What is Newspeak?
Newspeak is a fictional language that was invented by renowned author George Orwell. Newspeak first appeared in Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. The term is also commonly used to discuss Soviet phraseology.
Orwell, in the appendix of the famous novel, wrote an essay to elucidate Newspeak. In the appendix, Orwell explained that Newspeak is closely based on English but has a reduced and simplified vocabulary and grammar.
The essence of Newspeak suits the totalitarian regime, whose aim was to make any alternative form of thinking impossible by removing words or possible construct which describe the ideas of freedom, rebellion, rights, and so forth. In the novel, one character states that the destruction of words is a beautiful thing for it forces society to act in a robotic fashion, thus creating a harmonized community that is tripped of individuality.
Basic principles of Newspeak
The basic principles associated with Newspeak are meant to remove all shades of meaning from language, thus leaving simple dichotomies, such as pleasure and pain, good-think and crime-think, or happiness and sadness.
Through the creation of this language, human beings living under a government body could not establish a sense of self and could not elucidate upon their feelings. As a result of the limited vocabulary latent in Newspeak, the government maintained a total dominance over the people in which it rules.
The root words of Newspeak served as both nouns and verbs. This basic principle of Newspeak allowed for the further reduction in the total number of words. For example, the word “think” in Newspeak was used as both a noun and a verb, so the word thought was not required based on the principles of Newspeak, therefore making the word superfluous.
Furthermore, any word with a negative meaning or connotation was removed and classified as redundant. Through this basic principle of Newspeak, the word “bad” became “ungood.”
Purpose of Newspeak according to Orwell
By eliminating the majority of words in language, Newspeak effectively controlled thought and eliminated and individual’s ability to express any sense of individuality. Basic communication efforts and the ability to evoke any sort of emotion are eliminated through Newspeak. These characteristics, when placed on a society, eliminated the ability to seek freedom and form revolts against a dominating central government.
Therefore, the state who hypothetically instituted this language will limit the ability of society to express thought or action against government practices, no matter how unfair or unjust. Newspeak, according to Orwell’s general philosophy or authoritative governments, would be used as a tool to control human thought and ensure a robotic, repressed and completely submissive society.