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ASSIGMENT 1Use the “article of the analysis” and make a reference to George Orwell´s essay “Politics and the English Language.” In a ten well developed sentences paragraph, summarize the article with particular focus on what speech or behavior is the focus of the allusion to Orwell. If you want to reference the essay by Orwell as well, you can include that in your paragraph. Use the citation generator to capture the MLA style citation for the article ASSIGMENT 2 Pretentious Language, Euphemisms and DoublespeakIn a well-developed paragraph (a minimum of seven sentences), compare the advice that Orwell gives in “Politics and the English Language” with one of the reference included in Section 9 (Chs 38 – 49) Include short quotations and paraphrase from each source.Both assigment well done.NO PLAGARISM
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ARTICLE TO ANALYSE
Title:
Orwellian control over the minds of some style gurus By: Oliver Kamm, Times, The
(United Kingdom), Aug 05, 2017
Database:
Newspaper Source Plus
Orwellian control over the minds of some style gurus
Full Text
Region: scot Section: News Edition: 01
“Never use the passive where you can use the active,” wrote George Orwell in Politics and
the English Language (1946). This celebrated essay, which usage pundits often cite with
approval as a guide to good writing, is overrated, misguided and mischievous. The damage
it has done to sensible discussion of English prose is especially severe in its advice to avoid
passives. The problem is not just that Orwell’s advice is bad, but that it has been adopted by
style gurus who’d be unable to recognise a passive clause even if it walked up and
introduced itself while wearing a name badge saying “Passive Clause”.
I recently cited in this column a notably dispiriting case of passive-aversion. In his new
style guide, Do I Make Myself Clear?, Sir Harold Evans denounces use of the passive
voice, which he says makes him “froth at the mouth”. The problem is that Evans’s
purported examples of passives are often in the active voice and he lacks the grammatical
knowledge to see this.
Now there is another polemicist who fulminates against passives yet is clueless about
grammar. He is Theodore Dalrymple, the social affairs commentator, whose book The
Knife Went In: Real-Life Murderers and Our Culture was reviewed in The Times last
Saturday. Dalrymple, a former prison doctor, explains the book’s title by recalling “a
prisoner’s use of the passive voice as a means of distancing himself from his own decisions,
and of persuading others of his lack of responsibility for his actions. I first noticed the
phenomenon when speaking to murderers who had stabbed someone to death and who
invariably said, ‘The knife went in’, as if it were the knife that guided the hand rather than
the hand that guided the knife.”
Oh my: Dalrymple hasn’t noticed that The knife went in is an active clause, not a passive
one. He blunders on: “I subsequently noticed that prisoners often used similar locutions …
‘The beer went mad’ or ‘The beer took over’ were phrases that alcoholics favoured, as if the
beer drank them rather than the other way round.”
The beer went mad and The beer took over aren’t passives either. The entire thesis of
Dalrymple’s book is based on a grammatical misunderstanding that neither the author nor
his publisher was able to spot. I must concede that the same criticism applies to the Times
reviewer Michael Henderson, who credulously commended Dalrymple’s “Orwellian respect
for language”, yet failed to detect that the linguistic analysis was nonsense.
Evans, Dalrymple and Henderson are all professional writers. For some reason they believe
this qualifies them to comment on grammar, when it demonstrably doesn’t. All labour under
the delusion that “passive” is a synonym for “evasive”, whereas (as Dalrymple’s examples
demonstrate, though he hasn’t realised it) the active voice can be perfectly well used to
obscure agency.
There’s particular irony in Dalrymple’s bungling, because he customarily presents himself
as a guardian of linguistic standards. In an article for the right-wing US website Taki’s
Magazine in March, he complained that “disapproval of standard grammar has become
almost an orthodoxy. In his book The Language Instinct, Professor Steven Pinker argues
that, because all forms of human language have their rules, a standard language is only a
language with an army and a navy, as it were.”
I’m doubtful Dalrymple has read this seminal and pellucid book on why language is the
realisation of an innate human faculty, or instinct, for that isn’t its argument; nor does
Professor Pinker express “disapproval of standard grammar”. Rather, he holds that complex
grammar is displayed across all human societies and in all language varieties, including
non-standard English dialects. So it’s more than a duty to note that Dalrymple doesn’t
understand the grammar of the “standard language” that he purports to defend: it’s a real
pleasure.
