Talk Offline

As I mentioned in Literally, the Best Language Book Ever, it’s not surprising that many language trends begin at work since we spend so much time there. Talking offline is certainly one of those trendy phrases–one that started several years ago and now is standard workplace fare.

According to a business dictionary, to talk offline means to continue a line of discussion outside of the original context, typically a different meeting, time, or medium. Since being online or offline is typically understood to mean on the Internet or off the Internet, there is room for confusion, especially for those who haven’t heard the term before.

Besides, it’s annoying to hear time and time again when something more informative, such as “That’s a good point, but we’ll talk about that next week” or “That’s not directly related, so you and I can discuss that tomorrow” or “We need to discuss that but not with everyone in this meeting” would also work.

A larger question is why businesses have their own dictionaries. I though that business people spoke the same language as the rest of us; thus, they wouldn’t need a business dictionary–they would merely need a dictionary.

Perhaps this is proof that business-speak is not standard English.

–Paul

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