Not Loving the Lingo

“‘You haven’t a real appreciation of Newspeak, Winston,’ he said almost sadly. ‘Even when you write it you’re still thinking Oldspeak….In your heart you’d prefer to stick to Oldspeak, with all its vagueness and its useless shades of meaning .You don’t grasp the beauty of the destruction of words. Do you know that Newspeak is the only language in the world whose vocabulary gets smaller every year?’ (Orwell, 1984 p.46)”

This passage from Orwell’s 1984 made me think of today’s generation. In his book, Winston’s totalitarian regime changes its language frequently, actually reducing the amount of words used in speech. At first thought, when I read this I thought what a horrible thing this was. Changing old language, or Oldspeak, into a less developed, more primitive language, or Newspeak. Why would any generation want to decline in advancements? Isn’t everybody’s goal always to move forward and find new and better ways of doing things?

After being shocked at the kind of world the characters in this book live in, I overheard my sister in the other room talking to a friend. “I accidentally turned in the wrong thing lol and when I realized it, he had already read it lol.”

Lol. Most of us are familiar with the phrase. It’s an acronym for laugh out loud. I suppose I could grasp the purpose behind it when actually texting someone. Instead of writing “haha,” people write lol. While I personally don’t do this, I see the reason behind it. But why was my sister saying it out loud? If what she was saying was so funny, couldn’t she have actually laughed out loud?texting

I have never really been a fan of text lingo. Sure, I’m the prime generation for this stuff, but it really requires more effort from me to come up with the abbreviations in comparison to actually writing it out.

Plz msg me. Brb.

I had to google that. I would much rather write out “Please message me, I’ll be right back.”

Reading 194 made me realize how similar our society is (in this aspect) to Winston’s. People are losing their ability to speak, and write, coherently. I’ve seen people writing essays for their English classes in school, with text language. And sometimes, the teachers didn’t even catch it.

I would also like to mention the fact that 1984 describes old language as vague with useless shades of meaning.


I saw this picture (to the right) and it made me think of the “useless shades of meaning.” The girl sees many more shades of color than the boy does, and is thus able to express herself more clearly. Winston is trying to cling onto the expression of life with his Oldspeak, while Big Brother is trying to tear it away from him, and everyone else.

Growing up with art lessons myself, I am a sucker to the multiple shades of color, ranging much more drastically than this picture implies.

In summary, I don’t like text lingo and I love variety of expression and language. Luckily, we live in a world of choice, and just because other people are texting this way, we don’t have to follow.



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