Essay Sample on Political Implications of Language

Published: 2021-07-27
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Wesleyan University
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Language impacts life to an ultimate degree, and in one way or another, people tend to use language to rise to political positions and even to achieve a particular agenda. According to George Orwell, language has a subtle impact on politics, and due to that, the effect brought about by such changes often go unnoticed. Careful selection of language is something inherent in the human culture, and in some instances, if one spoke a particular language in public, the results of such acts would be detrimental. However, some individuals that well-seasoned in language can carefully select words and phrases in their speeches and tame even the most disastrous statements. Language has been having been harnessed to perpetuate injustice and such acts as slavery in the past (Condren and Conal 2016). Slave trade and other related practices lasted for long owing to the fact that the slaves that were chained up in Africa and then transported to America spoke different languages. However, their rebellion was hastened by the fact that they were able to learn English and form an alliance (Willey and Terrence et al.). According to the three writers, language is entangled with politics in many ways; the two are harnessed carefully to achieve certain political ends whether people are aware of it or not.

Giving an example of the metaphor leave no stone unturned, (Orwell 321) Orwell can prove how language has changed over time and its effects on development. The change in language according to George Orwell has a high impact not only on the society but also some other aspects of the society such as development. Within the book, George Orwell attests that silly words and expression have become extinct with time and it is not because that the society evolves but because of conscious action of some few individuals that have taken an active part if criticizing and discouraging their use. Stuart case argues that language has been harnessed as a tool of advocating for some kind of political quietism (Orwell 2013). In reference to fascism, general rules governing the use of English language is a depiction of the kind of dictatorial rule exerted against individuals even regarding the use of language. Orwell argues that one could follow the rules of writing in the contemporary language but still write bad English. This means that the contemporary rules governing the use of the English language have nothing to do with improving the use of English language (Orwell 2013). George Orwell uses different scenarios in the language to argue that the political decay of the current time has its roots in language decline. He argues that a careful selection of the various English words is blended to make the society less concourse of moral decay. Such a combination of words could even make murder look respectful and gives it solidity (Orwell 322).

James Baldwin, is another well-seasoned writer and this is evident by the fact that he has taken an active part in production of many literary works. Using the black American slang culture, Baldwin argues that language has nothing to do with civilization (Baldwin 2016). Unlike George Orwell, Baldwin claims that there abound the need change language to suit the circumstances and enable the humanity control even the uncontrollable scenarios such as death. He posits that even though French is spoken in different parts of the world, there is a vast difference between the same languages spoken in various parts of the world even within France. It is deducible from the words of Baldwin that change in language is acceptable in order to ensure that humanity stays close together to conquer even some misfortunes that comes its way. Quoting some scenarios such as in Ireland where individuals residing therein have been forced to adapt to the new way of speaking the language, he presents the idea that change in language is inevitable (Baldwin 2016). Unlike gorge Orwell, Baldwin offers the use of language as a political instrument and even a depiction of ones power. Use of language has consequences; bald well argues that in England, opening one's mouth and exposing who your parents are could have profound effects on ones income and other relevant aspects of their lives, (Baldwin 312). Baldwin argues that the black American language and culture is rooted in slavery, this is because they had to find a common language that they could use to understand one another.

Like Baldwin, Douglass argues that language is the primary tool used to perpetuate social and political injustices whether in the current times or in the past. He posits the system is a product of language that is used to reinforce certain desired characteristics and discourage some. In his works, he attests that language was harnessed as a political tool that served the function of marginalizing the black people. With that motive, the black people were not taught language owing to the fact that they were perceived as a threat to the wellbeing and privileges of the white people. He uses this rhetoric to bring to light the idea that the black people were enslaved quickly owing to the fact that they did not have a common language. English was used to subjugate and rule them. This depicts the extent to which not knowing a particular language could have certain disastrous effects on life. Douglass found his arguments on language empowerment of the society to ultimately achieve social equity. After the achievement of knowing the language, Douglas realizes that he is equal and able to focus more on his work. This depicts the extent to which knowing the English language helped him become more inclined to the suffering of the society.

Change of language has been witnessed in the recent past is because of the fact that individuals are forced to upgrade to the hybrid form of language. This change in language in the current times is inherent with removal of some words while adding others. It would be important to note that elimination of some words from the English language has nothing to do with grammar or even its correctness and syntax (Pennycook 2016). On the contrary, extermination of other words and phrases from the English language has everything to do with making the English language simple. It does not mean that this act tends to promote the spoken English. In the words of George Orwell, It neither implies that it is best if simple English words should replace the old Latin words. This change of language suggests that the simples and shortest words are used to explain a particular phenomenon. Fredrick Douglass points out the fact that language change as everything to do with the fact that individuals harness the change to suit their circumstances. Such people tend to modify the language in order to have a grip on the situation and be able to fathom even the unfathomable scenarios. Phrases such as hang on have curved their way into the todays Standard English language even though they were used to describe uttermost poverty in the past. With the help of the work of the three writers, one gets to have a different perspective on the contemporary English languages we well as other languages spoken throughout the world.

Works Cited

Baldwin, James. Go tell it on the mountain. Vol.371. everymans library, 2016

Condren, Conal. The language of politics in seventeenth-century England. Springer 2016

Orwell, George, politics and the English language. Penguin UK 2013

Penny cook, Alastair. The cultural politics of English as an international language. Taylor and Francis, 2017

Willey, Terrence G, et al. language policy, politics and diversity in education (2014): vii-xxiii

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