Arguments Supporting ArchiSpeak

Recently published an article 150 Weird Words That Only Architects Use. 


My response:

  1. Most of those 150 terms come from other lines of thinking that architects have merely borrowed (although they may attach slightly different meanings to them).
  2. Every profession and group has its own argot that it’s had to either borrow or create in order to communicate a meaningful level of detail to each other (if not to the outside world). Some examples:
  3. I tell my neurosurgeon that my back hurts. He explains that I have stenosis and need a laminectomy. Those terms are very specific, and unless they apply to you, you never need know what they are.
  4. My dentist speaks a special language to his assistant, which I can only guess at. I don’t need to know, because she knows.
  5. Inuits have 50+ words for “snow”, because they need them. (
  6. Lawyers have developed the ability to write extremely long paragraphs without any punctuation, and are highly resistant to efforts to get them to use plain English, for no real reason I can think of.

There is no reason why architects cannot do the same as every other group, as long as they remember not to use their secret code on their clients. That said, most of them certainly could humanise their argot; they would sound a lot less pretentious. That would be a good thing. See also my related blog post: Intentions and Pretensions in Architectural Discourse.

Posted by

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Privacy Policy
Log In Connect