Essay on Orwell's Insight into the Modern Day English Language

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Wesleyan University
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George Orwell a British writer presents an interesting insight into the modern day English language. He stipulates that the language is in a speedy collapse downhill and everyone seems to be in agreement and content that nothing can be done about it. The huge significance of language in politics is undisputable, but interestingly, the same characters in politics are high responsible for language manipulation. The downhill spiral of the English language has been fueled a belief that language evolves with civilization. The written language has seen tremendous bashing over recent times, and disheartening is the fact that it has generally been accepted as okay. The acceptance by people that they are not good in the language constitutes ignorance. The counter effect of their ignorance towards the language is a lack of proper communication and hence ignorant and foolish ideas. The decline of the language cannot be blamed on writers alone as political and economic players have done manipulations to the language for it to fit their setting. This paper will explore the structure of the language as it currently is and how the situation can be mitigated or reversed.

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One of the widest spread challenge in the language as at now is vagueness in writing. A common problem in writing is staleness in imagery. In any piece of writing, imagery goes an extra mile in trying to bring out the concept or idea being discussed. The staleness in imagery means that the writer might have very good ideas but fail to bring them out clearly or unintentionally make a reader understand a completely different thing. Saddening, is the fact that this trait has become rampant and most people have chosen to be ignorant and indifferent about it. It makes one question the need for the writing if the writer is not willing to strive hard enough to be clearly understood. The lack of precision in writing is a detrimental aspect as far as communication is concerned. Political and economic players, as mentioned earlier, have taken it upon themselves to adversely manipulate the language to fit their explanations and points of view. They, however, remain oblivious to the fact that through the manipulation, the precision of the English language is lost and different people are bound to understand different things from the same statement. The prose form of the language is lost and words are not chosen for their meaning but rather how best they fit the situation at hand.

The beauty of metaphors in language has been corroded immensely. Metaphors are employed in a speech to bring a visual image of what the speaker is referring to, and hence enhanced understanding. The beauty within metaphor is brought out by the speaker being creative enough to come up with their own metaphors while in speech depending on the context of the speech. Unfortunately, people have continued to wear out the same old metaphors by using them over and over again in distinct contexts rendering them vague in terms of creating a visual image. This has had a trickle-down effect of some metaphors being used to mean a different thing from what they actually depict. These are indications that writers are not actually paying attention to what they are writing as a writer who does would easily detect a wrong use of a metaphor.

There has been an interesting approach to the use of verbs that has completely changed the language in current times. The use of simple verbs has been replaced with phrases consisting of noun constructions. The use of verbs has been further diminished by the use of ize and de- in the formation of verbs. Important to note is that most of these formed verbs have alternative simple verbs that can be used. The modern day language users are using the formed verbs as a show of creativity whereas there is actually no creativity. The simple verbs can still be used and they would make the writing or speech more clear and precise. Simple conjunctions have also taken a hit and are being replaced with phrases such as "by the fact that" and "in view of." The use of these phrases in the place of conjunctions is making writings and speech seem wordier and they actually are.

The use of foreign words in the English language had been applied sparingly before to be able to accommodate the culture aspect of other languages. In modern times, especially science writers and speakers, these foreign words have increased and are actually being considered grander and more stylish for use in the language. In fact, currently there is no need for the foreign words in the language but those who are poor in English prefer using them to appear smart and stylish. Greek words have especially taken a lot of root within the English language and have generally been accepted by most people. Words translated or formed from Russian, German or French languages are frequently being used in speech and writing instead of thinking of an alternative English word.

In art criticism and literary criticism, there has been rampant use of meaningless words. Adjectives are some of the words that have been employed in art criticism without generating any meaning. The adjectives have to point to something in particular for them to generate any meaning. In the criticism pieces this aspect has been completely ignored and words like "romantic and sentimental" are being employed without pointing to particular nouns. This renders them vague in the context in question. Words have also been employed in a way that gives them variable meanings which make it confusing to readers. Words like democracy that have been used frequently in political settings have very diverse meanings depending on different perspectives. The meanings of such words are restricted by social status religion and cultural practices. The employment of such a word in speech leaves a gap and the meaning is not clearly understood. It is important to note that a word is rendered meaningless through the way it has been used either in speech or writing.

