Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Shakespeare Consultantspeak

This blog evaluates the fundamental interconnectness of everything. I search for links. Between statistics and psychology. Between evolution and economics. Between modern management consultancy and classic English literature.

A recent scientific article pointed out William Shakespeare's habit of using nouns to perform other functions and examined the listener responses to these phrases.

Put academically: While the Shakespearian functional shift was semantically integrated with ease, it triggered a syntactic re-evaluation process likely to raise attention and give more weight to the sentence as a whole.

Put simply: the academics showed that using nouns in this unusual way actually helped with recognition and understanding.

And then I thought - that is exactly what management consultants are always criticised for doing. By the likes of John Humphrys. By those who moan to the BBC about how the word "impact" should forever be a thing not an action.

So while I agree that grammar sets rules, I may decline to follow them.

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