Casino Politics And The English Language

Weiyi Lim says the difference in English standards in Singapore and Hong Kong comes down to the one major factor dividing them — government policy. More than 10 years ago, I took part in a student exchange, coming to the University of Hong Kong. As a Singaporean, I was amazed by the liberalism on campus, where students led protests on matters of concern and held memorials for events such as the June 4 protests.

While impressed by their political activism, I had another culture shock in my classes. Used to English as a medium of instruction, I was surprised when I had to engage in a discussion on political theory in Cantonese during my tutorials.

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  • Politics and the English Language, the essay of George Orwell. First published: April by/in Horizon, GB, slotsfor.meg: casino.
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  • "Politics and the English Language" () is an essay by George Orwell that criticises the "ugly and inaccurate" written English of his time and examines the connection between political orthodoxies and the debasement of language. The essay focuses on political language, which, according to Orwell, "is designed to make  Missing: casino.

I was happy to immerse myself in this environment, as it was a chance for me to pick up the language. Despite both being former British colonies and successful financial centres today, Hong Kong and Singapore took different paths in setting their language policy. In an English proficiency index in compiled by EF Education First, a training institution, Hong Kong ranked 33rd among 70 countries and territories. Singapore had a more immediate reason to use English.

Due to the different ethnicities on the island, Singaporeans had to learn English as the lingua franca to communicate with one another. In comparison, there was no such need for Hong Kong to do so. The priority given to English by the government has played the major role. English was given top priority right from the start in Singapore. Schools using Chinese as a medium of instruction were phased out in the s.

By contrast, in post-handover Hong Kong, Putonghua is seen as more valuable than English. A recent census report shows that it has replaced English as the second-most-spoken language by the residents after Cantonese.

Still, if Hong Kong wishes to connect with the world outside Greater China, the government needs to work harder at getting people to like and use English in their daily life.

Weiyi Lim teaches media writing at the National University of Singapore and runs an education firm. Skip to main content. Politics and the English language: Monday, 31 October,5: Monday, 31 October,6: You are signed up.

We think you'd also like. Thank you You are on the list. This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Most Popular Viewed 1. America is not China, as Trump may be about to find out. Why China need not worry about Trump or Kim, but China itself.

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  2. Weiyi Lim says the difference in English standards in Singapore and Hong Kong comes down to the one major factor dividing them – government policy.:
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He later emphasises that he was not "considering the literary use of language, but merely language as an instrument for expressing and not for concealing or preventing thought. As a further example, Orwell "translates" Ecclesiastes 9: I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

Objective consideration of contemporary phenomena compels the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account. Orwell points out that this "translation" contains many more syllables but gives no concrete illustrations, as the original did, nor does it contain any vivid, arresting images or phrases.

The headmaster's wife at St Cyprian's School , Mrs. Cicely Vaughan Wilkes nicknamed "Flip" , taught English to Orwell and used the same method to illustrate good writing to her pupils. She would use simple passages from the King James Bible and then "translate" them into poor English to show the clarity and brilliance of the original. Orwell said it was easy for his contemporaries to slip into bad writing of the sort he had described and that the temptation to use meaningless or hackneyed phrases was like a "packet of aspirins always at one's elbow".

In particular, such phrases are always ready to form the writer's thoughts for him to save him the bother of thinking, or writing, clearly.

However, he concluded that the progressive decline of the English language was reversible, [6] and suggested six rules which, he claimed, would prevent many of these faults although, "one could keep all of them and still write bad English". From the time of his wife's death in March Orwell had maintained a high work rate, producing some literary contributions, many of them lengthy. Animal Farm had been published in August and Orwell was experiencing a time of critical and commercial literary success.

He was seriously ill in February and was desperate to get away from London to the island of Jura, Scotland , where he wanted to start work on Nineteen Eighty-Four. Both reflect Orwell's concern with truth and how truth depends upon the use of language. Orwell noted the deliberate use of misleading language to hide unpleasant political and military facts and also identified a laxity of language among those he identified as pro-soviet. In The Prevention of Literature he also speculated on the type of literature under a future totalitarian society which he predicted would be formulaic and low grade sensationalism.

Around the same time Orwell wrote an unsigned editorial for Polemic in response to an attack from " Modern Quarterly ". In this he highlights the double-talk and appalling prose of J. Bernal in the same magazine, and cites Edmund Wilson 's damnation of the prose of Joseph E. Davies in Mission to Moscow.

In his biography of Orwell, Michael Shelden called the article "his most important essay on style", [10] while Bernard Crick made no reference to the work at all in his original biography, reserving his praise for Orwell's essays in Polemic , which cover a similar political theme.

