A Discussion on George Orwell

December 3, 2016 English Language

The English language is broken and misused. Orwell tells us ???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??? (Orwell p. 529).* This line symbolizes what most of Orwell??™s piece is about proving it to be a clear thesis. Orwell criticizes Modern English for its bad and inaccurate use of language and words. The effect can become the cause of ???bad English???. We copy each other when we speak and write; therefore, bad habits are spread by imitating each other as Orwell tells. Instead of “foolish thoughts” being a result of language, language has become a result of “foolish thoughts???. He goes onto say that, vagueness and loss of meaning is the most evident characteristic of English writing. There is a lack of imagery and the figurative language no longer gives a connection to images and ???concrete thoughts???. Orwell declares that the destruction of the English language has come from political causes and economic causes. He argues that the political writers of modern times use vocabulary that isn??™t precise and necessary and the result is a lack of precision and a forming of extreme vagueness. Orwell tells us in modern time it is especially true that ?????¦political writing is bad writing??? (Orwell p. 536). One of the main points of Orwell??™s argument is that we overuse many different parts of the English language. Orwell states that what is wrong with the English language does not have to deal with grammar or syntax, it is our use of overindulgent or pretentious words that can be simplified with short English words that already exist, the over use of metaphors, similes, or other figures of speech that we are used to seeing, operators, and meaningless words. Orwell argues that we should not use metaphors that we have already used and are used to seeing in print. Orwell gives good examples of overused metaphors that most people see in daily writing. He argues that through these mistakes our writing loses meaning and becomes vague. He gives us rules later in his argument to show how we can fix our writing and speech. The effect of him including a diverse amount of examples shows how he tries to prove his argument throughout his piece.
???1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. 2. Never us a long word where a short one will do. 3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out. 4. Never use the passive where you can use the active. 5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent. 6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous??? (Orwell p. 538-39)
Throughout his piece Orwell gives great examples of every reason, he believes that English is broken. His rhetoric arrangement is shown through this, exemplification being the main arrangement of his piece by providing all these specific cases he references throughout his piece. One example is when he references five short passages that exemplify what Orwell believes to be ???bad English???. He also breaks apart his main idea of his piece into categories. This shows the arrangement of his piece to also be classification and division because he divides his piece into distinct sections: ???Dying Metaphors???, ???Operators of Verbal False Limbs???, ???Pretentious Dictation???, and ???Meaningless Words???. This helps get his argument across, because he needs examples of ???bad English??? in his essay, without it his piece would have no value to it, because it would be Orwell just preaching what he believes. He tells how even he used ???bad English??? in his essay showing the irony of his speech, how we cannot escape from using ???bad English??? in our writing, but we can work to fix our usage of ???bad English???. Orwell??™s essay tries to warn us of what we do wrong within our writings and speeches. He tells English is becoming pretentious and overcomplicated resulting in a loss of meaning within our writing and vagueness forming in our writing from our lack of imagery, and the language no longer giving a connection to thoughts and the images we should be conveying through our writing.

* (One thing we must consider when examining Orwell??™s essay is that Orwell is British, and therefore reflects mostly Britannic English, not always American English and must be kept in mind when analyzing this piece, because they are two very different dialects.)

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