George orwell essays on language

Propaganda, on the other hand, is often quite beautifully and clearly written. When it works, it works by virtue of being simple and memorable.


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What is dangerous about propaganda is that it is misleading. It was meant to have a genuine, persuasive emotional effect, and it did. All politicians use slogans. The way we respond to these uses of language is partly conditioned by our political preferences.

The Adaptation of Language: An Analysis of Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language”

Every recent president has seemed to his opposition to have used political spin at an unprecedented and alarming level, and every party out of power believes that if it can only use language more effectively as opposed to more honestly , it will win again. Is there a set of rules we can propose for the honest use of political language that transcends ideology, and that would stand up to the often unlovely exigencies of campaigning and government in a free society? The experience of the last few years would lead me to add that in political language, function is far preferable to emotion: the words used to denote something the government does should have to do with the activity itself, not the values it is meant to embody or the feelings it is meant to activate.

The war in Iraq, yes; Operation Enduring Freedom, no. But this would get us only part of the way. Many people participate in politics through group membership, not through consuming messages delivered through the mass media. The targets of political language are the marginal players, not the committed ones. Conversely, active and widespread political participation decreases the importance of language, and thus, for good or ill, reduces the role of writers, intellectuals, and propagandists in the political system.

To my mind, an even more frightening political prospect than the corruption of language is the corruption of information. Language, especially in the age of the Internet, is accessible to everybody. Some users of language are more powerful than others, some are more honest than others, and some are more adept than others—but the various ways of speaking about politics can at least compete with each other in the public square, and we can at least hope that the more honest and clear ways will triumph in the end.

The Orwell Essay That's Even More Pertinent Than '' Right Now | HuffPost

Information, on the other hand, is much less generally accessible than words. Intellectual honesty about the gathering and use of facts and data is a riskier and more precious part of a free society than is intellectual honesty in language.

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Political language and with variations this is true of all On the novel and the essays Politics and the English Language and Notes on Nationalism. Orwell s greatest essays No Politics and the English orwell politics and the english language annotated p.

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George orwell essays english language

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