Politics and the english language george orwell thesis

Politics and the English Language

It depends on what kinds of readers a writer targets. Besides, readers are not inside the box; they can explore the world of literature.

Literature is flexible in character. May be I would agree with his points that sometimes we have to consider the meanings of words. Are these words applicable to situations? Probably yes or no. Could people still understand them? No doubt. Orwell knew the psychology and mathematics of words.

He understood what people think of the words used in society- let alone in politics. So what is this essay all about after all? I would believe that what he really wants to point out in this essay is that connection with readers is the most important elements of writing regardless of what concept you have got. He manifested this belief in his works. Mostly, politics is bad when the language is corrupt as it is the conspicuous undertone of his essays.

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Politics and the Decay of Language: Why I Write by George Orwell Essay example

Before I get to Orwell and the essay, I must do something I never thought I would do--quote the Leviathan: With Selected Variants from the Latin Edition of in a positive manner: " Special uses of speech are these: first, to register what by cogitation we find to be the cause of anything, present or past; and what we find things present or past may produce, or effect; which, in sum, is acquiring of arts.

Secondly, to show to others that knowledge which we have attained; which is to counsel and teach one" Special Before I get to Orwell and the essay, I must do something I never thought I would do--quote the Leviathan: With Selected Variants from the Latin Edition of in a positive manner: " Special uses of speech are these: first, to register what by cogitation we find to be the cause of anything, present or past; and what we find things present or past may produce, or effect; which, in sum, is acquiring of arts.

Secondly, to show to others that knowledge which we have attained; which is to counsel and teach one another. Thirdly, to make known to others our wills and purposes that we may have the mutual help of one another. Fourthly, to please and delight ourselves, and others, by playing with our words, for pleasure or ornament, innocently.

To these uses, there are also four correspondent abuses. First, when men register their thoughts wrong by the inconstancy of the signification of their words; by which they register for their conceptions that which they never conceived, and so deceive themselves. Secondly, when they use words metaphorically; that is, in other sense than that they are ordained for, and thereby deceive others. Thirdly, when by words they declare that to be their will which is not.

But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely. A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. He lists almost every trick or error that people use, in the English language, when they don't want to structure their words or phrases properly.

This essay has hit home especially hard for me as I have just finished a series of final exam essays that may have broken every rule Orwell listed. He lists such transgressions such as dying metaphors, operators or false verbal limbs, pretentious diction, and meaningless words as the cornerstone on which all bad English grammar is built on.

One of my favorite examples that he gives is using a quote from the biblical Ecclesiastes as an example, from the "good" English example: " I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. By covering the basics of how the English language is routinely violated in sociology, science, and of course, politics we get to the main point of this essay--how political extremist on both ends of the spectrum take advantage of people using these kinds of tricks.

Where it is not true, it will generally be found that the writer is some kind of rebel, expressing his private opinions and not a 'party line. The political dialects to be found in pamphlets, leading articles, manifestoes, White papers and the speeches of undersecretaries do, of course, vary from party to party, but they are all alike in that one almost never finds in them a fresh, vivid, homemade turn of speech. Many of the examples of bad and deceptive writing in English would show up again in He wants to show how "Party fundamentalist" and propagandist take advantage of peoples imaginations using these tricks.

Another device that Orwell talks about is using Latin, Greek, Russian and French words to keep from having to clearly express your point. This was a favorite device of Marxists, and while he was socialist himself, he was no lover of Soviet propaganda much less the Soviet Union itself. While I do think that using foreign words ad hoc nauseam I could have easily have said haphazardly-which is also foreign is a problem, today's globalized world may now have made more exceptions to this rule.

Orwell discourages using the word cul-de-sac because it is a French word and there are already Anglo-Saxon words for it e. Tolkien went further in his criticism of "cul-de-sac" and names the Hobbits "Bag End" which is the literal translation of cul-de-sac. Orwell offer some advice to help us not make these errors? Orwell offers a set of questions we should ask ourselves: " A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: 1.

What am I trying to say? What words will express it? What image or idiom will make it clearer? Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?

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In the introduction of the essay Mr. Orwell's explains that modern English writers have a multitude of malicious tendencies which have been spread throughout. Politics and the English Language, the essay of George Orwell. First published: April by/in Horizon, GB, London.

And he will probably ask himself two more: 1. Could I put it more shortly? Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly? But you are not obliged to go to all this trouble. You can shirk it by simply throwing your mind open and letting the ready-made phrases come crowding in. They will construct your sentences for you -- even think your thoughts for you, to a certain extent -- and at need they will perform the important service of partially concealing your meaning even from yourself. It is at this point that the special connection between politics and the debasement of language becomes clear.

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I think the following rules will cover most cases: i Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. These rules sound elementary, and so they are, but they demand a deep change of attitude in anyone who has grown used to writing in the style now fashionable. Also, barbarous is a Greek word. In the future, I will try to put Orwell's advice to practice and try to catch myself when making these mistakes.

Ironically enough, in the middle of the essay he point out that he has been making some of the mistakes that he criticizes as a testament to how pervasive this problem is. I hope this gives me even a slight edge in my work for next semester. I should note that Orwell is not talking about simply banning word or phrases, but to carefully recognize what we are actually saying and to be very mindful of every single word we use. If you simplify your English, you are freed from the worst follies of orthodoxy. You cannot speak any of the necessary dialects, and when you make a stupid remark its stupidity will be obvious, even to yourself.

Political language -- and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists -- is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. One cannot change this all in a moment, but one can at least change one's own habits, and from time to time one can even, if one jeers loudly enough, send some worn-out and useless phrase -- some jackboot, Achilles' heel, hotbed, melting pot, acid test, veritable inferno , or other lump of verbal refuse -- into the dustbin, where it belongs.

Shelves: essays , non-fiction , politics , language. Orwell describes how language can affect thought. The essay is full of examples about how vague expressions convey much more unclear meanings than "simple" expressions, and how frequently used phrases can even do the thinking for you.


I believe what Orwell is talking about is true for more than just politics and for more than just the English language. Fictional and non-fictional writings are also suffering from the use of bad language. The two languages that I speak fluently i. Armenian and Arabi Orwell describes how language can affect thought. Armenian and Arabic also suffer from needless metaphors and vague expressions. I think this essay should have been called "Language and Thought. Language is important, it is not just a combination of sounds as I used to think. A poor language implies poor ideas which imply a weak society, and poor ideas lead to a poor language Orwell will always make me think, this is my first essay by him and surely not the last.

Read it read it read it! It criticizes the written English of his time.

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Orwell argues for a writing style that is plain and transparent. The most important of these issues is the use of canned phrases. By the use of phrases the writer loses precision and his or her own voice. Orwell also suggests avoiding pretentious and inappropriate words. Writers often fail to visualize the words used; they often favour abstract meaningless words over concrete. He suggests that writers should avoid using everyday, well-known metaphors.

This decline in language is not permanent and can be prevented by the writer if he or she strives to write good English.

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