What Is Clean Language… Not?

I’m often asked, “What’s Clean Language?” When I use that phrase, it has a specific, technical meaning.

“Clean Language” may not be a great name, but it’s the generally-agreed name for David Grove’s precision enquiry toolkit for exploring people’s inner worlds, especially using metaphor.

Defining what I don’t mean by the phrase “Clean Language” might make things clearer.

For me, Clean Language is not:

  • Not swearing!
  • Speaking clearly. There’s a connection, in that Clean Language can help you to understand what another person says. But it’s less about speaking, more about listening.
  • A computer programming language.

In NLP “clean language” means practitioner language which minimises content imposition on the client. David Grove’s Clean Language built on the same idea, almost taking it to its logical extreme before turning it into a structured process.

  • My favourite “What is Clean Language?” article is here.

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