A reaction paper to George Orwell's essay
Analysis of some provisions of the famous essay by George Orwell, "Politics and the english language" about the bad influence of politics on the english, political writers use profanity, useless words, archaisms, distorting the real face of a problem.
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Lahti University of Applied Sciences Report Faculty of Business Studies
A reaction paper to a George Orwell's essay
Name: Evgeniya Aksenkina
“Most people who bother with the matter at all would admit that the English language is in a bad way”, begins George Orwell's famous essay, "Politics and the English Language", which was written in 1946. In his essay Orwell writes about bad influence of politics on English language. Author says that English language became full of bad habits such as pretentious diction, complexity of sentences' structure, useless words, worn-out metaphors etc. Writer gives different examples of typical badly written texts of those times. I strongly agree with some of Orwell's ideas, but I cannot say that everything he writes is true. Political writers do cover some terrible issues with fancy and pointless words, they do lose the ability to think while writing as they use template constructions, but I don't think that all the given “rules” of how to write using a good English are right, and archaisms are not always a bad idea.
One of the main ideas of the essay is that politicians try to cover some terrible things, which are done by governments; they try to “defense the indefensible”. So texts become full of euphemisms and vagueness, and people do not understand the real face of a problem; they see only what journalists or politicians let them see. And I do agree with this. For example, horrible and ruthless murders of civilians in Ukraine in newspapers are called just “violence”, so people all around the world do not even have a clue on what is really going on in that concrete part of the world. That is why the language becomes spoilt with all those useless and pompous expressions, which blur the reality.
George Orwell in his essay writes another fascinating idea: “But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought”. Author says that more and more people use bad language as they copy all those “fancy” constrictions. Even decent clever people can sink in a sea of debased English because they imitate the nonsense, which they read, as they think it is very convenient. I feel that it is true. Moreover, I can give an example of such a thoughtless writing. I have recently found a special “universal code of speeches” on some Internet site. This code consists of four columns and a lot of lines. There are different expressions on every line. And a person, who needs to make a speech, can take expression from any line of every column. Different combinations can make a forty minutes long speech. But those expressions are faceless and plain. For example: “Thus, a new model of organizational activity provides a wide range of specialists participated in the formation of new proposals”, or “Daily experience shows that the further development of different forms of activity allows you to perform important tasks for the development of appropriate conditions for activation”. (Универсальный код речей 2004). All those sentences make practically no sense, I composed them without any thinking process.
However, even if Orwell talks about some really good ideas, he has some thoughts, which I cannot consider to be wise or true. Writer says: “Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent“ (Orwell 1946). In my opinion, jargon and scientific words can be used in writing if the main audience is not ordinary people. And some specific expressions can describe a process more accurately than an everyday word.
Another thing I cannot agree with is that people need to stop using archaisms. Our history is hidden in those archaisms. Sometimes it is good to use old phrases just to remember origin of some words. Also it can help to make a words' flow not that plain and dry.
In conclusion, the particular essay has a lot of reasonable and good ideas, which can be used in a modern language to make it better. However, there are still some points, which can seem a little old-fashioned or just baseless. But still this work gives a huge impulse to keep English language decent and clean.
orwell english language political
1. Универсальный код речей. 2004. "Северо-западная Народная Академия"
2. George Orwell, 1946. Politics and the English Language.
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