HUMA Paper 2

HUMA Paper 2 - Isaac 1 Katherine Isaac Professor Grenoble...

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Isaac 1 Katherine Isaac Professor Grenoble HUMA 17100 February 15, 2008 Meaning Travels through the Commonplace George Orwell, in his essay “Politics and the English Language,” claims that the decline in meaning in the English language lies in political and economic causes. He expresses regret that empty phrases and metaphors have become a part of everyday English use. He states that the atrophy of meaning in the English language does not have its roots in the influence of bad writers, but that those bad writers have been influenced by the language of politicians. Thus Orwell blames the degeneration of meaning on political and economic causes. Orwell claims that, under this bad influence, people have come to use phrases and words that possess meanings other than what he or she tries to communicate. People use certain phrases because they have heard them used over and over again to the point that they will use the phrases even when the phrases do not convey the appropriate meaning—they are so caught up in regurgitating what they have heard that they are unable to express their own thoughts in an effective manner. Orwell goes so far as to invent a list of rules that, if followed, bad writing would not exist on the level that renders it utterly meaningless. The first rule requires that writers not use bromide expressions. The problem with this rule lies in the fact that on many occasions the commonplace expressions are what convey meaning best.
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Isaac 2 This simulates the idea of “framing” put forth by George Lakoff. Here is a
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course HUMA 17100 taught by Professor Grenoble during the Winter '07 term at UChicago.

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HUMA Paper 2 - Isaac 1 Katherine Isaac Professor Grenoble...

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