[LMB] Levels of Bafflement

John Lennard john.c.lennard at gmail.com
Mon Jan 22 15:08:05 GMT 2018

> John: ...jargonautical...

Harvey: Is that an autological neologism?

John: Heh. An autological paleologism, and a pun. Not sure when I first
came across the pun, but a jargonaut is one who makes a sesquipedalian
voyage in search of a golden fleece.

Odd business, jargon. The word originally meant the twittering of birds, so
there's always been a hostile element in its application to the use of
precise terminology. But where would we without it?

And whereas with jargon, especially if neoclassical, one can
work meanings out, slang and cant are just as capable of baffling and often
defy interpretation without instruction.

As to the Levis of Bafflement, I believe they must have had their legs sewn
shut when no-one was looking. But I am reminded that *The Onion* once
announced that scientists had discovered the fabric of the cosmos, and it
was a really nice cotton twill.

John Lennard, MA DPhil. (Oxon.), MA (WU)

Associate Member & Director of Studies in English, Hughes Hall, Cambridge
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