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November 16th, 2008:

UK Councils Bans Foreign Words

The BBC has just ran a story about some local councils banning the use of Latin words [^] and phrases in official communications.  Terms that have been banned include: “vice versa”, “pro rata”, “via”, and “ad hoc”. 

Latin Manuscript

Latin Manuscript

The directive is aimed at improving clarity for people whose are not native English speakers, with councils claiming that the use of Latin words is “elitist and discriminatory”.  It should be noted that many of these words have no simple equivalent in the English language.  Try replacing pro rata or ad hoc in a sentence concisely and without reducing the clarity of the message!

An award should be presented to the Plain English Campaign for the most ridiculous comment on the matter: the ban might stop people confusing the Latin abbreviation e.g. with the word “egg”.

Image Credit:  Elaine Kerr [^]