Newspeak

Article

July 6, 2022

Newspeak is a fictional language from George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984. In the novel, Newspeak is the language of totalitarian Oceania, mutilated by party ideology and party-bureaucratic lexical turns, in which words lose their original meaning and mean something opposite (for example, "War is peace"). Newspeak is described in the novel as "the only language in the world whose vocabulary is shrinking every year." Orwell included in the novel, in the form of an appendix, an essay, "On Newspeak," which explains the basic principles of language construction. Newspeak according to Orwell is formed from the English language by a significant reduction and simplification of its vocabulary and grammatical rules. The language in the novel serves the totalitarian regime of the Ingsots party and is designed to make it impossible for an oppositional way of thinking (“thought-crime”) or speech by eliminating words or expressions that describe the concepts of freedom, revolution, etc. One of the characters in the novel says this about the shrinking vocabulary of the new language: "It's wonderful to destroy words." English in Newspeak is called Oldspeak. Oldspeak in the novel was to be completely replaced by Newspeak by 2050. The model for building Newspeak was the official documents of the modern Orwellian totalitarian regimes of the Third Reich and the Stalinist USSR. Newspeak's origins are in "Basic English," a planned language that Orwell promoted from 1942 to 1944, later rejecting in his essay "Politics and the English Language." In this work, he criticized the quality of his contemporary English, citing examples of disappearing metaphors, pretentious eloquence and meaningless words, leading to blurring of the content of concepts and a lack of logic in statements. At the conclusion of this essay, Orwell writes: If you don't know what fascism is, how can you fight against it? One cannot take such nonsense on faith, but one must realize that modern political chaos is associated with the degradation of the language, and then, perhaps, it will be possible to make some improvements and prevent the impending demise. ... Political language (this can be attributed to almost all political parties, starting with the conservatives