Linguist Geoffrey Pullum —despite being an admirer of Orwell's writing—criticised the essay for "its insane and unfollowable insistence that good writing must avoid all phrases and word uses that are familiar. Orwell runs to a little over 20 percent in "Politics and the English Language". Clearly he found the construction useful in spite of his advice to avoid it as much as possible". Introductory writing courses frequently cite this essay. Orwell's 'Politics and the English Language' and English Composition , set in motion a "wide variety of critiques, reconsiderations, and outright attacks against the plain style" [18] that is argued for in Orwell's essay.

While there are many scholars who defend Orwell's arguments in "Politics and the English Language", there are also those who see many issues with the essay. Orwell's writings on the English language have had a large impact on classrooms, journalism, and other writing. In Trail's "Teaching Argument and the Rhetoric of Orwell's 'Politics and the English Language'" it is said that "A large part of Orwell's rhetorical approach consists of attempting at every opportunity to acquire reader participation, to involve the reader as an active and engaged consumer of the essay.

Popular journalism is full of what may be the inheritance of Orwell's reader involvement devices". Orwell's preoccupation with language as a theme can be seen in protagonist Gordon Comstock's dislike of advertising slogans in Keep the Aspidistra Flying , an early work of his. This preoccupation is also visible in Homage to Catalonia , and continued as an underlying theme of Orwell's work for the years after World War II.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Orwell's Prep School Woes". Despite both being former British colonies and successful financial centres today, Hong Kong and Singapore took different paths in setting their language policy.

In an English proficiency index in compiled by EF Education First, a training institution, Hong Kong ranked 33rd among 70 countries and territories. Singapore had a more immediate reason to use English.

Due to the different ethnicities on the island, Singaporeans had to learn English as the lingua franca to communicate with one another. In comparison, there was no such need for Hong Kong to do so. The priority given to English by the government has played the major role.

English was given top priority right from the start in Singapore. Schools using Chinese as a medium of instruction were phased out in the s. By contrast, in post-handover Hong Kong, Putonghua is seen as more valuable than English. A recent census report shows that it has replaced English as the second-most-spoken language by the residents after Cantonese.

Still, if Hong Kong wishes to connect with the world outside Greater China, the government needs to work harder at getting people to like and use English in their daily life. Weiyi Lim teaches media writing at the National University of Singapore and runs an education firm. Skip to main content. Politics and the English language: Monday, 31 October, , 5: Monday, 31 October, , 6: You are signed up.

We think you'd also like. Thank you You are on the list. This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as:

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We think you'd also like. Thank you You are on the list. This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Most Popular Viewed 1. America is not China, as Trump may be about to find out. Why China need not worry about Trump or Kim, but China itself. Hotel cleaners caught using toilet brush to clean cups and basins. Files shed light on Sino-British wrangling over democracy, airport.

Tsai vows to boost Taiwan defence budget amid military threats. Elsie Leung, mainland scholars defend joint checkpoint plan. Promotions Register for a free copy of Home Essentials now. You may also like. Girl murdered after refusing to wear costume, court told 28 Dec - 2: Now that I have made this catalogue of swindles and perversions, let me give another example of the kind of writing that they lead to.

This time it must of its nature be an imaginary one. I am going to translate a passage of good English into modern English of the worst sort. Here is a well-known verse from Ecclesiastes:. I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

Objective considerations of contemporary phenomena compel the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.

This is a parody, but not a very gross one. Exhibit 3 above, for instance, contains several patches of the same kind of English. It will be seen that I have not made a full translation. The whole tendency of modern prose is away from concreteness.

Now analyze these two sentences a little more closely. The first contains forty-nine words but only sixty syllables, and all its words are those of everyday life. The second contains thirty-eight words of ninety syllables: The second contains not a single fresh, arresting phrase, and in spite of its ninety syllables it gives only a shortened version of the meaning contained in the first. Yet without a doubt it is the second kind of sentence that is gaining ground in modern English.

I do not want to exaggerate. This kind of writing is not yet universal, and outcrops of simplicity will occur here and there in the worst-written page. Still, if you or I were told to write a few lines on the uncertainty of human fortunes, we should probably come much nearer to my imaginary sentence than to the one from Ecclesiastes.

As I have tried to show, modern writing at its worst does not consist in picking out words for the sake of their meaning and inventing images in order to make the meaning clearer.

It consists in gumming together long strips of words which have already been set in order by someone else, and making the results presentable by sheer humbug. The attraction of this way of writing is that it is easy. It is easier — even quicker, once you have the habit — to say In my opinion it is not an unjustifiable assumption that than to say I think. If you use ready-made phrases, you not only don't have to hunt about for the words; you also don't have to bother with the rhythms of your sentences since these phrases are generally so arranged as to be more or less euphonious.

