JS Tip 273: Examining Real-world Gobbledygook

Tips from Jefferson Smith Training and Consulting

** From the Writing Workshops: Examining Real-world Gobbledygook

The Example

As we were putting together a recent writing workshop, we found this example: Bruffee’s basic positioning of collaboration as a natural extension of social turn epistemology has largely remained unquestioned, which is to say the conceptualization of collaboration as an enactment of conversation remains the primary metaphor for understanding what collaboration is and does, especially as it applies to the teaching of writing.

This is crazy.

The text is from the May, 2014, issue of College English. The writer has a Ph.D. and teaches English at a major university.

One sentence.

Fifty words.

Fifteen long words.

A Fog Index of thirty-two. Unreadable.

We think it says—

“Writing is easier if you work as a team.”

Or “You learn to collaborate by collaborating.” But we’re not sure.

The Questions

Is there ever an occasion when you’d write at such a level? When anyone should write at this level? Is there ever an audience that requires such a level? Is there ever a subject that requires such a level?

What are your thoughts?

What are your questions? Let us know. We love this stuff.

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