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Penhire has discovered a fearless promoter of Plain English at www.fightthebull.com.

Fight The Bull’s owners are dedicated to raging against the business-speak machine – first with a book subtly entitled “Why Business People Speak Like Idiots”, and now with the development of Bullfighter software. Bullfighter works like a spellchecker except instead of identifying spelling and grammatical mistakes, it identifies the biggest language crime of all - “bull” language. This includes clichés, fashionable business jargon, and any overly pretentious, wordy or just plain confusing language.

The software is free and can be very easily downloaded to your computer where it appears as a toolbar in Microsoft Word.

Although its scientific approach is clearly a joke, it can be quite a useful exercise to submit your text to the Bullfighter. The “Bull Index” searches your document for any “bull” words or phrases – in this blog “global” was identified as low-level bull. However, “Bull Tools” does allow you to add your custom dictionary, so that technical or specialist words are not singled out. “The Flesch Scale” gauges the document’s average sentence length and average number of syllables per word to give a score in readability and verbosity. After processing your document through the two scales, the Bullfighter awards it an overall score or “BCI” - Bull Composite Index.

Given the political nature of our last posting, I decided to test the Bullfighter out on one of the nation’s high profile politicians. Downloading a recent speech on global warming from Enda Kenny’s website I ran it through the Bull Index gleefully expecting the worst. And guess what…entirely bull language free! Ah, go figure.

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