Speaking English or Some Other Private Language
by Dwayne Phillips
If someone asks a question in English, please answer in English. Please avoid some other private language.
In recent conversations, I asked, “Your research, how far ahead in time are you working? Your work may become reality in 1, 5, 10 years?” The answer was, “TRL 4.” (see this for a translation) Deep sigh.
I asked in English. Please reply in English. Oh, we don’t talk in those terms. We talk in our own private language that only we understand. If you don’t understand us, you are not worthy of us.
Perhaps I react too harshly. These are smart, caring people who mean well. They are using a language that is near and dear to them. It is not, however, the language that I used to start the conversation. Sadly, this occurs in many fields of endeavor.
It is not easy to discuss matters that are unique to a field in plain English. Each field has its own vocabulary. Sometimes that is writ of habeas corpus, electrocardiogram, IMSI and TMSI, or domain name service. There are English-language explanations for these. Let’s try to use them. Please.