1. Jabenton
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    Jabenton New Member

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    Anyone want to give me their thoughts on this essay?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Jabenton, Mar 4, 2011.

    In his essay, "Doubts about Doublespeak," which appeared in the July 1993 issue of State Government News, author William Lutz explains the language of doublespeak (a term coined by George Orwell) and the negative effect it has on the population. Lutz says that "It is a language which avoids, shifts, or denies responsibility; language which is at variance with its real or purported meaning. It is a language which conceals or prevents thought."

    According to Lutz doublespeak is everywhere. Sewage plants are now called "waste-water conveyance plants," plastic is "synthetic glass," or a dump may called a "resource development park." Lutz says "There are no slums or ghettos, just the "inner city" or "substandard housing" where the "disadvantaged" or "economically nonaffluent" live and where there might be a problem with "substance abuse."

    Lutz says there are four different types of doublespeak, and begins by explaining the first type, the euphemism. According to Lutz it is "A word or Phrase designed to avoid a harsh or distasteful reality." During the eighty's the U.S. State Department replaced the word "killing" in their annual reports with the phrase "unlawful or arbitrary deprivation of life," to steer clear of the uncomfortable situation of government-sanctioned killings in countries supported by the U.S.

    The second type is jargon, which is the language used by a certain occupation, such as doctors or lawyers, or by a group of people who share the same hobby. According to Lutz, jargon has its rightful uses, allowing members of a group to speak more effectively. An example would be the term "involuntary conversion" of property, which is a legal term used to explain the loss or destruction of property by theft, accident, or condemnation, used between a lawyer and tax accountant. But when people use unfamiliar words to speak to people outside of the group, it becomes jargon.

    The third kind of doublespeak is gobbledygook or bureaucratese. Lutz explains that it is language which aims to confuse the audience by an overload of words. Alan Greenspan testified to a Senate committee that "it is a tricky problem to find the particular calibration in timing that would be appropriate to stem the acceleration in risk premiums created by falling incomes without prematurely aborting the decline in inflation-generated risk premiums."

    The fourth and final type of doublespeak is inflated language. According to Lutz is a language intended to make the ordinary seem extraordinary. As Lutz says, "Thus do car mechanics become "automotive internists," elevator operators become "members of the vertical transportation corps," grocery store checkout clerks become "career associate scanning professionals," and smelling becomes "organoleptic analysis."

    According to Lutz, doublespeak is a carefully crafted to appear to communicate but in reality it does the exact opposite. Doublespeak's intention is to mislead the people. It's the reason a tax increase may be called "revenue enhancement" or "tax-base broadening," the Mafia may be referred to as "members of a career-offender cartel." Doublespeak's intention is to hide or reduce the blowback from the truth.

    Lutz says that it is easy to not doublespeak seriously, as we all know what's really going on,. But the truth is we don't always know what is really going on, and when we don't doublespeak has fulfilled its purpose. It changes our understanding of the truth, and we begin to believe people who do not have our interests at heart. Lutz says, "It deprives us of the tools we need to develop, advance, and preserve our society, our culture, our civilization. It breeds suspicion, cynicism, distrust, and, ultimately, hostility."
     
  2. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    First of all, this belongs in the nonfiction subboard of the review room, but you have to perform at least two constructive critiques before posting your own work.

    Organization is great, but sometimes the long sentences can seem repetitive. You might want to spruce up your syntax and have some shorter sentences (asyndeton) too.

    During the 80s, not the eighty's.

    Also, whenever you have a preposition like "During the 80s," you need a comma after it.

    Great essay organization; good syntax overall.

    When you attribute, try stating the facts first, then ending the sentence or graf with "Lutz said." (Not "said Lutz" because who goes around saying "said he" or "said she"?) This will make it a little more dynamic-sounding because you can start your sentences with the main idea of the sentence.

    Hope I helped.
     
  3. Jabenton
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    Jabenton New Member

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    Thank you. The final tip about ending a sentence or paragraph with Lutz says, or explains, helped a lot.
     

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