Modern Uses Of English Language English Literature Essay
George Orwell, like many other literary bookmans, is interested in the modern usage of the English linguistic communication and, in peculiar, the maltreatment and abuse of English. He realises that linguistic communication has the power in political relations to dissemble the truth and misdirect the populace, and he wishes to increase public consciousness of this power. He accomplishes this by puting a great focal point on Newspeak and the media in his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. Showing the perennial maltreatment of linguistic communication by the authorities and by the media in his novel, Orwell shows how linguistic communication can be used politically to lead on and pull strings people, taking to a society in which the people unquestioningly obey their authorities and mindlessly accept all propaganda as world. Language becomes a mind-control tool, with the ultimate end being the devastation of will and imaginativeness. As John Wain says in his essay, “ [ Orwell ‘s ] vision of 1984 does non include extinction arms. . . He is non interested in extinction arms because, basically, they do non scare him every bit much as religious 1s ” ( 343 ) .
A A A Paul Chilton suggests that the linguistic communication subject in Orwell ‘s novel has its roots in the narrative of the Tower of Babel ( 2 ) . When God destroys the Towel of Babel, the civilisations which have contributed to the building of the Tower suffer ever-after from the Curse of Confusion. The Curse both makes linguistic communications “ reciprocally unintelligible ” , and alters their nature so that “ they no longer limpidly [ express ] the nature of things, but instead [ vague ] and [ distort ] them ” ( Chilton, 2 ) . Orwell ‘s Newspeak, the ultra-political new linguistic communication introduced in Nineteen Eighty-Four, does exactly that: it facilitates misrepresentation and use, and its intent is to curtail apprehension of the existent universe. Chilton besides suggests that a corollary to this is that “ each post-Babel linguistic communication [ becomes ] a closed system incorporating its ain untranslatable position of the universe ” ( 2 ) . Surely, the ultimate purpose of Newspeak is to envelop people in an Orthodox pseudo-reality and insulate them from the existent universe.
A A A Whereas people by and large strive to spread out their vocabulary, the authorities in Nineteen Eighty-Four really aims to cut back the Newspeak vocabulary. One of the Newspeak applied scientists says, “ [ we ‘re ] cutting the linguistic communication down to the bone. . . Newspeak is the lone linguistic communication in the universe whose vocabulary gets smaller every twelvemonth ” ( 55 ) . By pull stringsing the linguistic communication, the authorities wishes to change the populace ‘s manner of thought. This can be done, psychologists theorise, because the words that are available for the intent of pass oning thought tend to act upon the manner people think. The linguist Benjamin Lee Whorf was a steadfast truster in this nexus between idea and linguistic communication, and he theorised that “ different linguistic communications impose different constructs of world ” ( Myers 352 ) . So when words that describe a peculiar idea are wholly absent from a linguistic communication, that thought becomes more hard to believe of and pass on. For the Inner Party, the end is to enforce an Orthodox world and do dissident idea ( ‘thoughtcrime ‘ ) impossible. “ In the terminal we shall do thoughtcrime literally impossible, ” explains the Newspeak applied scientist, “ because there will be no words in which to show it ” ( 55 ) .
A A A By design, Newspeak narrows the scope of idea and shortens people ‘s memories. It is hence ideal for a totalitarian system, in which the authorities has to trust on a inactive populace which lacks independent idea and which has a great tolerance for errors, both past and present. “ To spread out linguistic communication is to spread out the ability to believe, ” says Myers ( 353 ) . Conversely, to curtail linguistic communication, as with Newspeak, is to curtail the scope of idea. Chilton identifies the specific characteristics of Newspeak that help curtail idea: “ decreased complexness, few abstractions, and no selfreference ” ( 37 ) . Such narrowed public idea is what the Inner Party prefers, because a populace that lacks the ability to believe vividly poses less of a menace than one that can readily knock the authorities and support itself from injury.
A A A However, an interesting effect of this narrowed idea is that the populace ‘s memory is besides efficaciously shortened. “ The Inner Party [ deprives ] people of their ain words and in so making, deprives them of memory ” ( Lewis and Moss 51 ) . After O’Brien forces Winston to encompass Ingsoc, for case, Winston ‘s imaginativeness decays and he “ [ can ] no longer repair his head on any one topic for more than a few minutes at a clip ” ( 301 ) . Winston, like the bulk of the populace, suffers when he is robbed of his words and ideas. Consequently, “ memory, with its attendant profusion and assortment, wastings ” since “ memories die when they go ad-lib in words ” ( Lewis and Moss 51 ) .
A A A Given that Newspeak is such a politically-motivated linguistic communication, why does the populace in Nineteen Eighty-Four accept it? After all, the Party is set abouting a undertaking of monumental proportions: they are seeking to wholly replace a common linguistic communication ( English, or “ Oldspeak ” ) , and one would anticipate great resistance to such a program. The Party is able to accomplish this by once more using psychological tactics. Alternatively of coercing the populace to utilize Newspeak by jurisprudence, the Party ensures that the populace is immersed in the new linguistic communication. Cipher is forced to read or compose in Newspeak, but “ its omnipresent broadcast creates a force per unit area to use it merely in order to pass on economically ” ( Chilton 37 ) .
