newspeak

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English[edit]

A 1933 press accreditation photograph of George Orwell. The term Newspeak was coined in his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949).

Etymology[edit]

From Newspeak.

Noun[edit]

newspeak ‎(usually uncountable, plural newspeaks)

  1. A mode of talk by politicians and officials using ambiguous words to deceive the listener.
    • 1984, Jonathon Green, “Introduction”, in Newspeak: A Dictionary of Jargon, London: Routledge & Kegal Paul plc, ISBN 978-0-7100-9685-2; republished Abingdon, Oxon.; New York, N.Y.: Routledge, 2014, ISBN 978-0-415-73271-0, page ix:
      Yet no-one would deny that a form of ‘newspeak’, however altered, is all too prevalent. Where [George] Orwell’s society was governed by the stick, we are offered the carrot. The truncation of the language on ‘Airstrip One’ was a logical response to the harsh social engineering that engendered it. The soothing, delusory world of ‘equality’, of much-touted ‘democracy’, has created a ‘newspeak’ all its own. Rather than shorten the language it is infinitely broadened; instead of curt monosyllables, there are mellifluous, calming phrases, designed to allay suspicions, modify facts and divert one’s attention from difficulties.
    • 1995, Edward Możejko, “Between Symbolist Decline and the Rise of Newspeak: Mapping the Dynamics of the Russian Literary Avant-Garde”, in Christian Berg, Frank Durieux, and Geert Lernout, editors, The Turn of the Century: Modernism and Modernity in Literature and the Arts/Le tournant du siècle : Le modernisme et la modernité dans la littérature et les arts (European Cultures; 3), Berlin; New York, N.Y.: Walter de Gruyter, ISBN 978-3-11-014018-7, page 327:
      [T]he last stage in the evolution of the Russian literary avant-garde and its final demise was marked by its sharp and growing conflict with the rise of newspeak. The concept of newspeak has been with us now for quite some time. However, it only recently began to be treated as an exponent of a certain cultural vision advanced by sheer and impudent political power. At the same time, it is more than that. Newspeak can be defined as discourse, proper or peculiar to the totalitarian state and transmitted through the manipulative use of language to all sectors and institutions of the state.
    • 2002, Slava Gerovitch, “The Cold War in Code Words: The Newspeak of Soviet Science”, in From Newspeak to Cyberspeak: A History of Soviet Cybernetics, Cambridge, Mass.; London: MIT Press, ISBN 978-0-262-07232-8, page 47:
      [] Soviet ideology itself may be more productively viewed as the result of conscious attempts to explicate and rationalize assorted discursive strategies, or mechanisms, of newspeak, in much the same way as grammatical rules are invented to describe diverse linguistic practices.

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