the use of manipulative language in politics

Topics: Linguistics, English language, Politics and the English Language Pages: 5 (1269 words) Published: February 17, 2014


The Use of Manipulative Language in Politics:
A Short Term Research Paper

Everything English has ever stood for will be forgotten as time passes. Specific words like

“acquisition” and “thereafter” will fade away into nothingness as English evolves into a melee of

words that had completely different meanings only fifty years ago. “Stuff” use to be a verb that

meant to pack something. “Cool” use to be a describer of temperature or disposition. “Awesome”

use to depict something grand that struck wonder in the beholder. Evidently, our language will

quickly come to the point of disregarding what were once its own guidelines for grammar and

punctuation.

The English language seems to be deteriorating more and more each day. Two different writers have pointed out some examples of the butchering of the language. Yarbroff and George Orwell both state that the English Language, particularly as it is manipulated in the realm of politics, is in trouble. By speaking about how one has developed words in the English language to disguise the true meaning for political causes, one masks what is trying to be said, and at the same time, confuses the audience, affecting the way one communicates properly and professionally.

In the brilliant novelist George Orwell’s essay “Politics and the English Language”, he tears apart modern writing for all of its clichés and stylistic ostentatious wordiness resulting in sometimes intentional vagueness, and every other linguistic foible imaginable that one as a society commits. This essay concludes with not only a detailed map of how one should be writing, bullet points and all, but also with the argument that the vague, flowery, regurgitated language of today is not just bad for literature as a whole but it is, one of the roots of all governments as well. "In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense 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 political parties...[vague] phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them."

Orwell's main target is not just sloppy or vague writing, but the relationship between such language and political immorality. There is a moving passage where he gives examples of how the most dreadful atrocities can be masked by high-flown and euphemistic phrases—the use of “pacification” to describe the systematic bombing of unarmed civilians, for instance. One might point to “rendition” as an example of the persistence of this tendency into current times. The clarity of language is linked to political awareness. Sloppy expression makes us sloppy thinkers, which in turn leaves us more vulnerable to the vague insincerities of politicians. Jennie Yabroff states “A writer who said bad language equals bad politics.” Translation? Language is shifting away from clarity and toward lengthy sentences constructed by stringing together cliché after redundant cliché inter-spliced with passive voice so that in the end, the writer sounds humble and smart without really telling you a thing at all. Language has been puffed up so big and pretty in political speeches and hot new pop songs. They appear to make sense and say something really meaningful . In today’s age one can basically tell people anything and they will gobble it down like it's a jumbo bag of M&M's. Hidden within the "one could argue's" and the "some would say that's," there is actually a very clear agenda: telling people a beautified truth without really saying it, and as a result, preventing them from knowing the true horror of what is actually being said.

Yabroff emphasizes that this problem is...

Cited: Dergisi, Sosyal. “The Use of Language in Political Rhetoric: Linguistic Manipulation”. 19 May, 2009
http://sablon.sdu.edu.tr/dergi/sosbilder/dosyalar/19_9.pdf
De Gramont, Patrick. Language and the Distortion of Meaning. NYC: Press, 1992. Print
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