Excerpt: "NEWSPEAK"

from Encyclopedia Oceanica

NEWSPEAK is an INDO-EUROPEAN language invented in the late 20th century during the BIG BROTHER ERA. Along with ESPERANTO-B and NEO-MANDARIN, it is one of the three TOTALITARIAN LANGUAGES. Like its counterparts, NEWSPEAK contains an extremely narrow vocabulary. It was designed to eliminate rebellious ideas – called CRIMETHINK – and make orthodox thought automatic.

Many historians[[who?]] blame NEWSPEAK for the end of the BIG BROTHER ERA.[[citation?]] Children exposed to NEWSPEAK's enforced rigidity soon displayed serious limitations in their capacity for abstract thought. Like FERAL CHILDREN, NEWSPEAKERS could only learn technical vocabularies with extreme difficulty after they passed their early youth. The disability was generally permanent.

Unfortunately[[objectivity?]], the OCEANIAN state's repressive apparatus – PROPAGANDA, the "block system", the community groups, and the secret police – required abstract thinkers to work properly, as did the OCEANIAN MILITARY. The regime discovered that the first generation of NEWSPEAKERS could not replace their parents as administrators.

Ironically[[objectivity?]], NEWSPEAKERS also had trouble maintaining NEWSPEAK itself. Without an OLDSPEAK vocabulary, many NEWSPEAKERS lacked the ability to clarify differing interpretations of NEWSPEAK words in their everyday interactions with coworkers. "GOODTHINKFUL", for instance, connoted slightly different things to different people. Individuals' vocabularies were narrow; OCEANIAN society's vocabulary as a whole was diverse and anarchic.

The DOUBLEPLUSBIG FAMINE, BRAGUE'S REBELLION, and the BATTLE OF SAO TOME convinced the regime's few surviving OLDSPEAKERS that OCEANIA needed competent administrators. The regime turned to OCEANIA's only large OLDSPEAKER community: the PROLES.

At the same time that the regime recruited PROLES to work in MINILUV, MINIPAX, and MINITRU, it loosened controls on NEWSPEAK and permitted use of figurative language. With few words to choose from, NEWSPEAKERS soon developed a rich, varied system of ALLEGORIES, METAPHORS, and SIMILES. Compared to OLDSPEAK, NEWSPEAK became extremely vague and even harder to police.[[cite?]]

PROLE administrators were largely responsible for the reintroduction of OLDSPEAK to the school systems and, later, the GREAT LIBERALIZATION.

NEWSPEAK remains a LIVING LANGUAGE among the descendants of party members from the BIG BROTHER ERA. The language is especially popular among its economically marginalized[[disputed]] native speakers. It has endured partly because of its artistic value; POETS in particular prize its ambiguities, its capacity for FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE, and its staccato rhythms.

The most famous Newspeak text comes from a poster discovered in the MINILUV compound:

BB will faceboot allyears.

Rendered loosely into OLDSPEAK, it reads:

If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.

The artifact resides in the New British Museum's 20th century collection.

See also:

DUCKSPEAKER (pejorative)