Source: Times, The (United Kingdom), Aug 05, 2017, p79, 1p
George Orwell
Politics and the English Language
Most people who bother with the matter at all would admit that the
English language is in a bad way, but it is generally assumed that we
cannot by conscious action do anything about it. Our civilization is
decadent and our language — so the argument runs — must inevitably
share in the general collapse. It follows that any struggle against the abuse
of language is a sentimental archaism, like preferring candles to electric
light or hansom cabs to aeroplanes. Underneath this lies the halfconscious belief that language is a natural growth and not an instrument
which we shape for our own purposes.
Now, it is clear that the decline of a language must ultimately have
political and economic causes: it is not due simply to the bad influence of
this or that individual writer. But an effect can become a cause,
reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an
intensified form, and so on indefinitely. A man may take to drink because
he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely
because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the
English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts
are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to
have foolish thoughts. The point is that the process is reversible. Modern
English, especially written English, is full of bad habits which spread by
imitation and which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary
trouble. If one gets rid of these habits one can think more clearly, and to
think clearly is a necessary first step toward political regeneration: so that
the fight against bad English is not frivolous and is not the exclusive
concern of professional writers. I will come back to this presently, and I
hope that by that time the meaning of what I have said here will have
become clearer. Meanwhile, here are five specimens of the English
language as it is now habitually written.
These five passages have not been picked out because they are
especially bad — I could have quoted far worse if I had chosen — but
because they illustrate various of the mental vices from which we now
suffer. They are a little below the average, but are fairly representative
examples. I number them so that I can refer back to them when
necessary:
1. I am not, indeed, sure whether it is not true to say that the Milton who once
seemed not unlike a seventeenth-century Shelley had not become, out of an experience
ever more bitter in each year, more alien [sic] to the founder of that Jesuit sect which
nothing could induce him to tolerate.
Professor Harold Laski (Essay in Freedom of
Expression)
2. Above all, we cannot play ducks and drakes with a native battery of idioms which
prescribes egregious collocations of vocables as the Basic put up with for tolerate, or put at
a loss for bewilder.
Professor Lancelot Hogben (Interglossia)
3. On the one side we have the free personality: by definition it is not neurotic, for it
has neither conflict nor dream. Its desires, such as they are, are transparent, for they are
just what institutional approval keeps in the forefront of consciousness; another
institutional pattern would alter their number and intensity; there is little in them that is
natural, irreducible, or culturally dangerous. But on the other side, the social bond itself is
nothing but the mutual reflection of these self-secure integrities. Recall the definition of
love. Is not this the very picture of a small academic? Where is there a place in this hall of
mirrors for either personality or fraternity?
Essay on psychology in Politics (New York)
4. All the ‘best people’ from the gentlemen’s clubs, and all the frantic fascist captains,
united in common hatred of Socialism and bestial horror at the rising tide of the mass
revolutionary movement, have turned to acts of provocation, to foul incendiarism, to
medieval legends of poisoned wells, to legalize their own destruction of proletarian
organizations, and rouse the agitated petty-bourgeoise to chauvinistic fervor on behalf of
the fight against the revolutionary way out of the crisis.
Communist pamphlet
5. If a new spirit is to be infused into this old country, there is one thorny and
contentious reform which must be tackled, and that is the humanization and galvanization
of the B.B.C. Timidity here will bespeak canker and atrophy of the soul. The heart of
Britain may be sound and of strong beat, for instance, but the British lion’s roar at present
is like that of Bottom in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream — as gentle as any
sucking dove. A virile new Britain cannot continue indefinitely to be traduced in the eyes or
rather ears, of the world by the effete languors of Langham Place, brazenly masquerading
as ‘standard English’. When the Voice of Britain is heard at nine o’clock, better far and
infinitely less ludicrous to hear aitches honestly dropped than the present priggish,
inflated, inhibited, school-ma’amish arch braying of blameless bashful mewing maidens!
