“Politics and the English language” by George Orwell Essay
“Politics and the English language” by George Orwell
This is a statement from the “Politics and the English language” written by George Orwell. He says, ” A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation”. The whole essay is mocking other writers on their language usage. He claims that the language is not used to its full extent. People use words the size of continents and in the end those big words say the same thing as a three-letter word. Those people also end up confusing them selves in the end.
I do believe that language is changed by thought. After all it is the mind that is the one that thinks of the sentences and it’s thought that may corrupt the language. After all language does not write it self on a paper. The mind can basically create any thing with language. This is why every thing works in theory. But practically it doesn’t.
I do believe that man creates language to express our selves. Some might use it to corrupt other thoughts but isn’t that why language is there. So we can understand each other and express our feelings, thoughts and to claim things, even though they are not true.
Language according to the oxford dictionary is defined as:
1.Words and their use.
2.The words used in a particular country or by a particular group of people [from the Latin lingua=tongue]
In a different dictionary it says that language is the system of human expression by means of words. Human language, as expressed by the voice, depends for its production on certain physical characteristics, which are not possessed by the apes. The left hemisphere of the human brain dominates comprehension and expression of written and spoken language. This might be far searched but maybe this is why communists who believe in all things are equal are called the left wings usually. They are the ones who want to control every thing in life so maybe that is why they are called the left wings.
There are more than 5000 languages, or dialects, which are classified in families, though the relationships are not all well established. For example, with a few exceptions, e.g. Basque, Finnish, and Tamil, all the languages of Europe and India belong to a single much diversified Indo-European family. Computers (using rules of language structure) can now translate technical documents with an 80%accuracy. This just shows the diversity of the modern technology. One problem with translating is that different people interpret the text differently.
There have been experiments in Nevada USA to see if chimps have the same ability of creating languages that we understand, the scientist figured that since we where related that this could be possible, they found that chimps are not able to produce the human sounds. So at the moment humans are the only ones that have a language. It might be that other animals have languages as well. But the humans have yet to discover this. It has been discovered that animals do have some sort of communication but we cant yet speak dog or cat.
Language can corrupt thought as well. A great example is the novel nineteen eighty-four. As part of a great totalitarian state the government creates one language, newspeak, where no emotion words are in the dictionary. With newspeak there is no way of expressing the true emotions, like hate towards Big Brother or love towards one and other. It is possible to disagree with the party by using double negation, or making up words. But the characters in the novel are to scared to do so, because if they do they are committing the act of thought crime, and for that they could be vaporized or worse.
Communists set up the whole idea of Big Brother. So as mentioned before this might have to do with the fact that those people want to restrict the growth of the left hemisphere of the brain, as this is the part that lets us speak and write language. They probably want to restrict all things because that would cause opposition to the party. This might lead to the political party to loose their power or sharing their power. This is something they want to avoid if they want to become a totalitarian state. The opposition might spoil that for them.
I wonder in the future if the world will in a way become some thing like Big Brother. One language, every one alike and no one is allowed to be different. What a boring place that would be. I can imagine that one day the world would have one language so would avoid confusions in politics and this would make traveling much easier. Also a student’s life in high school would be so much easier if you did not have to learn three or four different languages. But language comes along with identity. Going to a different country and hearing a different language is something that might not be any more in the future. We might all be speaking English or a new language like newspeak might be introduced. Maybe the countries might keep their own language but that every country might have that universal language as a second language.
But coming back to the point if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought, I do think that language can easily corrupt thought. Not to one self but if lets say, I tell you that the word believe has been taken out of the dictionary and you believe me and immediately tell all your companions this might cause a great confusion about language. I would be the one who spoilt the language, because what word could you use to replace believe? Synonyms of believe are: (according to oxfords Thesaurus.) accept, be certain of, be convinced of, count on, assume, conjecture, consider, gather, and guess. All of these words might be the same, but they cant really replace believe, because as all words, believe has a unique meaning that cant exactly be replaced.
In conclusion to ascertain as to if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought, I totally agree. But I don’t take the statement as serious as George Orwell does. He gives many examples of bad writing in the essay Politics and the English language, but I think I speak for everyone that one of those examples we use in our language every day. Does this make us bad writers? According to Orwell we are. I know it’s just his opinion but he defiantly takes extremes and basically says that all essays, novels, political speeches that don’t look like his own style of writing, are bad language.