Modern writing has moved away from the use of simple words with direct meaning and has adopted a way of writing where words are arranged just to fit into each other without considering the meaning of the whole statement. Considerations of the image created by such statements have been completely disregarded. The use of simple words with a direct meaning in a sentence ensures that the end statement is meaningful and elaborate. The modern prose form has encouraged the use of jargons with Latin and Greek roots in an arranged way such that they fit into each other without considering the meaning of the end statement.

The use of phrases like "in my opinion" and "I think" has made writers relax and not have to strive to be creative. These statements always make things as every word can fit in a particular piece regardless of the context being discussed. The phrases make the writing very objective and therefore any argument can be fit in. This trait makes the writer be less engaged in trying to pass out meaningful information or argument and encourages them to just write the thoughts that come to their minds.

In the course of speech or writing, the use of stale metaphors saves the writer or speaker a lot of mental effort. This, in turn, risks the meaning that should be passed. These trends are being promoted for the purposes of sounding smart at the expense of being meaningful and informative. Interestingly, the meaning of the piece becomes vague, not just for the reader but also to the writer or speaker. A lot of metaphors are also being employed in speech. The purpose of a metaphor is to create a visual image. The use of so many of them within the same context makes them clash and squash the intended meaning. The lack of meaning and creativity makes the writer unable to create appropriate visual images. This actually means that the writer is not thinking as far as whatever they are writing is concerned. This approach shows a writer who wants to write from just one angle that suits them while completely disregarding the other. The connection between politics and language is best depicted in this aspect. From a political perspective, one will approach the speech from one angle that is favorable to them while completely oblivious of any other point of view of the context in question.

This modern type of speech has turned human beings into machines that produce appropriate sounds when required to. This indicates that the speaker has perfected the art of making appropriate utterances that fit the context in question. The brain is completely eliminated from the process and the speech has no aspect of the thoughts of the speaker. In fact, through time, a speaker might get accustomed to speaking in particular contexts he might get to a point where he makes the speech while completely oblivious to what he is saying. The words just come out because they have been framed in his mind over time and he just relays them whenever he is required to. This form of speech has enabled people to hide issues that might not auger well with some people within their speech. The deviation from the use of simple words with direct meanings into phraseology enables the speakers to hide meanings that might not be pleasant to all behind the phrases. This provides comfort for them within the vague language they use and listeners are always left confused as distinct people will derive distinct meanings from the speeches.

The greatest enemy to language is insincerity. Insincerity is a common aspect of politics. As mentioned earlier, politics and language go hand in hand. Political players will give speeches with a lot of insincerity. As a result of fear of being considered a liar, they opt for vague and meaningless language. They are insincere and they would not want to express their real emotions and beliefs as it would not work in their favor as far as politics is concerned. The vague and meaningless language provides a safe haven for them and saves them the efforts of passing on the real meaning of what they are saying. An interesting consideration is whether thoughts corrupt language or language corrupts thoughts. Taking the case of insincerity, it is evident that thoughts corrupt language. Language can corrupt thoughts too. Interesting listeners to these insincere people will derive some meaning from their speeches. That is a direct case of thoughts corrupted by language since they end up having thoughts that are completely divergent from the truth. Hopefully, the decline in language is a situation that can be rectified. Through intervention by small factions of language conscious individuals can gradually influence people to employ their thoughts and creativity in speech and writing.

The first step is a strong defense of the English language. By defense, it does not mean that people should be forced to structure their speech in a certain way. It means that people should employ language in a manner that reduces vagueness and attaches meaning to each and every word. The defense of the language would involve sensitization of speakers and writer about ways in which they might be inadvertently employing vague language in their speeches and writings. People should be encouraged to strive to bring out the meaning of their speech through language that enables the creation of a mental picture of what is being said. Some guidelines could be employed to try and tackle the situation. One is to never use any phrase of the style of language that one is used to seeing in print of hearing others say. One should try to be creative and come up with figures of language that have not been used before depending on the context of the speech or writing. Another measure is to never use a long word or phrase as an alternative to a small word with direct meaning. This would make sure that meaning is relayed immediately in the course of the speech. If there is a possibility of...

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