Last weekend I went to a writing group for the first time ever. I'm not sure how I felt about it so I won't say much about the experience, yet.
One thing I did find interesting was the animosity these folks had for certain plot devices, namely "speak English".
You know what I'm talking about. That's when the brainiest character in a story lays down some crazy-complicated technical jargon. Then the action-minded main character says, "Speak English." and the brainy character is forced to explain a concept or term. Of course, this is all for the benefit of the reader, who the author assumes doesn't or won't understand. It's used all the time, especially in Sci-Fi (which is usually particularly concept/jargon heavy).
Maybe that's the problem. It's potentially insulting to your reader to assume they won't know what your talking about. And this particular group of readers (the writing group folks) were really smart. I was easily the dumbest person in the room. So maybe they feel it's insulting. I didn't have the balls to ask.
Frankly, I don't have a problem with "Speak English". It's effective. It gets the job done. Just like all things, it should be used in moderation. But the fact is there are sometimes things that need to be explained. I would rather assume that my readers don't understand a concept and explain it than lose my readers completely.
What about you? Is it overused? Is it insulting? Let me know what you think. And please, speak English.