Monday, 31 January 2011

My vocabulary is mine own thing

An interesting idea explored by Gabb is the way in which shutting-out whole parts of the English language from the vocabulary of cultural debate effectively tips the balance of debate in favour of the cultural reformists; by imposing a vocabulary that assumes a common mind-set from the start, one closes out even the avenues of potential debate. So for those for whom homosexuals remain inverts and buggers, fatherless children remain bastards and the disabled are handicapped, the melanin-gifted remain black, the follically challenged remain bald and those with learning difficulties remain educationally sub-normal, the very locus of discussion is unavailable. Their voices are simply not heard unless they adopt the language of the cultural revolution. This is not new; Graves of course objected some years ago


Gone are the drab monosyllabic days
When "agricultural labour" still was tilth.
And "100 % approbation", praise;
And "pornographic modernism", filth -
Yet still I stand by tilth and filth and praise.

10 comments:

TheFatBigot said...

It seems to be much more than just changing vocabulary and idiom. In the '50s and '60s da yoof invented language for use by the hep cats, but it was not exclusive, they still spoke properly at home and in shops - otherwise they wouldn't have been served.

The newspeak is different. It is not additional to oldspeak, it is to the exclusion of oldspeak. Yoof language for da yoof has become yoof language for all with no oldspeak allowed.

Anonymous said...

This type of exclusion or segregation works on many levels. It works also in public sector job adverts. You either "speak the language" or you cannot even apply. It's like a perverse left wing Masons (but at least the Masons do good) which seeks to practice its own brand of apartied by language. There was a TV program about this a couple of years ago, where a reporter posed as an applicant for dozens of PS "non-job" type jobs. He was unsuccessful on all counts because he didn't quite understand the difference between doing a good job and speaking on the "correct" terms.

Coney Island

Elby the Beserk said...

Any number of examples. "Gender" replacing "sex" for example, and for some reason this one really really irritates me, "outcomes" for "results".

Don't fuck with language - it's a crime against humanity.

Don Cox said...

Orwell had a few things to say about this.

Woodsy42 said...

Control the words and you control the concepts which are used for thought or discussion. You cannot so easily think or talk about something that has no name.

Edward Spalton said...

Canvassing door to door in the 2005 election, I was horrified at the number of times people checked themselves in speaking and asked me "Am I allowed to say that?".

We do tend to internalise what we feel to be "the law" in a way not usual in other countries. It is a hangover from the days when the law was worthy of respect. We have to grow out of the habit quickly if we are to become a free people again. The law and the state are in enemy hands. We need to internalise that truth now.

thefatlady said...

Some of us have not yet succumbed. I have recently been stirring the brown stuff for a family member and persist in using the term "mentally handicapped". He does not have "learning difficulties", he simply cannot learn. It does not stop me from getting the right result - in fact, it might even help.

hatfield girl said...

It started in America....

Anonymous said...

A Glasgow policeman spots a huge black guy dancing on the roof of an old Ford car.
He radios for backup.


"What's the situation?"

"A big fat darkie is dancing on the roof of an old car."

You can't say that over the radio" replies the operator, "You have to*
use the politically correct terminology"*

OK" he says:

"Zulu....Tango....Sierra"*

Anonymous said...

It is all 'elite speak'. You can't join if you speak wrong.
Sooner or later there will be evocations of the ancient Greeks - their 'civilisation' - and what they got up to. And it will become the done thing.
And lo - a homosaexual elite.