The Need for Simplification of the English Language as Explained in Politics And The English Language” by George Orwell

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In his piece “Politics And The English Language”, George Orwell, best known for his allegorical satire Animal Farm and dystopian novel 1984 (Orwell), makes his case that modern day English is “ugly and inaccurate”, and must be simplified in order to be perceived as necessary dialect. He also adds that many modern day pieces have two commonalities, one being the staleness of imagery and the second being the lack of precision. Next, he gives examples of how writers, especially when dealing with politics, have a variety of the same tactics and have lead to “having a meaning and cannot express it”. These tricks include dying metaphors, operators or verbal false limbs, pretentious diction and meaningless words. The abuse of these tactics has lead to “vagueness and sheer incompetence”. He continues by suggesting eliminating long words where short ones will do, and never use passive language because active language will be more effective. Furthermore, one may argue that language is simply an expression of current social conditions and that metaphors such as “explore every avenue” or “leave no stone unturned” still serve a purpose, but Orwell states these dying metaphors can, and should, be terminated if one would interest themselves in wiping them out and the people have a choice to change language (Practical Argument p. 787). In short, if we are able to simplify our English and change those bad habits, it will lead to active language. Throughout his argument, Orwell demonstrates several examples of logical appeal. However, his most compelling argument is stated near the beginning of his piece. He opens by showing five examples of what he considers to illustrate “mental vices which we now suffer” (Practical Argument, p.779). Orwell wan... ... middle of paper ... ...g level”. After reading both arguments, it solidifies that each article reinforces each other’s point about language. However, Gordon does not seem to come off as strong and harsh on the issue as Orwell. While the majority of the audience may feel offended of his critique, Orwell’s argument to simplify English has much credibility. Despite his heavy criticism and his authoritative tone, it is clearly evident that the excessive use of verbiage and meaningless phrases has corrupted much of modern day English. Perhaps it is necessary to take into consideration of what clearer English could achieve if applied. After all, if we are able to simplify our language, we are set free from the foolish dialect that is perceived by Orwell as “stale”(p.788). Perhaps after taking in Orwell’s argument, the remaining option is to apply to everyday life and see the results.

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