FAQ: Why use jargon?

One of the things reported in my site states are terms entered on to search engines that lead people to my site. I often wish I had a way to contact people because I want to make sure their question is answered. Sometimes I answer these questions in hopes that will look again. For instance I’ve posted about H.B.’s pick up truck from the finale and answered a question about the existence of a Bauer living room. I’m answering another question today, but as I read it could mean two different things, so  I’m answering both.

1.       Why do soaps us jargon terms from various professions in their dialogue?

As perceived reality has increased on primetime shows, soaps feel the pressure of dialogue expectations to also “be real.” One way they do this is by using jargon from professions. However, this can cause problems. Sometimes the actors don’t understand the terms, I feel sorry for Yovnne Wright (Mel Bordau Bauer) who had to spew both legalese and medical jargon through her run on the show. Tina Sloan (Lillian Raines), in her book Changing Shoes, likes to tell the story of how she was once in a scene with an actor playing a doctor who accidentally ordered a C-SPAN instead of a CAT scan. However, usually jargon does add to the perception of realism.

2.       Why are there terms of soap opera jargon?

Like a profession there are some unique situations that commonly arise. In the case of soap operas some of these are across the board show business or TV terms, others are totally unique to soaps or at least most frequently used with or associated with soaps. Things like fake deaths and who’s the Daddy storylines are part and parcel of any soap, but used less frequently in other genres. A standard set of terms has developed to describe those functions and those terms are soap opera jargon.

Read some examples of soap opera jargon and their definitions here:

And look for another new term almost every Friday night in this blog post.

UPDATED May 20 2016: I fixed one typo, one piece of formatting, and added my signature block.

Robansuefarm is the handle of one of Manny and Guiding Light‘s biggest fans following in her family’s footsteps of Guiding Light fandom since 1939. This blog is an effort to make it easy to find Guiding Light and especially Manny online. Check back here for her blog, find fanfic previews and fake WSPR newscasts on her YouTube, find podcasts that look back to old shows and audios of her fanfics on Blog Talk Radio, and finally follow her on Twitter and Facebook.


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One Response to “FAQ: Why use jargon?”

  1. glmanny Says:

    Reblogged this on Glmanny's Blog and commented:

    Revisiting soap operas and jargon.

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