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Date: Tue, 30 Jul 2002 18:03:18 -0700
Subject: Re: (urth) Next time I'll just say "explain yourself"
From: Jason Ingram 

I don't mean to butt in, but I think a third perspective might be 
helpful . . .

The _concept_ of total linguistic replacement predates Orwell; the 
positivists were interested in replacing ambiguous terms and locutions 
with precise, scientific alternatives.  Their project had a basis in 
Jeremy Bentham's argument for the replacement of emotional, biasing 
terms with (purportedly) neutral, objective alternatives.   These 
projects were not embodied in novels--and were accordingly imagined 
differently than in Orwell--but they do seem to be "total."

At the same time, other cultures have attempted far less extreme forms 
of linguistic control; France maintains an  institution that authorizes 
new words for new inventions and generally attempts to preserve an 
'official' French.  This certainly differs in degree from Newspeak, and 
almost certainly differs in kind, but perhaps also describes a continuum.


Josh and Andy argue:
>>>> Only in Orwell's 1984 (and arguably in some SF books written since 
>>>> then)
>>>> does this concept of total linguistic replacement arise.
>>> Really?
>>> When was the last time you used the word 'nigger' in conversation?
>> Again, not relevant, though pithy.  Some words can be cut out, but 
>> it's not
>> the same thing as the massive restructuring Orwell was diagramming


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