14 December 2017
The Decline of the English Language
Clarity and simplicity, the only two factors that keep it real; at least the only two factors that help readers understand the truth. Politics is always a hard thing to talk, follow, express and even educate yourself about. In the essay written by George Orwell, Politics and the English Language, he talks about how the English language has deteriorated into a language of dying metaphors, verbal false limbs, pretentious dictions and meaningless words. Orwell writes that ready-made phrases are the main connection between politics and the decline of the English language. According the Orwell, using these phrases take no effort at all, in fact they somehow do the thinking for the writer (1946).
Orwell points out, “our civilization is decadent” and so must be our language (1946). Modern day English is full of bad habits, which no doubt is spreading by imitation. If people are willing to try to remove these bad habits from their writing, as Orwell believes, people can begin to think more clearly, therefore it is a step towards “political regeneration” (1946). If people have to stop and think of what they want to write about and think about what are the best words to use, that is when the mind can cut through all the wague, stale, and “prefabricated” phrases. (Orwell 1946). In Orwell’s terms, language is a tool to express, and should not be used to conceal or prevent one’s thoughts; he also indicates in his essay about the present day political chaos that it should be recognized and is connected to the decay of language (1946). Political language is meant to deceive, make lies sound like the truth.
Orwell is stating a lot in his essay, which seems to be true enough, but somehow using big words and phrases should be left out of the everyday speech and written English. However, there are a few that he mentioned that most people recognize instantly, such as “epic or historic” that do have a place in our society, with others and does not come off to me as “pretentious”. I believe that as long as there are classes and teachers to steer us away from the kind of writing Orwell written about, the English language can improve.