English 1510: Composition 1
July 25th, 2012
William Lutz was an American linguistic, born December 12, 1940, who specialized in the use of plain language and the avoidance of deceptive language. Lutz received a master’s degree in English at Marquette University in 1963, his doctorate in 1971 from University of Nevada, Reno, and then began teaching as a professor at Rutger’s University’s campus in Camden, New Jersey that same year. He didn’t retire from teaching until 2006 at the age of sixty-six.
Doublespeak is a deceptive art within language, and while there are various types of doublespeak, they all hold the same purpose: to deceive the listener. “Doublespeak is language that pretends to communicate but really doesn’t. It is language that makes the bad seem good, the negative appear positive, the unpleasant appear attractive or at least tolerable…. It is language that prevents thought rather than extending it,” (pg.136, paragraph 2). There are times, however, when doublespeak has positive qualities to it, and is unintended and become harmless, or at least less harmful.
Lutz points out the different types of doublespeak: euphemism, jargon, gobbledygook, and inflated language. Euphemisms can be used when one is sensitive to someone’s feelings and doesn’t wish to cause unrest, or it can be used to mislead and cover over an embarrassment or unpleasant situation. Jargon is the specialized language of a trade, profession, or similar group, and while this specific style of doublespeak may be used unintentionally, it can also be used to omit certain people from a conversation. This can be done to belittle or mislead and confuse and outside party. Gobbledygook is simply a matter of stringing along big and unnecessary words to impress and overwhelm an audience; however, this style of deceptive language may also be used unintentionally, nervous rambling being such an example. Lastly, inflated language is used as an...
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