atw: SEC: UNCLASS Frameworks

  • From: "Silcock, Howard DR" <Howard.Silcock@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <austechwriter@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 24 Jun 2005 14:13:27 +1000

Since I've been documenting questionable usage in technical writing,
I've been noticing those moments in editing when I detect words with no
real meaning, or words that may once have had a meaning but now just add
a hint of something more, like a bay leaf in a casserole. I find myself
staring at the text, straining to answer the question 'what on earth is
this sentence really *about*?'. It's a bit like coming across a word in
a foreign language that looks familiar but escapes my understanding.

For me, one word that provokes this reaction is 'framework'. I just came
across a sentence in a Human Resources Plan that boldly declared 'A
Divisional learning and development framework will be implemented to
better meet the needs of our employees and to provide a more cost
effective and efficient service.' 

I tried to visualise something concrete that you might see when those HR
people had achieved their goal. What would this 'framework' look like
when it had been 'implemented'? Was it something you could touch or see?
Perhaps it'd be diagram on a piece of paper - or on a PowerPoint slide?
Or a list of proposals (on a PowerPoint slide)? Or would I actually see
trainers and trainees, overhead projectors and bowls of mints -
employees actually learning and being 'developed'?  

I couldn't help thinking that the last image wasn't what the authors
were committing themselves to. (Maybe they would have liked to, but knew
there wasn't the funding.) 

Is there a word for words like this, that suggest action and achievement
but actually promise almost nothing?


     Howard L. Silcock
      Technical Writer
Project Office - Infrastructure
    Department of Defence
       (02) 626 58828  

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