Plain English Campaign

crystal.gif  “fighting for crystal clear communication since 1979”

Anyone who appreciates plain English will enjoy this site:
“Plain English Campaign officially began in 1979, after founder Chrissie Maher OBE publicly shredded hundreds of official documents in Parliament Square, London. Entirely independent, the campaign funds itself through its commercial services, which include editing and training. We have worked with thousands of organisations ranging from UK Government departments to World Bowls, helping them make sure their public information is as clear as possible.”

Awards presented annually:
Golden Bull (for the worst examples of written tripe)
Foot in Mouth (for baffling quotes by public figures)
Inside Write (internal government documents)
Media Awards (radio, television and newspapers)
Plain English (open category)
Plain English Web Award (websites)

Here are some examples:

Foot in Mouth 2007 Winner:
“This award, which we first gave in 1993, is for a baffling comment by a public figure. The 2007 winner of this award is the former England football manager, Steve McClaren, for the following comment he made to Radio 5 Live”:
“He (Wayne Rooney) is inexperienced, but he’s experienced in terms of what he’s been through.”

2007 second place winner:
George Bush, who said of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger: “All I can tell you is, when the governor calls, I answer his phone.”

Foot in Mouth 2006 winner:
Naomi Campbell for “I love England, especially the food. There’s nothing I like more than a lovely bowl of pasta.”

Foot in Mouth 2002 winner:
Actor Richard Gere who said: “I know who I am. No one else knows who I am. If I was a giraffe and somebody said I was a snake, I’d think ‘No, actually I am a giraffe.”

Gobbledygook of the week:
“Each week, we choose a piece of gobbledygook from the mountains we receive. Most, if not all, of the examples will be prime candidates for a Golden Bull award at the end of the year.”

Example, from 5 November – 9 November:
“We are currently experiencing an issue which is impacting the appearance of availability for some seller offerings.” [- from Amazon.co.uk] 

On the positive side, awards are given for the plainest Web site of the year.  Here is the 2007 winner, a support site for people affected by eating disorders.

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