NEWSPEAK

NEWSPEAK

Winston Smith: April the 4th, 1984. To the past, or to the future. To an age when thought is free. From the Age of Big Brother, from the Age of the thought Police, from a dead man… greetings.

In George Orwell’s book 1984 the state uses a new language, called Newspeak, which prevents the ability of people to think and speak about certain political incorrect subjects. This language is the official language of Ociania. Newspeak is similar to normal English but it is simplified. Newspeak is used to reduce people’s vocabulary. Because, of course, if people don’t even know about the existence of certain words they can’t explain what they think. Or even better, they can’t think about it at all.  Things the party didn’t want you to think about, would become literally unthinkable. This way the state would be able to not only control your doings but also everything you think of, which is exactly what they’re trying to achieve.  Newspeak is divided into three distinct classes, the A, B and C vocabulary. The A vocabulary contains words which are needed in the daily life. And it will be simply impossible to use vocabulary A for literary purposes or for political or philosophical discussion. The B vocabulary contains words that were constructed for political purposes, and is a great example of how newspeak works. The only way to talk about political subjects is to use the B vocabulary. And the B vocabulary only has words which could be used to express only things the state wants you to think. This way it isn’t even possible to criticize the political thoughts of the state. You are able to say something bad about for example Big Brother but you’re not capable of substantiating  it. It would simply sound like an math problem with a bad solution. Everything is about finding a way to fully control people’s minds and actions. Orwell says at page 243 that no words in the B vocabulary were ideologically neutral and some words meant the exact opposite of what they appeared to mean. And this is exactly how they brainwash people. This is also a very common seen phenomenon in contemporary society. Nowadays we use the word Newspeak when we talk about euphemisms and analogy.  In Newspeak everything is about making words easier to pronounce and making them more compact. Syme, a Newspeak expert, says that his main job is to destroy words. And this also explains what Newspeak is like. Everything is about limiting one’s vocabulary. Winston describes his wife as goodthinkful which you use to describe someone who is naturally orthodox, and which is what the state wants. The C vocabulary only contains scientific and technical terms. Oldspeak was supposed to have been completely taken over by Newspeak by 2050. Orwell is a great writer if you think of it, because he sort of invented his own language. Orwell’s idea of Newspeak started with his essay “politics and the English language” in which he criticized “ugly and inaccurate contemporary written English”.

sources:

http://www.netcharles.com/orwell/articles/col-newspeak.htm

http://www.netcharles.com/orwell/essays/politics-and-the-english-language.htm

http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analogie_(taalkunde)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doublethink

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