OnWords   /   OnWords: Kowtowing To The Language Of Power

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Description

When Wichita State University’s Education Department recently changed its name to the College of Applied Studies, it may have aligned them with university goals, but it was a blow to plain language. George Orwell warned us 70 years ago of such doublespeak. At the time, Orwell was writing about tyrannical governments, but if there is anything the intervening years have revealed, it’s that damage to plain language can be practiced by any totalizing system, whether it’s the state or an economic system or even a well-meaning social movement. People adopt the language the powerful are using because there are ramifications if they don’t. These range from direct punishments and sanctions to social ostracism or lack of opportunity. Thus education becomes “applied learning,” getting fired becomes “the right to work,” and bullying becomes “the art of the deal.” The pressure to shift our language to that of those in power need not be direct. It can seem like keeping up with a trend, like jargon

Summary

When Wichita State University’s Education Department recently changed its name to the College of Applied Studies, it may have aligned them with university goals, but it was a blow to plain language. George Orwell warned us 70 years ago of such doublespeak. At the time, Orwell was writing about tyrannical governments, but if there is anything the intervening years have revealed, it’s that damage to plain language can be practiced by any totalizing system, whether it’s the state or an economic

Subtitle
When Wichita State University’s Education Department recently changed its name to the College of Applied Studies, it may have aligned them with university goals, but it was a blow to plain language. George Orwell warned us 70 years ago of such doubles
Duration
101
Publishing date
2018-08-21 06:00
Link
https://www.kmuw.org/post/onwords-kowtowing-language-power
Contributors
Lael Ewy author  
Enclosures
44031_082118.mp4