4.5.10 Dialect Crimethink Doubleplus Dangerful

WAR IS PEACE

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

I just got finished re-reading one of my most formative books, George Orwell’s 1984.  I wanted to go back and re-read it after having started The Dialect in order to discuss ‘Newspeak.’  In this classic dystopian novel, Orwell invents ‘Newspeak’, a regressive language introduced by the Party to prevent resistance by restricting thought. 

1984’s social vision and historical prediction resonates with those who distrust government and fear a future of repression.  Sadly, though, its easy to find 1984 fans upon whom Orwell’s powerful message is utterly lost.  

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“Why use at all?”: Government Word Suggestions in Hard Times

At the break of the worst financial crisis in decades, March of 2009, England’s Local Government Association mobilized efficiently and effectively to issue a strong statement encouraging local councils to ‘ditch the jargon’ and replace it with plain English.  This, they said, would help make government more user-friendly as things quickly went to shit. 

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Make the Gaffer Redundant!

I joined the meeting late and took refuge on a tiny Ottoman footstool as this serious-looking group of working class radicals met in the back of a pub, somewhere in Birmingham, England.  It was proposed that they crash a speech by Labour “life peer” and union fat cat Baroness Margaret Prosser. 

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Brassed Off

Word Fun: Issue No. 3

This one comes from Bill Bryson’s The Mother Tongue: English and How it Got that Way.  Below is a list of British terms that Bryson, writing in 1990, challenges his mostly American audience to identify. 

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