Newspeak is a fictional language in George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. In the novel, it is described as being "the only language in the world whose vocabulary gets smaller every year." Orwell included an essay about it in the form of an Appendix (in the past tense), in which the basic principles of the language are explained. Newspeak is closely based on English but has a greatly reduced and simplified vocabulary and grammar (e.g., 'good' means 'to love Big Brother'; 'bad' is deleted from the language because 'ungood' means 'bad'; therefore there is now no literal concept to express the term, 'Big Brother is bad'). This suited the totalitarian regime of the Party, whose aim was to make any alternative thinking ("thoughtcrime") or speech impossible by removing any words or possible constructs which describe the ideas of freedom, rebellion and so on. One character says admiringly of the shrinking volume of the new dictionary: "It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words."
The genesis of Orwell's Newspeak can be seen in his earlier essay, "Politics and the English Language," in which he laments the quality of the English of his day, citing examples of dying metaphors, pretentious diction or rhetoric, and meaningless words — all of which contribute to fuzzy ideas and a lack of logical thinking. Towards the end of this essay, having argued his case, Orwell muses:
|“||I said earlier that the decadence of our language is probably curable. Those who deny this would argue, if they produced an argument at all, that language merely reflects existing social conditions, and that we cannot influence its development by any direct tinkering with words or constructions.||”|
Thus forcing the use of Newspeak, according to Orwell, describes a deliberate intent to exploit this degeneration with the aim of oppressing its speakers.
"The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees …, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. … Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meaning and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words and stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meaning whatever." G. Orwell 1984
To control thought
|“||By 2050—earlier, probably—all real knowledge of Oldspeak will have disappeared. The whole literature of the past will have been destroyed. Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Byron—they'll exist only in Newspeak versions, not merely changed into something different, but actually contradictory of what they used to be. Even the literature of the Party will change. Even the slogans will change. How could you have a slogan like "freedom is slavery" when the concept of freedom has been abolished? The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking—not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.||”|
The underlying theory of Newspeak is that if something can't be said, then it can't be thought. One question raised in response to this is whether we are defined by our language, or whether we actively define it. For instance, how can we communicate the need for freedom, or organise an uprising, if we do not have the words for either? "The limits of my language mean the limits to my world." ~ Ludwig Wittgenstein
Examples of Newspeak, from the novel, include: "crimethink"; "doubleplusungood"; and "Ingsoc." They mean, respectively: "thought-crime"; "extremely bad"; and "English Socialism," the official political philosophy of the Party. The word "Newspeak" itself also comes from the language. Note that all of these words would be obsolete and should be removed in the "final" version of Newspeak, except for "doubleplusungood" in certain contexts, such as as illustrated in the preceding paragraph.
Generically, Newspeak has come to mean any attempt to restrict disapproved language by a government or other powerful entity.
~ N.B.C. has the BALLS to run a Sunday Morning political talk show called "MEET THE PRESS" that breaks down pre-election polls statistically by RACE...
then wonders if Race will be an issue.
Newspeak not only limits what we can think, it frames what we think about.