By June 10, 2013 0 Comments

The Destruction of Words

I posted a status update a couple of days ago but I somehow forgot to include the body text.  In my post, I referred to a quote from the book ‘1984’ by George Orwell, specifically referring to a conversation which occurs between staff members in the ministry of truth (ministry of information – ironically dubbed as ministry of truth)

The topic was the release of the latest edition dictionary which contained a far lesser number of words than previous versions.  Winston, the central figure in the book, looked on helplessly as one staff member expressed great satisfaction with the purging of words from the English language “It is a beautiful thing, the destruction of words…” he states candidly.

I never really understood the consequence and power of language and words until now in my later years.  I learnt that words as simple as they may be, are in fact a powerful tool of both expression and impression.  The fewer the words at our disposal, the more limited our communication and the lesser our capacity to form thought.  Thought, the very foundation of free will and imagination is the essence of life and man’s building block.  If we are bound by constricting and limited forms of expression, we are empty vessels, lacking knowledge, individuality and reason, in other words – prime candidates for a totalitarian reality.

I was on the train when I saw the banner above and I decided to take a photo.  It hurts me that a very high proportion of the English do not speak a second language.  Even higher is the number of English who do not speak English properly in the first place.  They now use abbreviations and non-existent terms even in formal communications.  I once received a letter from a conveyancing solicitor where he stated in writing “…I would of liked to have been informed about…”   Would ‘of’ is slowly replacing ‘would have’ and it is slowly becoming the norm to use such abbreviations.  The mobile phone world and internet chat did not help either as abbreviations are now considered the norm and an accepted part of society.

If we were to exclude conspiracy theories and simply by using logic, we can conclude that the English language is being altered but in a manner that raises concern.

As the language continues to be abbreviated, altered and ‘destroyed’ we will inevitably and eventually lose far greater than we could possibly imagine.

Indeed you are right Mr. Orwell, knowledge is power.  I have observed that power is in the hands of those to whom we succumb.

I am not English by origin and so I consider myself ‘excused’ of failing in grammar and other aspects of the English language.  I am aware of serious flaws in my writing, but at least I try and I will always continue to try.

 

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