Professor Hogben 2 plays ducks and drakes with a battery which is able to write prescriptions, and, while disapproving of the everyday phrase put up with, is unwilling to look egregious up in the dictionary and see what it means; 3if one takes an uncharitable attitude towards it, is simply meaningless: Some metaphors now current have been twisted out of their original meaning without those who use them even being aware of the fact.
The political dialects to be found in pamphlets, leading articles, manifestos, White papers and the speeches of undersecretaries do, of course, vary from party to party, but they are all alike in that one almost never finds in them a fresh, vivid, homemade turn of speech.
But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out. He wrote that "some metaphors now current have been twisted out of their original meaning without those who use them even being aware of the fact".
As soon as certain topics are raised, the concrete melts into the abstract and no one seems able to think of turns of speech that are not hackneyed: But what he called "the fight against bad English" is too often understood, thanks to the perversities of his own example, as a philistine and joyless campaign in favour of that shibboleth of dull pedants "plain English".
Other words used in variable meanings, in most cases more or less dishonestly, are: Share via Email Righteous but limited? The result, in general, is an increase in slovenliness and vagueness.
In our time it is broadly true that political writing is bad writing.
But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. Meanwhile, here are five specimens of the English language as it is now habitually written. In my book on modern political rhetoric, I called this Unspeak. 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 first is staleness of imagery; the other is lack of precision.
The defence of the English language implies more than this, and perhaps it is best to start by saying what it does not imply. Could I put it more shortly? When the general atmosphere is bad, language must suffer. And he will probably ask himself two more: Underneath this lies the half-conscious belief that language is a natural growth and not an instrument which we shape for our own purposes.
People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: Paying attention to this idea of "nervous" markets who "need" to have their "confidence" bolstered tells us something important about the relative respect accorded by our masters to "the market" on the one hand and democracy on the other.
Much of it is the kind of nonsense screed against linguistic pet hates that anyone today might compose in a green-text email to the newspapers. Stuart Chase and others have come near to claiming that all abstract words are meaningless, and have used this as a pretext for advocating a kind of political quietism.
If one gets rid of these habits one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step toward political regeneration: It will be seen that I have not made a full translation.
In 4the writer knows more or less what he wants to say, but an accumulation of stale phrases chokes him like tea leaves blocking a sink. But one can often be in doubt about the effect of a word or a phrase, and one needs rules that one can rely on when instinct fails.
I think the following rules will cover most cases: Those who deny this would argue, if they produced an argument at all, that language merely reflects existing social conditions, and that we cannot influence its development by any direct tinkering with words and constructions.
The whole tendency of modern prose is away from concreteness. 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.
And this reduced state of consciousness, if not indispensable, is at any rate favourable to political conformity.
In the case of a word like democracy, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides. This is the significance of mixed metaphors.Most everyone who knows the work of George Orwell knows his essay “Politics and the English Language” (published here), in which he rails against careless, confusing, and unclear prose.
“Our civilization is decadent,” he argues, “and our language must inevitably share in the. George Orwell’s essay, Politics and the English Language, first published intalks about some “bad habits”, which have driven the English language in the wrong direction, that is, away from communicating ideas.
One of the things that Orwell pointed out in his essay was the fact that political langauge is bombastic and over the top and that it is also used to create a situation where there is one right.
In his essay "Politics and the English Language," Orwell points out several common writing practices that lead, in his mind, not only to bad writing but also to poor and even dangerous thinking.
Start studying English B. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. What is the purpose of the following excerpt from George Orwell's essay "Politics and the English Language"?
Which of the following is NOT a rule that George Orwell proposes in his essay "Politics and the English Language"? Employ. George Orwell's essay "Politics and the English Language" presents a detailed account of the ways that English is being corroded.
Does Orwell feel that this corrosion can be fixed or reversed? Analyze his ideas about function of the English language and the ways that it may or may not be manipulated.Download