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The Plain English Awards

December 11th, 2006 at 11:24pm

The Plain English Campaign’s Plain English Awards for 2006 have been announced.

The “Foot In Mouth” award for a baffling quote by a public figure has been awarded to British supermodel Naomi Campbell for a comment she reportedly made in June.

“I love England, especially the food. There’s nothing I like more than a lovely bowl of pasta.”

Past winners of the award include Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Gere, Alicia Silverstone and Tracey Emin.

Seven “Golden Bulls” have been awarded for gobledegook

Crafts Council of Ireland (CCOI) for a circular letter

The re-writing of the vocabulary of intemporal Irish heritage is a possible vector for submissions on the condition that this transposition is resolutely anchored in the 21st century through a contemporary lens that absolutely avoids drifting into the vernacular.

Germaine Greer for a column in the Guardian

The first attribute of the art object is that it creates a discontinuity between itself and the unsynthesised manifold.

Bury County Court – for a ‘General Form of Judgment or Order’

IT IS ORDERED THAT THE CLAIM BE ADJOURNED GENERALLY WITH PERMISSION TO THE CLAIMANT TO RESTORE TO THE LIST WITHOUT FORMAL APPLICATION NOT LATER THAN 16:00 HOURS ON THE 12TH SEPTEMBER 2006 WHEREUPON THE CLAIM DO STAND STRUCK OUT IF NOT SO RESTORED

Eastleigh Borough Council for a Notice given under the Building Act 1984

Hereby in accordance with the provision of the Building Act 1984, Section 32 declares that the said plans shall be of no effect and accordingly the said Act and the said Building Regulations shall as respects the proposed work have effect as if no plan had been deposited.

Wheale, Thomas, Hodgins plc for a job advertisement

Our client is a pan-European start-up leveraging current cutting edge I.P. (already specified) with an outstanding product/value solutions set. It is literally the right product, in the right place at the right time. by linking high-value disparate legacy systems to achieve connectivity between strategic partners/acquisition targets and/or disparate corporate divisions.
The opportunity exists to be the same (i.e. right person etc. etc) in a growth opportunity funded by private equity capital that hits the ‘sweet-spot’ in major cost driven European markets.

Fife Council for a letter about a change to bin collection dates

It has been brought to our attention that due to changes made to your grey household wastes bin collection dates within your new calendar. Your bin will be emptied week beginning the 20th March 2006, then next collection would not be until the week beginning the 10th April 2006. Thus having to wait 3 weeks for collection.

Therefore we are to provide a normal collection on your normal collection day, week starting the 3rd April and again on your new collection date, week starting the 10th April then there after every 2 weeks.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies for a website document description

While the literature on nonclassical measurement error traditionally relies on the availability of an auxiliary dataset containing correctly measured observations, this paper establishes that the availability of instruments enables the identification of a large class of nonclassical nonlinear errors-in-variables models with continuously distributed variables.

The “Good” awards saw plenty of winners as well, which is a good thing as the aim of the Campaign is to stamp out gobledegook in favour of plain english.

‘Plain English’ category (for the year’s clearest documents)

  • The Essential Business Guide Ltd for ‘The Essential Business Guide’
  • World Cancer Research Fund for ‘Breast awareness’ card . Helena Housing for ‘Resident’s Handbook’
  • The Department for Social Development for ‘Directory of services for older people’
  • ASDA for a product recall notice
  • National Osteoporosis Society for the ‘Living with osteoporosis’ guide

‘Inside Write’ category (for clear internal government documents – civil servants writing for other civil servants)

  • British Ministry of Defence for ‘Navy News’
  • UK Trade & Investment for ‘Our World’ magazine . Welsh Assembly Government for ‘Rules for Tables’
  • HM Revenue & Customs for ‘Chatterbox’ magazine . UK Visas for ‘Managing e-mail’
  • Department for Work and Pensions for ‘The DWP journey’ leaflet

Media Awards

  • Best National Newspaper: The Guardian
  • Best Regional Newspaper: Newcastle Evening Chronicle
  • Best National Radio Programme: The Jeremy Vine Show (BBC Radio 2)
  • Best Regional Radio Station: Pirate FM (Cornwall)
  • Best National Television Programme: This Week (BBC 1)
  • Best Regional Television Programme: X-Ray (BBC Wales)

Web Award (for the year’s clearest website)

Osborne Award (for services to plain English)

  • Harriet Harman MP

I had a couple entries in the awards, unfortunately they didn’t win, but they were fun to find and I mentioned them earlier in the year, but here they are again for your enjoyment. Firstly the good, in the Plain English Category is a fridge magnet from Actew Corporation and the ACT Government, explaining clearly and concisely the basics of the permanent water restrictions.
Water Restrictions Fridge Magnet

Secondly the bad, in the Foot In Mouth category, ACT Chief Turnip Jon Stanhope for this comment:

We cannot continue to sustain a government school system where there are, in the context of the level of expenditure, which we make or investment in education and maintain a school system at that level of under use.

Naturally there were plenty of other entries, Dave Smith shared some with us in July, and the Gobbledygook Of The Week page on the Plain English Campaign website has some more..

For more information about the Plain English Campaign, visit their website www.plainenglish.co.uk, or take a listen to the discussion I had with Dave on the first episode of Samuel’s Persiflage.

Samuel

Entry Filed under: General News

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3 Comments

  • 1. Samuel  |  December 12th, 2006 at 2:15 am

    Perhaps that should read “or have a listen” instead of “or take a listen”.

    I wonder why you can “take a look” or “have a look” but you have to “have a listen”? Have I broken some ancient cosmic law by suggesting that people “take a listen”?

    Yes, I should go to bed and get some sleep.

  • 2. penagate  |  December 22nd, 2006 at 2:38 am

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with “take a listen”. Certainly “have” does seem more popular, but either seem acceptable.

  • 3. penagate  |  December 22nd, 2006 at 2:40 am

    Excellent post, by the way.


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