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George Orwell Politics and the English Language Most people who bother with the matter at all would admit that the English language is in a bad way, but it is generally assumed that we cannot by conscious action do anything about it. Our civilization is decadent and our language — so the argument runs — must inevitably share in the general collapse.
It follows that any struggle against the abuse of language is a sentimental archaism, like preferring candles to electric light or hansom cabs to aeroplanes.
Underneath this lies the half-conscious belief that language is a natural growth and not an instrument which we shape for our own purposes. Now, it is clear that the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes: But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely.
A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.
The point is that the process is reversible. Modern English, especially written English, is full of bad habits which spread by imitation and which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary trouble.
If one gets rid of these habits one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step toward political regeneration: I will come back to this presently, and I hope that by that time the meaning of what I have said here will have become clearer.
Meanwhile, here are five specimens of the English language as it is now habitually written. These five passages have not been picked out because they are especially bad — I could have quoted far worse if I had chosen — but because they illustrate various of the mental vices from which we now suffer.
They are a little below the average, but are fairly representative examples. I number them so that I can refer back to them when necessary: I am not, indeed, sure whether it is not true to say that the Milton who once seemed not unlike a seventeenth-century Shelley had not become, out of an experience ever more bitter in each year, more alien [sic] to the founder of that Jesuit sect which nothing could induce him to tolerate.
Above all, we cannot play ducks and drakes with a native battery of idioms which prescribes egregious collocations of vocables as the Basic put up with for tolerate, or put at a loss for bewilder.
Professor Lancelot Hogben Interglossia 3. On the one side we have the free personality: Its desires, such as they are, are transparent, for they are just what institutional approval keeps in the forefront of consciousness; another institutional pattern would alter their number and intensity; there is little in them that is natural, irreducible, or culturally dangerous.
But on the other side, the social bond itself is nothing but the mutual reflection of these self-secure integrities.
Recall the definition of love. Is not this the very picture of a small academic? Where is there a place in this hall of mirrors for either personality or fraternity?
Essay on psychology in Politics New York 4. If a new spirit is to be infused into this old country, there is one thorny and contentious reform which must be tackled, and that is the humanization and galvanization of the B.
Timidity here will bespeak canker and atrophy of the soul. Letter in Tribune Each of these passages has faults of its own, but, quite apart from avoidable ugliness, two qualities are common to all of them.Kevin milone Mrs.
Cangelosi 11AP Language and Composition October 4th, “Why I Write” George Orwell and Joan Didion, in their essay, “Why I Write,” imply that writing has affected each author to abdicate adversity and to accept failure.
Essays and other works. A selection of essays, articles, sketches, reviews and scripts written by Orwell. We also have a page dedicated to Orwell and poetry.. Sketches For Burmese Days.
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Essay UK is a trading name of Student Academic Services Limited, a company registered in England and Wales under Company Number "Politics and the English Language" () is an essay by George Orwell that criticised the "ugly and inaccurate" written English of his time and examines the connection between political orthodoxies and the debasement of language.
The jargon peculiar to Marxist writing (hyena, hangman, cannibal, petty bourgeois, these gentry, lackey, flunkey, mad dog, White Guard, etc.) consists largely of words translated from Russian, German, or French; but the normal way of coining a new word is to use Latin or Greek root with the appropriate affix and, where necessary, the size.
Every time I've taught George Orwell’s famous essay on misleading, smudgy writing, “Politics and the English Language," to a group of undergraduates, we've delighted in pointing out the number of times Orwell violates his own rules—indulges some form of vague, “pretentious” diction.