June 18, 2012 1 Comment
A timely article which our (Philippine) lawmakers should take heed to…
“One of my peculiarities, which I must beg you to indulge if I am to retain my sanity (possibly at the expense of yours!) is an abhorrence of the artificial and hyper-legal language that is sometimes known as bureaucratese or gobbledygook.” — Alfred Kahn
Orwell thought muddled language led to muddled thinking and advocated forthright, well-written English in his famous essay, “Politics and the English Language.” In an era of unreadable, labyrinthine, 800-page bills in Congress and a climate of overheated rhetoric in the public discourse, his message still resonates.
“The fight against bad English is not frivolous,” writes Orwell in his 1946 essay Politics and the English Language. “…If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”
Reading Orwell’s views on language, it’s no wonder that the perversion of language for nefarious political ends features so prominently in Orwell’s dual masterpieces, Animal Farm and Nineteen-Eighty-Four. In Orwell’s imagined totalitarian worlds, tyrants control thought by debasing language: i.e., “the Party” creates “Newspeak” (in Nineteen-Eighty-Four) to make “thoughtcrime” impossible by eradicating the vocabulary of dissent. Without the words for freedom (he argues), the idea of it ceases to exist, and people…
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