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The World of Doublespeak

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“The World of Doublespeak” from the book English 121 Readings was written by William Lutz. This essay defines what doublespeak is and gives examples of types of doublespeak. Lutz also explains why doublespeak is not an effective form of communication.

Lutz defines doublespeak as “…language that pretends to communicate but really doesn’t. It is language that makes the bad seem good, the negative appear positive, the unpleasant appear attractive or at least tolerable.” He states that when doublespeak is used, it may seem so real that you may not even recognize it as doublespeak. When listening or reading he encourages asking simple who, what and why questions about what is being said. If you are unable to answer the questions, it is likely doublespeak is being used.

In the essay, Lutz states that there are four kind of doublespeak and gives definitions and examples of each. The first is the euphemism. The purpose of the euphemism is to use words to disguise the true meaning of what is being said. A euphemism is often used to avoid hurting the feelings of another although it may also be used to cover up harsh facts or content. The second example of doublespeak is jargon. Jargon is language that is particular to certain professions such as doctors and lawyers. To someone not associated with the specific group and their language, jargon will not make sense. It is often used by individuals who wish to sound more intelligent or important. Gobbledygook is the third kind of doublespeak described by Lutz.

This type of doublespeak uses big words and long sentences to confuse the audience. The last type of doublespeak described is inflated language. It is language that makes simple things seem more complicated than they are. Throughout the essay the author states his reasons why he believes doublespeak is so terrible. His primary reason is that because this language is often deceitful, it is capable of “corrupting thought.” If our thoughts are corrupted and we believe only what we hear through doublespeak our reality may be not what we believe it to be.

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