From Robert Krulwich:
There are people (and I hear from them constantly) who think if a subject is sophisticated, like science, the language that describes it should be sophisticated, too.
If smart people say torque, ribosome, limbic, stochastic and kinase, then the rest of us should knuckle down, concentrate and figure out what those words mean. That’s how we’ll know when we’ve learned something: when we’ve mastered the technical words.
I beg to differ. Fancy words are nice if you’re feeling fancy. But suppose all you want to do is understand how something works. The technical vocabulary would let you talk to other technicians, but if you’re just exploring for yourself, if all you want to do is get comfortable with the complexity, you don’t need expert words; you need words that translate easily, words that make personal sense to you….
Here he gives an illustration of simple English … read it!
“Up Goer” — as in “rocket.” Nouns that we now think of as ordinary — cargo bay, capsule, lunar module — are Sesame-Streeted into aggressively lowbrow forms, and you know what? The innards of the rocket are suddenly clear, transparent. This works!
(Well, I think it does.)
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this is technical writing at its best. No fancy words. Nothing very “meta.” But accurate. Clear as a bell. Friendly. And effective. Journalism schools should make students go Deep Simple at least once a semester.