Comments on George Orwell's Newspeak

Topics: Newspeak, Political correctness, Thought Pages: 5 (1953 words) Published: October 12, 2005
Language is something unique and extremely important to human beings since our early development. It is unique to mankind and without it; societies nowadays surely can not function at all. Just imagine the society with no words being spoken, or written, no communication; it will just die out immediately. Each of us can understand the significance and the powerful impacts of languages. Therefore a question is raised: "Will the society dominated if language is controlled since language influences are so great?" illustrated clearly through the case of Newspeak- "a fictional language in George Orwell's famous novel Nineteen Eighty-Four…" "which has a greatly reduced and simplified vocabulary and grammar" which aims "to make subversive thought ("thoughtcrime") and speech impossible"? Will Newspeak be able to attain such goals and is it true that there are some areas in life in which language use is comparable to Newspeak and they have effects on its users?" We will discuss about this later on in the essay but let me make myself clear first. In my opinion, I think Newspeak will work, but with certain conditions being fulfilled.

First let's discuss why Newspeak will work. It is common knowledge that language is truly the "keystone to culture" for without it, we could not pass on the collective experience of society and the lessons it teaches for survival. It is the primary way that we pass on our culture from one generation to the next. It enables us to store meanings so we don't have to relearn everything with each generation. This supports one of the methods of Newspeak- suppression of definitely heretical words. Newspeak eliminates all undesirable words and such words of orthodox meanings ensuring that there are no possibilities of arriving at them by indirect methods. Therefore, when Newspeak has been adopted once and for all and everybody is willing to adopt such rules in the language, apart from people belonging to the generation, who have an understanding of the society before the "Newspeak revolution" are the only ones who have an idea about heretical thoughts. But as they can not pass down the knowledge of heretical thoughts because it is impossible to express thoughts without vocabulary, thoughts are dependent on words and Newspeak has already eliminated the necessary vocabulary. So some people when they argued that people can still think about heretical thoughts even when language is eliminated, they don't realize that even if it is true, it is not important at all. It is the subversive thoughts are not passed down that count. The next generation doesn't even know that these concepts exist, how can they embark and develop on the thoughts divergent from the principles of Ingsoc? So the underlying theory of Newspeak which is "If something can't be said, then it can't be thought" can only be applied to the new generation after Newspeak is applied. The previous generation though they can't say something, they can still think of it.

Furthermore Newspeak vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle words expression to every meaning that a party member could properly wish to express. This equally means one word can express one idea. And language is the only means to express thoughts concretely, clearly and efficiently. The number of words is limited therefore the number of thoughts is limited. In this way Newspeak has made new thoughts in general, not only heretical thoughts impossible. But in our world nowadays, if Newspeak were applied, it must be applied absolutely, strictly and thoroughly in order for it to work in the long run, meaning there must be some "actions". For example: Once words for "heretical thoughts" are eliminated, all records of them in the past must also be eliminated so that the next generation has indeed nothing to think about or embark on. There must be a "real memory" hole used to quickly &...
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