digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:


Applied sciences






















Linguistic transparency is a phrase which is used in multiple, overlapping subjects in the fields of linguistics and the philosophy of language. It has both normative and descriptive senses.


Normatively, the phrase can be used to describe the effort to suit one's rhetoric to the widest possible audience, without losing relevant information in the process.

Advocates of normative linguistic transparency often argue that linguistic opacity is dangerous to a democracy. These critics point out that jargon is deliberately employed in government and business. It encrypts morally suspect information in order to dull reaction to it: for example, the phrase "collateral damage" to refer to the manslaughter of innocents.

One play upon this view was by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White, who in the Elements of Style ruled that the writer ought to "eschew obfuscation".

The Plain Language Movement is an example of people who advocate using clearer, common language within the wider academic community.

Professor at New York University Alan Sokal, perpetrator of the Sokal hoax, is another noteworthy example of an advocate of linguistic transparency.

Writer and political philosopher George Orwell was a proponent of this view, which he captured in the landmark essay, "Politics and the English Language." Orwell wrote a novel, 1984, about a dystopian future controlled through a politically crafted language called "Newspeak." Newspeak is a language that is linguistically transparent in the descriptive sense, but not in the normative one.

Comedian George Carlin has famously parodied the phenomenon in his stand-up comedy.

The approach may sound like common sense, but it faces the difficulty of figuring out how to communicate complex and uncommon ideas in a popular way.


Semantic transparency is a descriptive phrase that has been used in linguistics to describe endocentric compounds. Endocentric compound words are those whose whole meaning can be figured out by an analysis of its parts or "morphemes". An example of an endocentric compound is the word "car-wash". By contrast, some compound words are exocentric, meaning their whole meaning cannot be established by an analysis of parts; for example, the word "hogwash". Exocentric words are also known as semantically opaque.


  • Libben, G., Gibson, M., Yoon, Y-B. & Sandra D. (2003). Compound fracture: The role of semantic transparency and morphological headedness. Brain and Language, 84, 50-64.

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transparency_(linguistic) — Please support Wikipedia.
A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
87 videos foundNext > 

Interpreting the Media NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming) 1/4

AdamPants breaks down Fox news interview:- 'Anchors' - Hannity and Colmes with 911 theorist Kevin Barrett.

Syntax - Phrase Structure I

Sentences can be analyzed into hierarchies of constituents. This E-lecture introduces the historical development of phrase structure systems from 1957 until ...

I &B Minister Manish Tewari at the Linguistic Journalism festival of SAARC countries at Indore.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari at the Linguistic Journalism festival of SAARC countries at Indore. Tewari said that UPA Government belie...

Ellipsis III

colour video 06:00 'Ellipsis III' is a video shot entirely through paper, enabling the sheets to become screens in a narrative of linguistic and spatial desi...

The Venus Project Movie Donations

The Venus Project is now accepting donations to do a major motion picture depicting life in a resource-based economy. http://forum.linguisticteam.org/ The Ve...

VTRID Letter for Community July 2013

July 8, 2013 Greetings Fellow Community Members, There has been much discussion of late regarding the recent selection of the new president for the Vermont C...

Technology to blame for high unemployment Low shot

From Children's Sights to Our Insights: Ethiopian Children's Drawings, Stories and Inner Lives

Saturday January 25th, 2014 2:30-4:30PM For a study by Nathan Szajnberg, Ethiopian/Israeli six-year old children drew pictures of their lives, of their fanta...

Updating the NIV

Translating the Scriptures from ancient Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic into English is a task of biblical proportions. Professor Douglas Moo, Chair of the Committ...

When You Will Receive Funds After Selling Your Home by Kahane Law Office

http://www.KahaneLaw.com There are sometimes delays in receiving the sale proceeds after you sell your home. There can be many reasons for this and it is mor...

87 videos foundNext > 

We're sorry, but there's no news about "Transparency (linguistic)" right now.


Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Talk About Transparency (linguistic)

You can talk about Transparency (linguistic) with people all over the world in our discussions.

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!