George Orwell on language and thought

“A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks.  It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language.  It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.”

–George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language,” 1946


2 thoughts on “George Orwell on language and thought

  1. Very thought provoking. I believe that our educational system at the pre-college level needs to do a better job of teaching. I suspect the question is teaching what? They might start with critical thinking skill development and the language arts, but we will still have politicians and political commentators who dive into the swamp of foolish thoughts.

  2. I think there’s a pretty widespread assumption in our society that critical thinking doesn’t have anything to do with language and with developing a mastery of precise communication.

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