Microspeak: Dialogue

Why have a conversation when you can dialogue?

I think this is minimal work, but do others care? If they don't, then this is one for the ideas that failed bin. If they do, well let's dialogue...

No need to talk when you can dialogue.

Comments (24)
  1. Marquess says:

    Judging from Steve Jobs’ appearances, Apple ideas are frequently monologued.

  2. David Walker says:

    Let’s conversate!

  3. James Schend says:

    Dialogueing is good, but our company prefers to ideate.

    It’s like 50% "ideas" and 50% "create" and 100% utterly moronic. But since the tech half of our company was sold off, we’re pretty much nothing but a marketing company at this point… ugh.

  4. Puckdropper says:

    James Schend,

    Have you realized how much "ideate" sounds like "idiot"?  (I’m reading it as "EYE-DEE-ATE")

  5. Um, dialogue is a perfectly good verb.


       Usage Note: In recent years the verb sense of dialogue meaning "to engage in an informal exchange of views" has been revived, particularly with reference to communication between parties in institutional or political contexts. Although Shakespeare, Coleridge, and Carlyle used it, this usage today is widely regarded as jargon or bureaucratese. Ninety-eight percent of the Usage Panel rejects the sentence Critics have charged that the department was remiss in not trying to dialogue with representatives of the community before hiring the new officers.

  6. Michael says:

    "…widely regarded as jargon or bureaucratese…"

    Doesn’t sound perfectly good.

  7. James Schend says:

    Puckdropper: That’s how our management pronounces it, too. 90% of the company is marketing/advertising people, they just lap it up. Meanwhile, the poor refuges doing technical work on floor 13 just have to ignore it as much as possible.

  8. Just be careful you don’t accidentally have a modal dialog instead.

    Getting out of those can be tricky.

  9. GregM says:

    This is a very useful series.  I just had a first-hand experience with Microspeak today.  I was talking to a sales person, and he used the phrase "net net".  Thanks to Raymond, I had an idea of what he was talking about.

  10. Brian TKatch says:

    Dye a log? Sure, dye it read and roll it over them, metaphorically, of course.

    Manager: Mr. Supervisor did you get your developer to stop using the "anonymous" board for complaints?

    Supervisor: Yes sir. At first he refused, and was going to continue using the board, but i dialoged him, and now he’s afraid he’ll lose his job.

  11. BobW says:

    <em>Discuss</em> is a perfectly good verb. It even has one fewer syllables than <em>dialogue</em>. A discussion is appropriate in business and technical matters. It tends to keep to one subject.

    A <em>dialog</em> is a particular form of essay, such as Galileo’s <em>Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems</em>. The author intends it to come to a particular conclusion.

    Perhaps managers who want a <em>dialog</em> instead of a <em>discussion</em> betray their actual intentions.

  12. Mike Dunn says:

    In other Microspeak news, I’d like to report that "T-shirt sizing" has escaped Microsoft and is now present in the wild.

  13. dartme18 says:

    It is with incredible regularity that you post to this blog.


  14. Timothy Byrd says:

    "Have you realized how much "ideate" sounds like "idiot"?"

    Reminds me of an old (are there any other kind?) of episode of Mork & Mindy, where Mork is given a mantra to chant repeatedly:

    tye-ah man-ih dee-uh

    — T

  15. prunoki says:

    Sometimes you exchange your views (mostly with your boss). You go into the room with yours and come out with his.

  16. Aaron G says:

    This one was actually featured in a Dilbert strip many years ago:


    "I want to dialogue with you about utilizing resources."

  17. D Stro says:

    At least they’re using the right "dialogue".  On my spiffy new copy of Code Complete 2e, on the top of page 104, he spells it "dialog".  I had to wait until the bus stopped to scribble it out and fix it.

  18. Anonymous Coward says:

    Hey Bill, I’d like your assessment on the Shiny Cube project. Yes, no, cancel?

  19. Cheong says:

    And it goes more ackward when you see the direct Chinese translation "對話" in use in newspapers.

    In English, ay least the usage is a proper one…

  20. ulric says:

    The "ideas that failed bin" ??  

    bin there, done that.

  21. "dialog" is an accepted variant.

  22. Clovis says:

    When I’m in a bilateral I always verbalise and auralise my way out of the box.

  23. "dialog" is an accepted variant.

    Bloody colonials and their accepted variants.


  24. D Stro says:

    I take it back, apparently the OED doesn’t recognize "dialog" in any form in any context.  I reserve the right to pick-and-choose which variations to accept until they show up in the OED ^_^

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