Letter in Tribune
Each of these passages has faults of its own, but, quite apart from
avoidable ugliness, two qualities are common to all of them. The first is
staleness of imagery; the other is lack of precision. The writer either has a
meaning and cannot express it, or he inadvertently says something else,
or he is almost indifferent as to whether his words mean anything or not.
This mixture of vagueness and sheer incompetence is the most marked
characteristic of modern English prose, and especially of any kind of
political writing. As soon as certain topics are raised, the concrete melts
into the abstract and no one seems able to think of turns of speech that
are not hackneyed: prose consists less and less of words chosen for the
sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like
the sections of a prefabricated hen-house. I list below, with notes and
examples, various of the tricks by means of which the work of proseconstruction is habitually dodged.
A newly invented metaphor assists thought
by evoking a visual image, while on the other hand a metaphor which is
technically ‘dead’ (e. g. iron resolution) has in effect reverted to being an
ordinary word and can generally be used without loss of vividness. But in
between these two classes there is a huge dump of worn-out metaphors
which have lost all evocative power and are merely used because they save
people the trouble of inventing phrases for themselves. Examples
are: Ring the changes on, take up the cudgel for, toe the line, ride
roughshod over, stand shoulder to shoulder with, play into the hands of,
no axe to grind, grist to the mill, fishing in troubled waters, on the order
of the day, Achilles’ heel, swan song, hotbed. Many of these are used
without knowledge of their meaning (what is a ‘rift’, for instance?), and
incompatible metaphors are frequently mixed, a sure sign that the writer
is not interested in what he is saying. Some metaphors now current have
been twisted out of their original meaning without those who use them
even being aware of the fact. For example, toe the line is sometimes
written as tow the line. Another example is the hammer and the anvil,
now always used with the implication that the anvil gets the worst of it. In
real life it is always the anvil that breaks the hammer, never the other way
about: a writer who stopped to think what he was saying would avoid
perverting the original phrase.
DYING METAPHORS.
These save the trouble
of picking out appropriate verbs and nouns, and at the same time pad
each sentence with extra syllables which give it an appearance of
symmetry. Characteristic phrases are render inoperative, militate
against, make contact with, be subjected to, give rise to, give grounds
for, have the effect of, play a leading part (role) in, make itself felt, take
effect, exhibit a tendency to, serve the purpose of, etc., etc. The keynote is
the elimination of simple verbs. Instead of being a single word, such
as break, stop, spoil, mend, kill, a verb becomes a phrase, made up of a
noun or adjective tacked on to some general-purpose verb such as prove,
serve, form, play, render. In addition, the passive voice is wherever
possible used in preference to the active, and noun constructions are used
instead of gerunds (by examination of instead of by examining). The
range of verbs is further cut down by means of the -ize and deformations, and the banal statements are given an appearance of
profundity by means of the not un- formation. Simple conjunctions and
prepositions are replaced by such phrases as with respect to, having
OPERATORS OR VERBAL FALSE LIMBS.
regard to, the fact that, by dint of, in view of, in the interests of, on the
hypothesis that; and the ends of sentences are saved by anticlimax by
such resounding commonplaces as greatly to be desired, cannot be left
out of account, a development to be expected in the near future,
deserving of serious consideration, brought to a satisfactory
conclusion, and so on and so forth.
Words like phenomenon, element,
individual (as noun), objective, categorical, effective, virtual, basic,
primary, promote, constitute, exhibit, exploit, utilize, eliminate,
liquidate, are used to dress up a simple statement and give an air of
scientific impartiality to biased judgements. Adjectives like epochmaking, epic, historic, unforgettable, triumphant, age-old, inevitable,
inexorable, veritable, are used to dignify the sordid process of
international politics, while writing that aims at glorifying war usually
takes on an archaic colour, its characteristic words being: realm, throne,
chariot, mailed fist, trident, sword, shield, buckler, banner, jackboot,
clarion. Foreign words and expressions such as cul de sac, ancien regime,
deus ex machina, mutatis mutandis, status quo, gleichschaltung,
weltanschauung, are used to give an air of culture and elegance. Except
for the useful abbreviations i. e., e. g. and etc., there is no real need for
any of the hundreds of foreign phrases now current in the English
language. Bad writers, and especially scientific, political, and sociological
writers, are nearly always haunted by the notion that Latin or Greek
words are grander than Saxon ones, and unnecessary words like expedite,
ameliorate,
predict,
extraneous,
deracinated,
clandestine,
subaqueous, and hundreds of others constantly gain ground from their
Anglo-Saxon numbers(1). The jargon peculiar to Marxist writing (hyena,
hangman, cannibal, petty bourgeois, these gentry, lackey, flunkey, mad
dog, White Guard, etc.) consists largely of words translated from Russian,
German, or French; but the normal way of coining a new word is to use
Latin or Greek root with the appropriate affix and, where necessary, the
size formation. It is often easier to make up words of this kind
(deregionalize, impermissible, extramarital, non-fragmentary and so
forth) than to think up the English words that will cover one’s meaning.
