Umm, no, I don’t think this works really

The government is to ban all Latin abbreviations on all its websites to avoid confusing non-English speakers, it has been announced.

Phrases such as etc, ie, and eg will be phased out from all GOV.UK sites because foreign speakers find them “difficult to read”.

They’re not really Latin abbreviations any more. They’re now “words” in English. Even I don’t know what eg stands for although I know how it is used and what it means.

Further, you don’t need to know “id est” nor what it means to learn what ie means. Just as you don’t need to know Nato, OECD or Ukip in full.

If they’re still useful keep using them, if they’re not, don’t. But edicts “because foreigners” is silly.

34 thoughts on “Umm, no, I don’t think this works really”

  1. If kids today don’t know these words, that’s a damning indictment of our education system. The state has them for 39 weeks a year, 12 years of their life: and this is what we get?

  2. Bloke in North Dorset

    I find genders in French an German confusing, but I don’t expect them to change their language to suit foreigners( but it would be nice). It’s just part of the learning process.

    Anyone coming here who sees etc for the first time can quickly look it up and then they’re informed next time they see it. It’s difficult to do if you’re already reading a web page.

  3. Never mind confusing the foreigners; I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen ‘i.e.’ when it should be ‘e.g.’ I think the numpties who do this believe that it means ‘in example.’

  4. What SE said. Why are we still paying for this sort of virtuesignalling crap? Didn’t we elect a Conservative government, ffs..?

  5. Funnily enough, when I complained to the BBC about “ruling Labour Party” (Her Majesty rules, the government governs) I got the same reply “It confuses foreigners.”

  6. Perhaps for the same reason we should expunge every word derived from a foreign language. I’m sure that would make life easier for foreigners.

  7. Bloke no Longer in Austria

    Which foreigners, I wonder…. most that I encounter learnt Latin at school…. oh those foreigners…

  8. Or “et al”, or “ex hyp”, or ………

    On the subject of dog Latin, why have people taken to saying “exiting” instead of “leaving”? “He exited the building” is horrible compared to “he left …”.

    I once had an undergraduate who complained he couldn’t find the journal “Ibid”.

    Are we to stop saying “ditto”?


  9. It’s just another fairly trivial surrender by the government in the battle of integrating foreigners.

  10. We mustn’t use Latin because that will confuse people who don’t speak English??

    Well that makes a lot of sense….

  11. Bloke no Longer in Austria

    Actually, I can think of an example.
    Many years ago I gave a presenattion to some Germans and used the term A.D. – they didn’t know what it meant ( they use n.C. nach Christus ).
    I felt a proper Papist.

  12. How about am and pm.

    And when are people going to learn that midday and midnight are neither am nor pm.

    Oh, and bring back sennight and make foreigners use it.

  13. “And when are people going to learn that midday and midnight are neither am nor pm.” Hear, hear. That’s one that irritates.

    Mind you, I just use the 24 hour clock, which is an ad hoc solution.

  14. BnliA: I was once at a seminar where a German and an American could hardly understand each other because they used such different pronunciations of the Latin biological terms involved.

    The Yank pronounced Latin as if he were an English lawyer (ugh!), whereas the the German pronounced them correctly, as if he’d been to school in Scotland.

    Of course, it made no odds in reading each others’ work, just in discussing it.

    P.S. Will the govt really ban such terms as “in vivo”, “in vitro”, and even the amusing “in silico”?

  15. @BnLiA the approved* politically correct terminology is CE (common era) for AD, and BCE for BC, because to use the latter forms is religionist.

    * Who approves these things?

  16. Bloke in Costa Rica

    The government owns these websites, ergo, can ipso facto proscribe the use of whatever phrases it chooses. If a few people use them incorrectly, well as we all know abusus non tollit usum. To attempt to completely remove them from the lexicon of literate people is obviously arare litus. If they try to push this, then Whitehall delenda est igne ferroque.

    OK, I’ll stop now.

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