A A A Orwell ‘s fresh pigments a bloodcurdling image of a totalitarian system gone to the absolute extreme, but it is a novel that is basically approximately psychological control of the public. Of class, the Party does use anguish as portion of its control regimen, but the psychological control tactics are the dominant 1s in the novel. While physical penalty is hard to administrate, psychological tactics ( use of people through linguistic communication ) can be continuously applied to the general populace without raising great public resistance or fright – and that is where its strength lies. It is for this ground that “ Newspeak instead than anguish is planned as the manner to wipe out thoughtcrime ” ( Stansky 88 ) . However, while Newspeak is a really important method of head control through linguistic communication, it is merely a portion of a greater Inner Party strategy. It is, in fact, the Party-controlled media in the novel that like an expert uses Newspeak every bit good as other lingual hocus-pocus to distribute its propaganda and brainwash the populace.
A A A The media is powerful as a tool for use both because the populace is widely exposed to it, and besides because the public trusts it. The telescreens continuously shout explosions of intelligence and propaganda throughout the twenty-four hours, and the people listen intently and hearten at ‘good intelligence ‘ ( triumphs ) and are driven to ramp by ‘bad intelligence ‘ . The characters in Orwell ‘s novel are slaves of the media ; they revere it as an prophet. When the telescreens initiate the Two Minutes Hate, for case, the people are roused to a craze: “ Peoples were jumping up and down in their topographic points and shouting at the tops of their voices. . . [ a miss ] had begun shouting out ‘Swine! Swine! Swine! ‘ ” ( 16 ) .
A A A Certainly, in Nineteen Eighty-Four, “ [ media information ] does command some of the ways in which [ people ] think about and measure the universe ” ( Lewis and Moss 47 ) . The Party is interested in dissembling the truth, and so the media manipulates linguistic communication to show a deformed world. As Orwell says in his essay Politics and the English Language, “ Political linguistic communication. . . is designed to do prevarications sound true and slaying respectable, and to give an visual aspect of solidness to pure air current ” ( 150 ) . In the novel, these prevarications are rather obvious. For illustration, the media ( controlled by the Party, of class ) continually refers to the Ministries of Truth, Peace, Love, and Plenty. In world, nevertheless, the Ministry of Truth is concerned with the disproof of records, and the Ministry of Peace trades with warfare. The Ministry of Love is “ the truly scaring one ” ( 6 ) as it is basically a topographic point for the inquiring and torture of suspected felons. The Ministry of Plenty makes up economic figures to convert the populace that the economic system is in good form, even though there are great deficits of all trade goods due to the war. Although the sarcasm in the rubrics is blatantly obvious, Orwell is doing a point about how the media can utilize linguistic communication to dissemble the truth.
A A A The totalitarian province of Oceania is in a changeless province of war, and portion of the Party ‘s on-going battle is to maintain the public satisfied with this warfare. If the populace were dissatisfied, they would resent the deficit of nutrient and other trade goods and perchance arise against the Party. The Party therefore has to deflect the populace ‘s attending off from the negative side of warfare, and they use the media to make this. By utilizing merely linguistic communication that carries impersonal or positive intensions to speak about anything related to war, the media successfully soothes an otherwise resentful public. For case, the media ne’er studies on the “ 20 or 30 [ projectile bombs ] a hebdomad falling on London ” ( 28 ) , but instead inundates peoples ‘ lives with good intelligence about triumphs. Winston ‘s telescreen announces, “ Our forces in South India have won a glorious triumph. I am authorized to state that the action we are now describing may good convey the war within mensurable distance of its terminal ” ( 28 ) . Similar studies follow throughout the full novel, invariably observing the gaining control of enemies and the conquest of new districts, but ne’er acknowledging any sort of licking.
A A A In many ways, the media is trusting on the rule that a piece of information that is repeated frequently adequate becomes accepted as truth. Winston, a peculiarly strong-willed person, is continually amazed to see his friends and co-workers swallow the prevarications that the media dishes out. For this signifier of brainwashing ( ‘Duckspeak ‘ ) to be effectual, “ you merely say things often and people finally understand and say it themselves ” ( Chilton 27 ) . This brainwashing is done through the words of the telescreens, newspapers and magazines.
