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Originality and the Human Machine

on Other Worlds

by Connor Ko

1 hour, 58 minutes ago

I was a bit skeptical when first reading through Orwell’s assertions about the collapse of the English language. Even at first glance of the five passages he chose to dissect and reprimand, I could not detect […]

Get to the Point

on Other Worlds

by Christopher Jenkins

5 hours, 17 minutes ago

I found George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language” to be quite intriguing. At first glance, Orwell’s piece seemed to be a scathing review of all aspects of Modern English. By critiquing other’s writing, I assumed Orwell to be a conceited writer who held everyone else's writing to his own standards. As I continued to read through the dense material, I started to realize that Orwell’s analysis of Modern English was instead enlightening. He pointed out that including unnecessary phrases in one’s writing (a tactic many writers/speakers/politicians use) blurs the meaning behind the actual words. This can be seen when politicians blend foreign phrases together during speeches to hide the meaning of what they are actually saying. Getting back to the article, I found Orwell’s rules for writing effectively to be particularly meaningful because I employ the techniques he specifically addresses to avoid while writing. For example, I use the passive voice where I should use the active voice, I use foreign phrases instead of using an everyday English equivalent, and I avoid cutting out words when I should cut them out. Not only did his guidelines help me realize that I could vastly improve the clarity of my writing, but he addresses a greater point in saying that the writers society has gotten lazy as a whole. He makes a crucial point when he says writers need to be focused in on their writing, so to avoid the mistakes that they have become accustomed to making. Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language was a worthwhile read and an accurate analysis of Modern English.

Failure to Communicate

on Other Worlds

by Derek Benson

6 hours, 44 minutes ago

Deciding how to communicate your point across to a reader is perhaps the most important part of writing. You have to choose between tone, sophistication of vocabulary, and, as Orwell points out, the preciseness of […]

The Language Disease

on Other Worlds

by Jennifer Lien

9 hours, 42 minutes ago

Orwell’s main criticism towards the decaying English language is the vagueness that makes English incompatible of precisely describe. Too often unnecessary words are added, idioms are misused or over generic words are utilised, and they all lead up to a complete vagueness in writing of the modern era. Though Orwell’s contemptuous tone make readers hard to agree with him if haven’t fully digested his text, I do see the problems Orwell point out in writings or conversations nowadays. The use of meaningless words isn’t only an apparent problem at Orwell’s period. My Media of Fashion professor warned us in the first class that words like “nice”, “looks good” are forbidden during peer criticism, as she said, these words do not construct any useful advice, and I agree with her as it is a common mistake for myself while speaking and judging. Additionally I remember a modern novel (dishonorable mention, I will leave it here) I read that consists poor description like “the bacon tastes heavenly”, making the readers hard to interpret the imagery. What does heavenly mean? Is the bacon juicy, crispy, or greasy? Ironically, Orwell himself made the mistake in his writing as well, like using jargons and metaphor in the opening paragraph that he later slaps himself in the face by attacking the usage. But we leave that aside since he is as well a product of the “language-declining” era, and focus on his argument of the worsening language. Orwell’s passage reminds me of a so-called “language disease” I heard in the news back when I was in Taiwan. The news points out how elders do not approve teenagers’ new language usage due to the rise of texting and instant messaging. Translating the news into English, they are criticizing words like “LOL” or “WTF” which I personally use every single day. It’s an argument of whether it’s the gap of generation that has caused the problem or if the language is actually declining. Perhaps an aspect that Orwell has failed to see is each era has its usage of language, and politics since the last century may have given rise to the vague and euphemistic but meaningless language today. However, the purpose of the new language might serve to avoid provocative comments or controversial issues. Just as in the same period but different space, we shouldn’t criticize other cultures, so how does that give Orwell the permission to judge an era for its difference? I can only acknowledge the obvious gap, but not with the power to criticize.

Thinking While Writing

on Other Worlds

by Jeremy Shih

10 hours, 48 minutes ago

Like many others, Orwell came off as condescending and hypercritical at first. Yet, as I continued reading, more and more of his criticism rang true; I saw many of the flaws he described in my own […]