Newspeak (or, the destruction of words)

“We’re destroying words- scores of them, by the hundreds, everyday. We’re cutting down language to the bone…. It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. Of course, the great wastage is in verbs and adjectives, but there are hundreds of nouns that can be got rid of as well. After all what justification is there for words that are opposites of other words? … If you have a word like “good”, what use if there for a word like “bad”? “Ungood” will do just as well.” Or again, if you want a stronger version of “good”, what sense is there in having a whole string of vague useless words like “excellent”, “splendid”, and the rest of them? “Plusgood” covers the meaning…”

This is an excerpt from George Orwell s dystopian novel “1984”. It features government neglect, extortion, unbelievable sorrows. But the scene above was the most grievous to me. It was spoke by a character named Syme, who works with the government (Ingsoc – English Socialism, or “Big Brother) to create a language for the new age. “Newspeak”. Efficient. TERRIFYING.

Our souls live in words. We cannot be defined by “good” and “ungood”. We are too complex. We are not “unsimple” , for that could mean “mystic”, “vague”, “reserved”, “introverted”, “condescending”, or any combination of them.

Language cannot die.

No art, no music could feed us if it were confine to such terms.

Language cannot die, we cannot allow it.

If we were not expressed, not loved or being shown love by language in art- we would be base, miserable creatures indeed.


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