Subjects — J

Jargon Quotations

Jargon: any technical language we do not understand.

Jargon is the verbal sleight of hand that makes the old hat seem newly fashionable; it gives an air of novelty and specious profundity to ideas that, if stated directly, would seem superficial, stale, frivolous, or false. The line between serious and spurious scholarship is an easy one to blur, with jargon on your side.

If figures of speech based on sports and fornication were suddenly banned, American corporate communication would be reduced to pure mathematics.

Psychobabble is … a set of repetitive verbal formalities that kills off the very spontaneity, candor, and understanding it pretends to promote. It’s an idiom that reduces psychological insight to a collection of standardized observations, that provides a frozen lexicon to deal with an infinite variety of problems.

People do acquire a little brief authority by equipping themselves with jargon: they can pontificate and air a superficial expertise. But what we should ask of educated mathematicians is not what they can speechify about, nor even what they know about the existing corpus of mathematical knowledge, but rather what can they now do with their learning and whether they can actually solve mathematical problems arising in practice. In short, we look for deeds not words.