is because jargon is almost the mother language for musicians. The music therminology is in italian and you have to use a number of expressions in some kind of "code language" to explain the secrets of music to a pupil, but of course you have to "translate" those expressions to the "normal" language first, especially when working with beginners. But using jargon is the only way to make musical stuff understandable and exact.

Beyhan, Turkey
I studied medicine. Medicine has a very special jargon of its own. Many words which come from latin. And in Turkey we are not familiar with LAtin language. So for medical students it is very difficult to learn the medical terms. But once we learn it than it is very difficult to avoid them. İt makes communication easier as you talk with your colleagues. But it makes communication imposible when youare explaining something to a patient. So doctors should aviod medical jargon, to get close to the patients, and try not to distance themselves by using strange medical terms.

Sombut A, Thailand
The jargon is useful for the people who already known the meaning of that words as it can shorten time to describe something that each other already known. For me, News should only contains the words that easy to understand. Jargon should be removed out as it can let people misunderstand of the jargon meaning

Pham Xuan Phi, Vietnam
As a student in Falculty of Engineering, there are a lot of jargons I have to use in my university as well as in my work. As my point of view, using jargons brings me and my colleages none of difficulties, otherwise, it's more convenient and save a significant amount of time when making conversation. That means it is very useful at work definitely. Jargons that we use seem to be not common in daily life. "Dam

Kamlesh Kumar Saklani, India.
My on air experience is nil.The news will be on the airs in few seconds.Jargon is gibberish meaningless talk. What I am doing is just jargonising my writing. Babble, gabble, twaddle are synonyms of jargon. Suppose if everyone starts jargonising the language then imagine what will be the result.Is journalese only for journalists?Slang is an expression used to express nonn standard English.

Tienhoa, Vietnam
It is difficult to say using jargon is good or not good while working in the office or covering the news. In the one hand, the jargon allows those who are in the same professional to be easy to understand each other and save time because it is a form of abbreviation. On the other hand, it causes difficulty and confusion for those working for various professionals. In my opinion, it is necessary to use the jargon or slang only working or discussing with colleagues. In contrast, reporting the news should avoid using those words because audiences and readers come from different professionals.

Seble, Ethiopia
i graduate in procurement and i work as an intern.currently,i am taking English language class to improve my language skill and every day i visit your web site to know more.when i came to the point in the organization which i work for use a lot of abbreviation especially those who work in SLT(strategic team leaders). the team sent different letter & memo with a lot of abbrevations in it. this was very difficult for me to understand.

Lu, China
As an electrical engineer, I came across lots of Jargons in daily work. It was hard to pick them up as a new starter but later I found the communication became efficient by using jargons, especially in an emergent situation!Some jargons are really funny though, for example, a department called themselves "DAD" !(data acquisition department)

Abdul, United Kindom
Today, the jargon is use in almost all the professions. It is the language which is used and understand by a selected group of people. These are shorthand ideas that are discussed between the members of a profession. For instance,RAM in computing, TDS in medicine etc. This can be useful for the members of profession or who are related to that group. For example, in media, a lot of jargon used. The professional can easily understand that and also people regular viewers and listeners can understand as well.However, in many cases it can be difficult to understand for many who are not related to that profession and it is confusing for them. It is hard to understand for beginners and can becomes easy to understand as with time passes. However, the jargon should not be confusing and should be understandable with some considerations.

Ibrahim Kwarteng, Ghana
In Ghana the expression,"in the pipeline" has suddenly become the toast of journalists and senior goverment officials.For govermrnt officials,projects that will never see the light of day are said to be 'in the pipeline to give a sense of hope to the ignorant'.

Bamigboye Ilesanmi Timothy, Nigeria.
The use of jargon or terminology is very crucial 4 those professional, bt only those in dat field can have d knowledge of dat particular jargon.

Jose Daniel, Venezuela
Nowadays the information about different issues is so important for everyone, accordingly with that you seeing many specialist means in news around the world and in a lot of matters. CNN, BBC are some ones out. They have news services, with it you have knowledge of the critical situation in Middle East, terrorist and nuclear threat, drug trafficking situation in Mexico, approval of Low new health services in USA, The economic crisis, Google situation in China, etc, Inside in that news process are be many people like Reporters, Editors, Journalist and Correspondents who use a specialized language which sometime is difficult understanding for us, specially economic, health, politic, lows, investment, etc, this languages are jargon and journalese.I remember an interview in CNN with some representative of World Bank, I not understood that. It was a terrible experience for me. Same situation append when your read some magazines like The Ecomonic, America Economica, etc.

Jiyoung, South Korea
I work for an electronic R&D company as a software engineer. We use lots of jargons related with communication system or computer programming. Usually, those jargons are using as an abbreviation form such as CDMA, GSM, mem(memory), msg(message), GC(graphic context) and win(window). Also, we have special jargons for action or procedure. For beginner, just understanding terms that we use is tough work in my area.


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