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Linguistic Manipulation and Ideology in Orwell’s Novels
Linguistic Manipulation and Ideology in Orwell’s Novels

Author(s): Alexandra-Florina Jic
Subject(s): Literary Texts
Published by: Universitatea »1 Decembrie 1918« Alba Iulia
Keywords: Orwell; language; thought; manipulation; ideology

Summary/Abstract: My paper statement is that the most important vehicle for thought control employed by totalitarian regimes in order to destroy individual freedom and achieve total control over the masses is language. Being essentially related to culture as it is generally perceived as a product of culture, language may also be approached from a rather modern perspective, i.e. as an influencer of culture, be it national, organizational or ideological. Language can affect the way a community perceives and interacts with the world, and can create a cultural identity different from the rest of the world. Therefore, the paper approaches George Orwell’s Nineteen Eigthy-Four and Animal Farm from a linguistic point of view with a focus on language manipulation in an attempt to make a pragmatic analysis of the linguistic tools that enabled totalitarian systems to manipulate people’s minds in their quest for the total submission of the individual. The paper illustrates the way in which such all-embracing political systems have managed to twist people’s minds, i.e. by producing mutations at the deepest level of human conscience with the help of a ‘wooden language’, i.e. a language especially designed to meet ideological needs. Moreover, I pinpoint how language can control the conceptual system of its speakers by analyzing language in relation to political discourse and proving that almost every word carries ideological implication. The line of research proposed in the present paper centers around Françoise Thom’s and Teun van Dijk’s studies on ideological discourses and manipulation through language. All in all, the paper aims at providing a pragmatic analysis on the sociolinguistic techniques of manipulation employed by totalitarian systems in order to achieve total control over people’s thoughts, with concrete examples in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm.

  • Issue Year: 12/2011
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 297-308
  • Page Count: 11
  • Language: English