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April 09, 2005

Comments

Andrew

I agree. As soon as Newspeak is established, the next generation will go about automatically creolizing it. The very terseness of Newspeak means that it can't encode all the ideological correctness that it's intended to enforce. Newspeak relies on totalitarianism, not vice versa. In fact, by my reading, Newspeak is actually unnecessary and redundant in Oceania. Crimestop and doublethink seem enough to enforce goodthink - Winston is easily broken even though he still speaks old-fashioned English. I think Orwell put it in there more as a satire of contemporary English, as in his take in "Politics and the English Language." Another reading is that the very impossibility of maintaining Newspeak is its reason for being - the Party revels in "stamping its boot" on the face of human language, with the stamping being an end in itself, not a means to an end. (Much as the endless war against Eastasia/Eurasia is an end in itself, not a means to an end.)

Jim

There are sub-languages like Newspeak, but they aren't so nefarious. Technical people develop jargons in their subcultures that tend to have unnaturally precise and restricted uses for what in society as a whole are common words. Mostly this is for the sake of economy, but it also serves a social purpose as a badge of membership. Some professions even have formal organs to set doctrine on this.

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Notes for Readers