Long sentences, complex syntax, unintelligible language: Government language isn’t always what it should be. In New Zealand some MPs want to put an end to this. A bill to ban stupid words is currently being debated. Rep. Rachel Boyac, who introduced the proposal, said: “We need to communicate in a way that people can understand so that they don’t lose confidence.

The New Zealand Parliament is currently considering legislation to ban complex and bureaucratic sentence structures from government documents. This should force the government to communicate with the population only in simple and understandable language. This suggestion comes from her MP Rachel Boyack. “New Zealanders need to be able to understand what the government expects of them, what their rights are and what they are entitled to,” she says. words are usually useless.

of easy-to-understand bill, which has been freely translated as a law of plain language, states that government communications must be “clear, concise, well-structured and adapted to the public.” The proposal was put forward last September and has already come a long way in Congress. It has already been discussed twice across parliament, and it has already sparked lively debate.

Like a cloud over high valleys and hills I wandered alone When I suddenly saw a crowd A flock of golden daffodils, she quoted from one of his most famous poems. “In my solitude I wandered Like clouds floating over valleys and hills Suddenly I found a row of daffodils(Translated by Victor Bulthuis, ed.). “Beautiful,” according to Palette. “What he actually says: I didn’t feel well. I took a walk.Seeing so many beautiful daffodils made me really happyGood, classic Wordsworth. But it is the locus of a rich, less accessible language, not in government legislation, but in poetry and literature. “

‘People are losing confidence’

If the government communicates in a way that people don’t understand, people may disengage from the services there, said MP Boyac, who introduced the bill. , may be unable to fully participate in society.” The people she considers most vulnerable are those who speak English as a second language, those without higher education, those with disabilities, or elderly.

Good, classic Wordsworth. It’s a place of rich, less accessible language, not in government law, but in poetry and literature.

Congressman Sarah Palette

There is certainly room for improvement in government communications, says Lynda Harris of Write Limited, a Wellington company that advises other companies on using plain language. Each year Write Limited presents awards for accessible language, including the best transposition of an incomprehensible government language. “Bad writing isn’t just an aesthetic issue,” says Harris. “Often it’s about the most intimate and most important aspects of life: immigration status, divorce filing, benefits, housing, etc. When people reach out, they’re frustration, tears, fear, solving something.” I will explain my anger when I try to get it.”

“Extra effort without improving communication”

But not everyone is a fan of it easy-to-understand billOpposition parties argue, among other things, that it will further increase bureaucracy and government spending. Therefore, extra effort is required without improving communication with citizens. “I use very simple language,” said MP Chris Bishop. “This proposal is the stupidest proposal ever put before this Congress in this Congress. We are going to reject it.”

A majority of political parties say these efforts will eventually pay off. In the form of more accurate tax collection, call centers and government workers spend less time interacting with confused citizens and more trust in government.

I use very simple words. This proposal is the stupidest proposal put before this Congress this term.

Chris Bishop, MP

The question is whether it is possible to achieve all this with a simple statement. Either way, says Linda Harris, simple language is a boon to accountability and understanding. “Language is a vehicle, only a means to an end. Language should make it clear to people what happened, who was responsible, and what they could do.”

The New Zealand Parliament should vote on this proposal soon. So let’s continue.

Source: vrt


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