The result, in general, is an increase in slovenliness and vagueness.
PRETENTIOUS
DICTION.
In certain kinds of writing, particularly in
art criticism and literary criticism, it is normal to come across long
passages which are almost completely lacking in meaning(2). Words
like romantic, plastic, values, human, dead, sentimental, natural,
vitality, as used in art criticism, are strictly meaningless, in the sense that
they not only do not point to any discoverable object, but are hardly ever
MEANINGLESS WORDS.
expected to do so by the reader. When one critic writes, ‘The outstanding
feature of Mr. X’s work is its living quality’, while another writes, ‘The
immediately striking thing about Mr. X’s work is its peculiar deadness’,
the reader accepts this as a simple difference opinion. If words
like black and white were
involved,
instead
of
the
jargon
words dead and living, he would see at once that language was being used
in an improper way. Many political words are similarly abused. The
word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies
‘something not desirable’. The words democracy, socialism, freedom,
patriotic, realistic, justice have each of them several different meanings
which cannot be reconciled with one another. In the case of a word
like democracy, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to
make one is resisted from all sides. It is almost universally felt that when
we call a country democratic we are praising it: consequently the
defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear
that they might have to stop using that word if it were tied down to any
one meaning. Words of this kind are often used in a consciously dishonest
way. That is, the person who uses them has his own private definition, but
allows his hearer to think he means something quite different. Statements
like Marshal Petain was a true patriot, The Soviet press is the freest in
the world, The Catholic Church is opposed to persecution, are almost
always made with intent to deceive. Other words used in variable
meanings, in most cases more or less dishonestly, are: class, totalitarian,
science, progressive, reactionary, bourgeois, equality.
Now that I have made this catalogue of swindles and perversions, let
me give another example of the kind of writing that they lead to. This time
it must of its nature be an imaginary one. I am going to translate a
passage of good English into modern English of the worst sort. Here is a
well-known verse from Ecclesiastes:
I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to
the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet
favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.
Here it is in modern English:
Objective considerations of contemporary phenomena compel the conclusion that
success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with
innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be
taken into account.
This is a parody, but not a very gross one. Exhibit (3) above, for
instance, contains several patches of the same kind of English. It will be
seen that I have not made a full translation. The beginning and ending of
the sentence follow the original meaning fairly closely, but in the middle
the concrete illustrations — race, battle, bread — dissolve into the vague
phrases ‘success or failure in competitive activities’. This had to be so,
because no modern writer of the kind I am discussing — no one capable of
using phrases like ‘objective considerations of contemporary phenomena’
— would ever tabulate his thoughts in that precise and detailed way. The
whole tendency of modern prose is away from concreteness. Now analyze
these two sentences a little more closely. The first contains forty-nine
words but only sixty syllables, and all its words are those of everyday life.
The second contains thirty-eight words of ninety syllables: eighteen of
those words are from Latin roots, and one from Greek. The first sentence
contains six vivid images, and only one phrase (‘time and chance’) that
could be called vague. The second contains not a single fresh, arresting
phrase, and in spite of its ninety syllables it gives only a shortened version
of the meaning contained in the first. Yet without a doubt it is the second
kind of sentence that is gaining ground in modern English. I do not want
to exaggerate. This kind of writing is not yet universal, and outcrops of
simplicity will occur here and there in the worst-written page. Still, if you
or I were told to write a few lines on the uncertainty of human fortu …
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