Politics and the English language

The question of politics and language is a critical one. In this talk Peter Hennessy explores the importance of language in politics, and warns us against "well-rehearsed spontaneities" among other things.

He also reminds us of the importance of keeping language accurate, as Orwell did in the essay that inspired this talk “Politics and the English Language”, which captured Orwell's concerns with truth and language and the dangers of misleading words:
  1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
  2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
  3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
  4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
  5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.


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