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Luca on language

on Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:48 am
“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.”


In this passage, Syme is explaining to Winston that he thinks Newspeak, the language being conceived by the party, will eradicate thoughtcrime. By eliminating words such as synonyms and antonyms of different roots, the Party is trying to narrow the range of thought of the peoples. Essentially, once completely implemented, there will be no way of expressing the individual self and the party will have complete control over the individual. This phenomenon is called Linguistic relativity, it is the theory that the structure of a language affects its speakers' cognition, it controls what we can or cannot talk about, but it also controls how we talk about them. Orwell seems to be in agreement to this theory arguing that that limitation of language leads to the limitation of the speakers thought. He tries to convey through the book that the power of having a diverse vocabulary is immense and should not be taken for granted. This may be why Winston is compelled to write in his journal, to preserve his language and intern his knowledge. Orwell wrote other essays on this same topic going even further by saying that the modern English language is being degraded AND it will lead to our civilizations downfall. This quote really stuck with me because it causes me to think whether there were thought I couldn’t think because of the language I speak?
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YOURE WRONG (have you even read the book???)

on Fri Nov 10, 2017 7:27 pm
spoiler alert guys!:


JUST KIDDING

GREAT ANALYSIS clown

This is a really interesting insight and I think it deserves more attention. If people do not have the vocabulary to express disgreement, how can they disagree? Maybe instead of expressing diagreement, people who do not agree with how things are done will just turn to violent acts of rebellion. If language is a reflexion of culture, this shows that culture is disppearing from Oceania over the years. Additionally, the inability to epress one's own opinions because of a lack of vocabulary prevents people from exploring a personal identity. In conclusion, it seems that limiting vocabulary is an effective means of controlling a population.

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Re: Luca on language

on Mon Nov 13, 2017 5:42 pm
*** JUSTINE ***
I think you made a good analysis towards the subject. Indeed the vocabulary we have to express ourselves is a very important thing to keep to be able to stay human. If Newspeak would take over, like you said the party would be able to control its population more because the people will become robots and won't be able to express and defend themselves. Good thinking on the fact that Winston writes in his diary to keep his language and decides himself to stay educated and not be fully controlled by the party, I totally agree with you on that theory.
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Re: Luca on language

on Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:10 pm
Good job, Luca! (Not sure what Maeve is talking about, there...)

This also brings to mind the "speech acts theory" proposed by Judith Butler. The idea is similar to linguistic relativity in that it discusses how language shapes our reality. There are certain words that create a reality when they are spoken. For example, when a couple says "I do" at their wedding ceremony - these words create a reality that wasn't there before. Many people believe that gender falls into this same category, in that the words "male" and "female" create a reality that wasn't there before the word was attributed to the object. This just adds to the idea that language can shape our reality, and that it already does.

I read a super interesting TedTalk article on how language shapes our psychology and ultimately even our behaviour. Here is an excerpt:

Navigation and Pormpuraawans
In Pormpuraaw, an Australian Aboriginal community, you wouldn’t refer to an object as on your “left” or “right,” but rather as “northeast” or “southwest,” writes Stanford psychology professor Lera Boroditsky (an expert in linguistic-cultural connections) in the Wall Street Journal. About a third of the world’s languages discuss space in these kinds of absolute terms rather than the relative ones we use in English, according to Boroditsky. “As a result of this constant linguistic training,” she writes, “speakers of such languages are remarkably good at staying oriented and keeping track of where they are, even in unfamiliar landscapes.” On a research trip to Australia, Boroditsky and her colleague found that Pormpuraawans, who speak Kuuk Thaayorre, not only knew instinctively in which direction they were facing, but also always arranged pictures in a temporal progression from east to west.

Here is the link for those of you who would like to know more! https://ideas.ted.com/5-examples-of-how-the-languages-we-speak-can-affect-the-way-we-think/
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Re: Luca on language

on Fri Nov 17, 2017 11:16 pm
Hey Luca, I think you're analysis is spot on and the phenomenon you're drawing attention to is very interesting. I find it fascinating how this is ultimately another tool the party is using to try and control the thoughts of Oceanians. In a way, it's like they are trying to reduce the words the people can use, down to the bits of code a modern machine would need. Culture and language, which go hand in hand, is something so innately human, as Maeve brought up earlier. With culture in Oceania revolving entirely around the party, I think we could say that the creation of newspeak is the last step in the dehumanization of the people of Oceania. Either way, great analysis! Thanks Luca.
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Re: Luca on language

on Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:28 am
Hola Luca, great job on your analysis! What you said about why Winston writes in his book despite his knowledge of the consequences is, like Nick said, spot on. I feel like this control that the Party has on the population is even worth than telescreens and microphones that are watching them at all times. It is another proof that the Party does control Oceania.
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