Does academic English sound like ‘newspeak’?

I accidentally encountered this sentence yesterday in my daily reading concerning the notion of collective rights in contemporary multicultural societies.

“These rights belong to the relevant collectivities qua collectivities and cannot be drived from their individual members for the simple reason that the latter qua individuals have no such right.”

I cannot help but wonder the meaning of “qua” in this context. Is it something that shared among researchers who grew up in the Western societies? Or is it just the author likes to use fancy words ? I am not even sure if “qua” is French or Latin.

I still remember how much I hated to read Anthony Smith’ work when I was doing my nationalism essay. He just cannot articulate his ideas properly without using a lot of unknown French/Latin words. It was really annoying.

Inserting this French/Latin academic smart word is not self-evident. It is confusing and it does not help readers who are not familiar with Western backgrounds to understand. Imagine if I switch this “qua” into a random Mandarin Chinese character, such as 龍, 鱉, 鰲, 魍 . Wouldn’t that be utterly annoying to anybody who has no capacity to read Mandarin Chinese?

At the end of the day, learning to speak this random significant-looking academic French/Latin seems to be essential for anybody who want to be a proper academic. It’s almost like learning what George Orwell called “newspeak”, isn’t it?

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