Orwell does Stanford, Stanford does Newspeak

At the end of 1984, Orwell adds a non-novelistic appendix — “The Principles of Newspeak”

” Newspeak was the official language of Oceania (what England and Europe had become).    . . ..  The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc or English Socialism, but to make all other modes of thought impossible.”  …

“This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words … ”

“It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten …  a thought diverging from the principles of Ingsoc — should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words.”

Which brings us to 20 December ’22 and an editorial in the Wall Street Journal titled “The Stanford Guide to Acceptable Words” — unfortunately behind a paywall.   Stanford administrators apparently published an index of forbidden words to be eliminated from the school’s websites and computer codes, with inclusive replacements.   Somehow it came to light this month, and Stanford has hidden it because of the hilarity it induced, so we can’t enjoy it.

Fortunately, the WSJ editorial does provide a few examples

American is to be replaced by U. S. Citizen

Immigrant is to be replaced with person who has immigrated

Master (as in mastering a subject) is out because of its slavery connocations

Not to beat a dead horse is gone because it “normalizes violence against animals”

The list was prefaced with a trigger warning (a phrase no  longer to be used) “This website contains language that is offensive or harmnful. Please engage with this website at your own pace.

The editorial concludes by noting that ‘stupid’ is on the list.

How prescient Orwell was

The previous post in the series shows how his idea of doublethink encapsulates what chemists must do to use quantum mechanics to understand atoms.  — https://luysii.wordpress.com/2022/12/27/orwell-does-quantum-mechanics/

The one before that anticipates the 180 degree reversal of COVID advice in China — https://luysii.wordpress.com/2022/12/26/orwell-does-china/


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