The Appendix of 1984 stands as Orwell’s explanation of New-speak, the official language of Oceania. Although Orwell felt that these ideas were too technical to completely integrate into the novel, they support the novel’s stance on language and thought in relation to the public’s acceptance of governmental control.
Newspeak is the official language of Oceania, scheduled for official adoption around 2050, and designed to make the ideological premises of Ingsoc (Newspeak for English Socialism, the Party’s official political alignment) the only expressible doctrine. Newspeak is engineered to remove even the possibility of rebellious thoughts—the words by which such thoughts might be articulated have been eliminated from the language. Newspeak contains no negative terms. For example, the only way to express the meaning of “bad” is through the word “ungood.” Something extremely bad is called “doubleplus ungood.”
Newspeak’s grammar is arranged so that any word can serve as any part of speech, and there are three different groups of vocabulary words. The A vocabulary contains everyday words and phrases, as Orwell says, “for such things as eating, drinking, working” and so on. In comparison with modern English, these words are fewer in number but more rigid in meaning. Newspeak leaves no room for nuance, or for degrees of meaning. The B vocabulary of Newspeak contains all words with political or ideological significance, specially tailored to engender blind acceptance of the Party’s doctrines. For example, “goodthink” means roughly the same thing as “orthodoxy.” The B vocabulary consists entirely of compound words and often compresses words into smaller forms to achieve conceptual simplicity: the English phrase “Thought Police,” for instance, is compressed into “thinkpol”; “the Ministry of Love” becomes “miniluv.” The C vocabulary encompasses words that relate specifically to science and to technical fields and disciplines. It is designed to ensure that technical knowledge remains segmented among many fields, so that no one individual can gain access to too much knowledge. In fact, there is no word for “science”; as Orwell writes, “Ingsoc” covers any meaning that such a concept could possibly have.
The particularities of Newspeak make it impossible to translate most older English (oldspeak) texts into the language; the introduction of the Declaration of Independence, for instance, can be translated only into a single word: crimethink. Furthermore, a great many technical manuals must be translated into Newspeak; it is this bulk of translation work that explains the Party’s decision to postpone the full adoption of Newspeak to 2050.
This is my favourite thing ever
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Not really; Hamlet died at the end.
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