Edwin Newman


Edwin Newman speaks about language. We have no hope of dealing with our problems except by chance unless we understand them, and we cannot understand them or one another unless we dig ourselves out from the jargon, the mush, the smog, the dull, pompous, boneless, gassy language under which we Americans have been burying ourselves. That may not seem to be as dramatic a challenge as some others that face the country. It may be thought not to be something by which a nation lives or dies, but in the long run, it is as pressing as any, and in the short run as well.

The worst affliction from which English now suffers is bloating. It has, unfortunately, become typical of American English that enough is almost never enough.

Language will change. Of course it will change. It is all being made much too complicated, and Newman states that a nation awash in jargon, pomposity, and opaque language on the one hand, and awash in semi-literacy on the other, is not healthy. It is damaging itself.

*This address was delivered in the spring of 1983 at Sacred Heart University as the Dr. William H. Conley Charter Day Lecture.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.