A A A The media is skilled at technology ‘truth ‘ through linguistic communication, and one of the most distressing effect of this developed in the novel is that the Party has ultimate control over history. After all, linguistic communication is the nexus to history. Winston ‘s occupation in the Ministry of Truth is to modify intelligence points and other paperss that in one manner or another make the Party expression bad. After he replaces an original papers with the modified one, all the masters are destroyed. Orwell describes the procedure:
This processes of uninterrupted change was applied non merely to newspapers, but to books, periodicals, booklets, postings, cusps. . . Day by twenty-four hours and about minute by minute the yesteryear was brought up to day of the month. In this manner every anticipation made by the Party could be shown by documental grounds to hold been right ; nor was any point of intelligence, or any look of sentiment, which conflicted with the demands of the minute, of all time allowed to stay on record. ( 42 )
A A A Lewis and Moss believe that “ the maneuver is to kill history so that Centres of resistance can non turn ” ( 51 ) . Orwell shows us grounds that this maneuver is working: even the chief character, who knows precisely what is traveling on with the disproof of paperss, has problem remembering who Oceania is truly at war with at the present. It is either Eurasia or Eastasia, but Winston is non certain because the Party supports altering history. This shrewish uncertainty eats off at Winston until he no longer knows what world is ; by the terminal of the novel, he is willing to accept the Party ‘s world.
A A A Orwell ‘s novel asks the philosophical inquiry: if all available grounds shows something to be true, is it non true? Winston struggles with this thought of “ Reality control ” ( 37 ) as he works at the Ministry of Truth. “ The awful thing, ” Winston thinks to himself, “ [ is ] that it might wholly be true. If the Party [ can ] thrust its manus into the past and say of this or that event, it ne’er happened – that, certainly, [ is ] more terrific than mere anguish and decease ” ( 36 ) . One of Winston ‘s assignments is to contrive a life of a fictional soldier named Ogilvy, so that he can be honoured by Big Brother in a public reference. After composing the description of Ogilvy ‘s life, Winston wonders at how “ one time the act of counterfeit [ is ] forgotten, [ Ogilvy will ] be merely as genuinely, and upon the same grounds, as Charlemagne or Julius Caesar ” ( 50 ) .
A A A Equally good as changing the past by pull stringsing written linguistic communication, the Party has an clever program to interrupt the nexus with the existent yesteryear by presenting a linguistic communication barrier. When “ all existent cognition of Oldspeak [ disappears ] . . . the whole literature of the yesteryear will hold been destroyed ” ( 56 ) . After a few coevalss, when people are no longer capable of decrypting information from the yesteryear, there will no longer even be a demand to ban the history that has the potency for engendering irregular thoughts – it will be wholly out of the populace ‘s range. Therefore, the use of linguistic communication and text non merely effects the present, but besides the past and hereafter in more than one manner. A Party motto in the fresh reads, “ Who controls the yesteryear, controls the hereafter: who controls the present controls the yesteryear ” ( 37 ) .
A A A Orwell ‘s novel is utmost, but it is non needfully a anticipation of the hereafter. Rahv believes that the book ‘s “ importance is chiefly in its powerful battle with the present ” ( 183 ) . Indeed, politicians have used written linguistic communication to pull strings history both in the past and present. There was much deformation of history during the Stalinist epoch, “ when such standard plants of misinformation as the Soviet Encyclopaedia changed invariably with the party line, so that in consecutive editions Trotsky was foremost the hero of the Civil War, so an agent of the Mensheviks, and the western powers ” ( Woodcock 177 ) . Patrick Wright suggests that the issue is still really much alive in the late 20th century, mentioning as an illustration “ [ the British Secretary for Education, who ] refused a figure of proposed course of study systems for the instruction of history in schools, happening them insufficiently assiduous in their publicity of the fabulous, instead than merely historical, values of national integrity and pride ” ( 111 ) .
A A A Equally alive today is the fright that politicians and the media maltreatment linguistic communication to conceal truth. Orwell gives illustrations of how politicians can writhe words to deceive people in his essay Politics and the English Language: “ Defenceless small towns are bombarded from the air, the dwellers driven out into the countryside. . . this is called mollification. Millions of provincials are robbed of their farms and sent sloging along the roads with no more than they can transport: this is called transportation of population or rectification of frontiers ” ( 148 ) . Woodcock refers to the modern jargon-filled English used by “ newspaper editors, administrative officials, wireless announcers, and parliamentary talkers ” who have, merely as Orwell feared, a heavy “ trust on ready-made phrases ” ( 92 ) . Even more distressing, in the 21st century we have now a quickly turning, major industry based entirely upon the use of linguistic communication and idea: advertisement.
A A A Orwell ‘s novel carries a tenable warning about the powers of linguistic communication. It shows how linguistic communication can determine people ‘s sense of world, how it can be used to hide truths, and even how it can be used to pull strings history. “ Language is one of the cardinal instruments of political dominations, the necessary and insidious agencies of the ‘totalitarian ‘ control of world ” ( Rai, 122 ) . While linguistic communication in the traditional sense can spread out skylines and better our apprehension of the universe, Orwell ‘s novel demonstrates that linguistic communication, when used in a maliciously political manner, can merely as easy become “ a secret plan against human consciousness ” ( Rahv, 182 ) .