In today' society we see numerous occasions of people using the Englis
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In today' society, we see numerous occasions of people using the English language incorrectly. A good example of this is shown in E.E. Cummings poem "next to of course god america i." Using English incorrectly may be, at the very least, ugly, in the Orwellian sense, but the problems brought on by incorrect use of English may go deeper than beauty. Thus, I agree with George Orwell's 1946 essay, "Politics and the English language," in which he says, "If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought." I believe the English language is in decline today, especially for two reasons: Politics and the Internet.
E.E. Cummings' poem breaks certain "rules of the English language" as defined in George Orwell's essay and uses English in an improper way. Even though. E.E. Cummings broke certain rules, he is seen as a great writer. He broke the rules of English and good composition. He did this on purpose to convey a message that is similar to Orwell's: language can hide the message or the truth as well as convey it. Some of Orwell's rules that Cummings broke are the following: Never use a dying metaphor, simile, or common speech; try to cut out words that are unnecessary; replace big words with small words, if possible; and avoid using scientific, foreign, or jargon words in writing. The rules stated by Orwell are guidelines, which, if observed, help with stating truths and doing so in an artful or beautiful manner thus creating good literature and conveying correct information.
Readers of the E.E. Cummings' poem quickly recognize the numerous, “unnecessary” uses of common speech and lyrics. This breaks the first rule of George Orwell's essay. But Cummings abuses this rule to create and emphasize a statement about America, heroes and liberty. He uses poetic license, fracturing English, to do so. These phrases include "next to," "of course" "and so forth," and "come and go." Cummings makes new metaphors out of dying metaphors. He thus avoids stale metaphors and speaks of "happy dead" and "rushed like lions to the roaring slaughter." The reader has trouble making out what the poem means or describes, but eventually the reader finds that the entire poem is a melting pot of speech and phrases (lyrics) from America's English usage.
In contrast with E.E. Cummings' successful use of improper English in poetry, we have two examples today of improper use which will not serve communication well in the long run. I refer first, to the "parsing" of words by President Clinton and his attorneys in their defense against charges of lying in report by the independent investigator, and second, to English as it is used in e-mail and chat rooms on the internet.
Orwell said, "…. Political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. …. Thus, political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging, and sheer cloudy vagueness.” This is precisely what has been troubling President Clinton's defense, and it is summed up by Indiana's U.S. Rep. Steve Buyer in his statement1 on Dec. 10.
"The president's lawyers give us a fantasy defense. The president's defenders would have us believe that the president's misconduct was only private and therefore not impeachable. If the president's verbal engineering prevails, then an evasive, incomplete, misleading and even maddening statement is not a lie. No one is ever really alone in the cosmos. "Is" is not a state of being. A person performing a sex act is having sexual relations, but the person receiving the sexual favor is not having sex. And a cover story is not a concocted rendition of an event with the willful intent to mislead others by lies, but instead a cover story is a simple, harmless revision of a historical event.
This is neither believable, reasonable, rational nor acceptable. The president's defense is completely misguided in its interpretations, parsing and hair-splitting of words.
C.S. Lewis called this technique, quote, "verbicide, the murder of a word," end quote."
In the final analysis, President Clinton had to commit "verbicide2" to defend himself. This American experience is adding to the decline of the English language, exactly as Orwell said. This also is what E.E. Cummings did in his poetry to convey his message about language.
While the use of language in impeachment process, affirms Orwell's essay and will
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English language, Essays by George Orwell, Politics and the English Language, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Censorship, George Orwell, Orwellian, E. E. Cummings, Metaphor, Abbreviation, Internet slang, English in computing
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