Banning, avoiding, and changing words doesn’t make sense and doesn’t help

Sylvia Whitman

All that has been said and written about Roald Dahl: Yes, the changes in his books are ridiculous No, these changes are not forced on us by the state, but by Netflix, and yes, it is because of the “zeitgeist”, a narrow specter that thinks erasing “ugly” words leads to to the disappearance of ugly thoughts; We immediately think of George Orwell’s well-known “new language”.

A Ministry of Truth official said in Orwell’s book, “It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.” 1984. “If you have a word like ‘good’, what do you need ‘bad’ for? ‘Not good’ is very appropriate for that (…). Vague, unhelpful words like “excellent”, “awesome”, etc. – “Plusgoed” covers the load, or “multiple plus”, if you’re looking for something stronger.

“That sounds totally reasonable,” says The Devil’s Advocate. Esperanto (a synthetic language, just like Orwell’s neo-language) uses such a method. “good” means “bono”, “bad” means “malbono”, “large” means “grande”, small means “malgrande”, “health” means “sano”, and “malsano” is unhealthy. Well, you’ve got the system.

In a totalitarian state like Orwell’s (thank goodness) fictional Oceania, a language like Esperanto could flourish. The question of his education by force in school. For example, the entire Soviet Union, with dozens of differently-speaking populations, had to learn Russian (it came in handy when I lived there: I could speak to everyone from Lithuanians to Tajiks and Turkmens), but with Esperanto that was never a problem. Because most people prefer to speak in natural language.

I’m re-reading 1984Because you hear the word “Orwell” again a lot, lately. In the real year 1984, the book was absolutely amazing. Many people in the free West were afraid of communism, including everything that was invented behind the Iron Curtain. Although no one knows its ins and outs, because you can’t just go in and out. Orwell was not so far removed from reality by the dystopia of his vision, as we feared; But yeah, five years later the Berlin Wall came down, and everything worked out fine (at least it seemed like that for a moment).

However, Orwell has returned to the topic again, now mainly because of his “new talk”. “You don’t understand the beauty of destroying words. Do you know that the new language is the only language in the world whose vocabulary is getting smaller every year? (…) Don’t you understand that the main purpose of the new language is to restrict the space for thinking? In the end we will make misthinking literally impossible, Because there will be no words to express it.

Well, it’s actually not too bad here, I thought when I think about it 1984 Outside. It is true that we are hard-pressed by a small group of fanatics to use or not use certain words, but we are not tortured or killed if we stubbornly refuse. This is good.

The tragedy is that this small group of bigots is so wrong. Banning, avoiding, and changing words doesn’t make sense and doesn’t help. Take the “Mongoloid” phenomenon. That was a sweet word, much nicer than “a person with Down syndrome.” But there came a time when something (the zeitgeist?) or someone (yes, who?) decided it wasn’t a good word. You must be “Downy” from now on.

And what do we see now? Children in the schoolyard no longer call each other “Mongolian”, but “Down”.
Yes, this works fine.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *