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Politics And The English Language

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Autor:   •  June 14, 2011  •  706 Words (3 Pages)  •  575 Views

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What relationship does Orwell pose between language and political manipulation in “politics and the English language

“It is clear that the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes.” (reference?) In �Politics and the English language � Orwell poses that political manipulation is made easier by the debasement of language using euphemism and inflated style to mislead and control.

Euphemism is the use of a mild expression in the place of a blunt one. This adds to the debasement of language because “the great enemy of clear language is insincerity, when there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims” (reference?). The way euphemisms mislead the public is obvious, by sugar coating negative events making them seem not as bad, even making them positive. Orwell gives us an example of how this is done, “defenceless villages are bombarded from the air. The inhabitants machine gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets. This is called pacification” (reference?) using the word pacified does not have the same negative effect on people as a description of the events would. In fact most people would associate the term pacify with soothing of a baby thus misleading the public about what is really happening. This enables the control of the public because they are not aware of the dire situation due to the positive spin the government has put on a negative situation. Thus the public continue to support their government, even though they might not if fully aware of the situation. This is when an easy environment for political manipulation occurs. Once a government has control it becomes easier to manipulate. This is how the debasement of language, through the use of euphemism, allows the public to become mislead and controlled allowing for easy political manipulation.

Inflated style is to dodge around a controversial subject by using longer sentences and complex words to try and hide the brutal truth of what it is that is trying to be said. “Inflated style is itself a kind of euphemism” (reference?). Inflated style therefore adds to the debasement of language in a similar way that euphemism does by being insincere. Inflated style also breaks at least two of the rules that Orwell stipulates must not be broken to achieve good English, “ii Never use a long word where a short one will do” and “iii If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out” (reference?). Inflated style misleads the public by dodging the truth and confusing even the most knowledgeable through longwinded nonsensical sentences

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