Thursday, October 24, 2019

Politics and the English Language Essay

Eric Arthur Blair popularly known as George Orwell is known for his novels â€Å"Animal Farm† (1945) and â€Å"Nineteen-Eighty Four† (1949). He was born in British India on 1903 and he grew up to detest a person’s control over another which is typical in his writings (Microsoft Student, 2007). He wrote in 1950 the essay â€Å"Politics and the English Language† which is a confrontation of the bad writing habits of the British people that has crept into â€Å"Modern English† during his time. Orwell argues that the English language has gotten worse because of â€Å"political and economic† factors and that political collapse has also been affected by the weakening of the English language. He presented five passages from different writings which he describes as ineffective and careless and enumerated the â€Å"bad habits† of â€Å"written English† which has become common in the modern prose of that period. It also pointed out the ambiguity of language caused people to be deceived. In this essay, Orwell appeals to his readers that they can still reverse what is happening to the English language and to politics and that is to avoid the â€Å"bad habits† and to follow the rules he prescribes. The main idea of Orwell’s essay observes the four canons of â€Å"memory†, â€Å"invention†, â€Å"disposition† and â€Å"style† and its controlling idea that the deterioration of the English language is connected with the worsening of politics is a cyclical process may be true but the connection between politics and the incompetence of the English language has not been clearly established because it does not provide sufficient examples from political writings or speeches that will prove this claim. When analyzed, it can be discovered that the essay follows the four canons of â€Å"memory†, â€Å"invention†, disposition† and â€Å"style†. To start with, the essay begins by drawing upon the belief that â€Å"most people† know about the deterioration of â€Å"our civilization† and that language eventually becomes deteriorated in the process. It also includes the general knowledge of the â€Å"British rule in India†, and the bombing in Hiroshima, Japan. Next, the essay does not mention statistics or record of interviews but it employs an analysis of five passages from various writings that the author cited as well as the examples of phrases or words that have become worn-out or have lost its meaning. Orwell also translated a paragraph written in â€Å"good English† into a paragraph written in what he calls â€Å"modern English of the worst sort† which illustrated how something good can turn into bad or even worse. The result of such methods employed by the writer has been effective in understanding the essay. Another, the essay follows a logical pattern in its organization and structure. After the introductory paragraph which mentions a public belief in the essay. The second paragraph of the essay states the controlling idea that the worsening of politics and economics brings about the decline of language and it goes around in a cycle. It elaborates that this is demonstrated by the â€Å"bad habits† that have spread â€Å"by tradition and imitation† at that time. But, he lays down a solution which is to avoid those â€Å"bad habits†. The essay includes five samples of passages that use metaphors that are no longer effective and accurate from the third to the ninth paragraph. It goes on to enumerate the â€Å"bad habits† of â€Å"dying metaphors†, â€Å"operators or verbal false limbs†, â€Å"pretentious diction† and â€Å"meaningless words† of â€Å"Modern English† in the tenth to thirteenth paragraph. He goes on to give his own example of a paragraph in â€Å"good English† translated into bad â€Å"modern English† from paragraphs fourteen (14) to seventeen (17). Paragraph eighteen (18), explains how the selected passages no longer present vivid imagery and accuracy. In the same paragraph, Orwell mentions that writers use those â€Å"bad habits† because it is convenient and is â€Å"easy†. Paragraph nineteen (19) expounds on how â€Å"political writing is bad writing† by citing examples of situations as well as phrases. Paragraphs 20 to 21 continue to explain that â€Å"political language† has been used to hide the truth from the people. Paragraph 22 elucidates that one uses vague, long and ambiguous words so as to blur the details. Paragraph 23 goes back to clarify what the author has already mentioned in the second paragraph that â€Å"thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. † Orwell also recognizes that he has â€Å"committed the very faults I am protesting against. † He asserts that it is only with constant awareness of the â€Å"bad habits† that one can be liberated from it. The essay gives details on the writer’s idea that the decay of language can still be regenerated in paragraphs 24 to 26. The last paragraph recapitulates the controlling idea and the supporting ideas that have been presented in the body of the essay. Lastly, the style of the text is a combination of short and long sentences in its 27 paragraphs. The shortest sentence in the essay consists of 7 words while the longest can consist of 57 words. The average sentence length per paragraph can range from 21 to 38 words. There is a minimum of 4 sentences and a maximum of 8 sentences per paragraph. Its sentence and paragraph length suggests a formal tone that is at the same time analytical and persuasive. Although the essay follows the four canons, there are still inadequacies in the research method, and in the order of some paragraphs. First, the essay does not include interviews of people who have suffered because language was used in a deceitful way during that time of Orwell’s writing. If one has to look back to that period of World War II when this essay was probably written, there are people who survived the so called â€Å"Holocaust† that the author could have cited or interviewed. The â€Å"Holocaust† was the â€Å"almost† complete annihilation of the â€Å"Jews in Europe† by the Nazis and its allies during World War II (Bankier, 2007). The statements of Hitler before the occurrence of World War II could have been a very good example of political language used to deceive people or to hide the truth from them. In addition, the essay should have also included samples of passages that come from political writings or speeches because the readers can hardly see the connection between the degeneration of language and the political disorder without concrete examples. Out of the five sample passages in the essay, only passage (4) can be considered a political writing. Moreover, the order of some of the paragraphs is not effective. For instance, paragraph 18 which is an illumination on the â€Å"bad habits† that the five passages contain, should be placed in between paragraph 13 and 14. When the writer talks about the sample passages then he should move on to explain those and he should not mention a new topic or idea as he did in paragraphs 14 to 17. Furthermore, the second sentence of paragraph 17 is quite ambiguous. It is not at all very clear because it does not specify what those â€Å"several patches of the same kind of English† are. In conclusion, Orwell’s essay on â€Å"Politics and the English Language† follows the four canons and has achieved its purpose in persuading the readers to avoid â€Å"bad habits† of â€Å"modern English† so that they can think clearly for it is with â€Å"foolish thoughts† that language is corrupted. References Bankier, D. (2007). Holocaust. Microsoft ® Student 2008 [DVD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation. Orwell, G. (1946). Politics and the English Language. London: Horizon. Ziemke, E. F. World War II. Microsoft ® Student 2008 [DVD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation.

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