The other day I came across an article about Elon Musk and Richard Branson who mentioned about the use of jargons in their company. Jargons among the scholarly community is a matter of privilege, well of course it should be, we spend most of our childhood developing vocabulary and then the GRE test made sure that I memorized the 3000 words. When I was preparing for my test, I used to wonder where am I going to use all these words!!! Some of them were not used (according to google) in the last 5 decades, yet, I was going to be penalized for not knowing that “I’m agog” means “I’m super excited”.
After I came to grad school, what I realized is, the vocabulary of Jargons is surely helpful when I read technical literature but definitely not when I go out on lunch with a fellow grad student. The point is, its really interesting to see how a good vocabulary helps and could also make me the weirdo in the group sometimes.
I’ve had a few faculty members who were known for their extreme vocabulary. He would talk some words which none of us in class would understand and when we would visit him during office hours to clarify doubts, he would use his list of words to confuse us even more. What happened is, we lost faith in his teaching and within the first three weeks, no student would approach him to clarify doubts. He was irked by this attitude and would accuse us of not making use of the office hours but would never attempt to look at it from our perspective.
I think this is a serious issue that happens in various situations of life. Some would like to boast their skills with the biggest of words and leave out the whole idea of communication i.e. transferring an idea with feedback.
Do let me know what you think: do big words matter?