Saturday, 2 August 2014
Buzz phrase generation
"Buzzword" means a fashionable term used to convey the impression of specialised knowledge. The usage seems to have originated in US college slang just after WWII. "Buzz phrase" carries the concept further, especially into the realm of management-speak. I first came across a "buzz phrase generator" in the late 1960s when it was documented in one of the computer journals, probably "Computer Weekly" - orotund and meaningless phrases seem to have come in with third generation computing. This cannot have been long after its inception over the other side of the pond as "systematic buzz phrase projector". I was reminded of all this when browsing Marcus Cunliffe's American Presidents and the Presidency (an interesting analysis of the way power has swung back and forth between the presidency and Congress over the years). Cunliffe attributes the "projector" to a Canadian official, but the authoritative attribution would be this, which also carries the process a stage further.