[ExI] newspeak again, was: RE: How PISA surveys systematically overestimate Finland

spike spike66 at att.net
Tue Nov 13 17:24:53 UTC 2012

-----Original Message-----
From: extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org
[mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Charlie Stross
Sent: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 8:48 AM
To: ExI chat list
Subject: Re: [ExI] How PISA surveys systematically overestimate Finland

On 13 Nov 2012, at 05:23, spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:

> _______________________________________________
>>... Being a poster-child example of an English-as-only-language speaker, I
have often wondered why it is we have so many different words for the same

>...As James Nicoll put it, "English doesn't so much borrow words from other
languages as pursue them down dark alleyways to mug them and steal their
spare vocabulary."

>...Finally, there's the process of coining of new words. Some of which are
awful: why do we "plane" and "de-plane" on aircraft, when there are
perfectly serviceable words like "embark" and "disembark" (for getting on
and off your barque, of course -- via old French from the Latin barca, or
"ship's boat")? --Charlie

Plane and de-plane: I view it as a good example of Newspeak, as described by
Orwell in 1984.  It was required reading for a lit class in high school.  I
took no end of harassment from my lads for pointing out that in this dark
dystopian tale, Newspeak was one hell of a good idea: a strict subset of
language simplified in every practical way and kept inside a small even if
clumsy vocabulary.  

Charlie, I have spent plenty of CPU cycles pondering this topic.  Your
example of planing and de-planing is a demonstration of turning a noun into
a verb.  As a fun little exercise, let us see what absurd lengths we can
take this concept.  Eliminate the more common expressive words such as
embark and disembark, replace with word forms wherever possible in which the
same root is used as a noun, a verb, an adverb, an adjective, in a process I
will name utilization.  If a word can be used in all the categories, that
word achieves full utilization.  The most universally utilized word I can
think of is fuck.  That one is commonly used in all parts of speech already.

Charlie, using your example: Next month I will go get on a plane, and while
I am deplaning, I will gaze out the terminal window and admire the planing
parked out there, while ponder how many times I have planed over the years,
further contemplating my return trip in which I will planely travel back to
the west coast, making for a plane quick trip.

The English alphabet beats the Chinese languages because it has fewer
characters, each working harder.  English needs a subset with fewer words,
each working harder.


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