Precise Language and Political Language

Kurt at Cultural Offering comments on a piece on the Economist’s Lexington blog.

The article contrasts the use of language by Democrats and Republicans in the US, despairing of politics’ general blurring and abuse of language and reflecting on recent research that the Democrats have a tendency to use loose, imprecise language whereas Republicans are more successful with simpler, more concrete terms.

I’ve just recently finished Frank Luntz’s Words That Work.  Luntz has spent many years working in US politics (particularly with the Republicans).  He specialises in market-testing words and phrases to develop a lexicon of “words that work” for a particular context.  Fascinating insight into the effective use of language and the scientist in me loves it.

Another side of me sees individual words exploited relentlessly until they become as meaningless as an exhausted gold mine.  I suspect that once, long long ago “mission statement” actually had a meaning.  I fear now for “innovation” and “casual elegance”.


About Andrew Munro

An independent business consultant, interim manager and writer, Andrew operates through his company, Burning Pine Ltd (
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