When you are composing in a hurry — when you are dictating to a stenographer, for instance, or making a public speech — it is natural to fall into a pretentious, Latinized style. Tags like a consideration which we should do well to bear in mind or a conclusion to which all of us would readily assent will save many a sentence from coming down with a bump.

By using stale metaphors, similes, and idioms, you save much mental effort, at the cost of leaving your meaning vague, not only for your reader but for yourself.

This is the significance of mixed metaphors. The sole aim of a metaphor is to call up a visual image. When these images clash — as in The Fascist octopus has sung its swan song, the jackboot is thrown into the melting pot — it can be taken as certain that the writer is not seeing a mental image of the objects he is naming; in other words he is not really thinking.

Look again at the examples I gave at the beginning of this essay. Professor Laski 1 uses five negatives in fifty three words. One of these is superfluous, making nonsense of the whole passage, and in addition there is the slip — alien for akin — making further nonsense, and several avoidable pieces of clumsiness which increase the general vagueness.

Professor Hogben 2 plays ducks and drakes with a battery which is able to write prescriptions, and, while disapproving of the everyday phrase put up with , is unwilling to look egregious up in the dictionary and see what it means; 3 , if one takes an uncharitable attitude towards it, is simply meaningless: In 4 , the writer knows more or less what he wants to say, but an accumulation of stale phrases chokes him like tea leaves blocking a sink.

In 5 , words and meaning have almost parted company. People who write in this manner usually have a general emotional meaning — they dislike one thing and want to express solidarity with another — but they are not interested in the detail of what they are saying. A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: What am I trying to say? What words will express it?

What image or idiom will make it clearer? Is this image fresh enough to have an effect? And he will probably ask himself two more: Could I put it more shortly? Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly? But you are not obliged to go to all this trouble. You can shirk it by simply throwing your mind open and letting the ready-made phrases come crowding in. The will construct your sentences for you — even think your thoughts for you, to a certain extent — and at need they will perform the important service of partially concealing your meaning even from yourself.

It is at this point that the special connection between politics and the debasement of language becomes clear. In our time it is broadly true that political writing is bad writing. Orthodoxy, of whatever colour, seems to demand a lifeless, imitative style. The political dialects to be found in pamphlets, leading articles, manifestos, White papers and the speeches of undersecretaries do, of course, vary from party to party, but they are all alike in that one almost never finds in them a fresh, vivid, homemade turn of speech.

When one watches some tired hack on the platform mechanically repeating the familiar phrases — bestial, atrocities, iron heel, bloodstained tyranny, free peoples of the world, stand shoulder to shoulder — one often has a curious feeling that one is not watching a live human being but some kind of dummy: And this is not altogether fanciful. A speaker who uses that kind of phraseology has gone some distance toward turning himself into a machine. The appropriate noises are coming out of his larynx, but his brain is not involved, as it would be if he were choosing his words for himself.

If the speech he is making is one that he is accustomed to make over and over again, he may be almost unconscious of what he is saying, as one is when one utters the responses in church. And this reduced state of consciousness, if not indispensable, is at any rate favourable to political conformity. In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties.

Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenceless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them.

Consider for instance some comfortable English professor defending Russian totalitarianism. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenceless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them.

The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink. The insincerity of the writer perpetuates the decline of the language as people particularly politicians, Orwell later notes attempt to disguise their intentions behind euphemisms and convoluted phrasing.

Orwell says that this decline is self-perpetuating. He argues that it is easier to think with poor English because the language is in decline, as the language declines, "foolish" thoughts become even easier, reinforcing the original cause:. A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language.

It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. Orwell discusses "pretentious diction" and "meaningless words".

Orwell chooses five passages of text which "illustrate various of the mental vices from which we now suffer. From these, Orwell identifies a "catalogue of swindles and perversions" which he classifies as "dying metaphors", "operators or verbal false limbs", "pretentious diction" and "meaningless words".

Orwell notes that writers of modern prose tend not to write in concrete terms but use a "pretentious latinized style" compare Anglish. He claims writers find it is easier to gum together long strings of words than to pick words specifically for their meaning, particularly in political writing, where Orwell notes that "[o]rthodoxy Orwell criticises bad writing habits which spread by imitation.

He argues that writers must think more clearly because thinking clearly "is a necessary first step toward political regeneration". He later emphasises that he was not "considering the literary use of language, but merely language as an instrument for expressing and not for concealing or preventing thought.

As a further example, Orwell "translates" Ecclesiastes 9: I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

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Politics and the English Language, the essay of George Orwell. First published: April by/in Horizon, GB, London. Svenska casinon Spela George orwell politics and the english language full essay paragraph structure acronym xr aqa a level english literature b. "Politics and the English Language" () is an essay by George Orwell that criticises the "ugly and inaccurate" written English of his time and examines the.

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