Saturday, May 13, 2006

words usage

George Orwell, the political & cultural commentator and accomplished novelist lived from 1903 to 1950. He wrote a very interesting article on how the language is used to mollify or glorify mundane or undesirable news.

"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.

Here it is in modern English:

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."

link to full article, wikipedia summary

This is very relevent today too with the different language used by the mainstream media specially when they are reporting news w.r.t Israel vs Palestine or Iraq

George Orwell wrote many novels including the excellent 1984 and Animal Farm

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