The Principles of Newspeak
By George Orwell 1948
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, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought -- that is, a thought diverging from the principles of IngSoc -- should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words. Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meaning and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words and stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meaning whatever.
From the foregoing account it will be seen that in Newspeak the expression of unorthodox opinions, above a very low level, was well-nigh impossible. It was of course possible to utter heresies of a very crude kind, a species of blasphemy. It would have been possible, for example, to say Big Brother is ungood. But this statement, which to an orthodox ear merely conveyed a self-evident absurdity, could not have been sustained by reasoned argument, because the necessary words were not available. Ideas inimical to Ingsoc could only be entertained in a vague wordless form, and could only be named in very broad terms which lumped together and condemned whole groups of heresies without defining them in doing so. One could, in fact, only use Newspeak for unorthodox purposes by illegitimately translating some of the words back into Oldspeak. For example, All mans are equal was a possible Newspeak sentence, but only in the same sense in which All men are red-haired is a possible Oldspeak sentence.
When Oldspeak had been once and for all superseded, the last link with the past would have been severed. History had already been rewritten, but fragments of the literature of the past survived here and there, imperfectly censored, and so long as one retained one's knowledge of Oldspeak it was possible to read them. In the future such fragments, even if they chanced to survive, would be unintelligible and untranslatable. It was impossible to translate any passage of Oldspeak into Newspeak unless it either referred to some technical process or some very simple everyday action, or was already orthodox(goodthinkful would be the Newspeak expression) in tendency. In practice this meant that no book written before approximately 1960 could be translated as a whole. Pre-revolutionary literature could only be subjected to ideological translation -- that is, alteration in sense as well as language. Take for example the well-known passage from the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of those ends, it is the right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government. . .
It would have been quite impossible to render this into Newspeak while keeping to the sense of the original. The nearest one could come to doing so would be to swallow the whole passage up in the single word crimethink. A full translation could only be an ideological translation, whereby Jefferson's words would be changed into a panegyric on absolute government.
Source:The Complete Newspeak Dictionary:
bellyfeel - Full emotional understanding. Blind, enthusiastic acceptance of a concept.
blackwhite- The ability to accept whatever "truth" the party puts out, no matter how absurd it may be. Orwell described it as "...loyal willingness to say black is white when party discipline demands this. It also means the ability to believe that black is white, and more, to know black is white, and forget that one has ever believed the contrary."
crimestop - Orwell's definition: "The faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. In short....protective stupidity."
crimethink - Doubting any of the principles of Ingsoc. To consider, even for a moment, any thought that that questions official state policy. "Crimethink" is the political version of "religious heresy". In Orwell's words, "Thoughtcrime is death. Thoughtcrime does not entail death, Thoughtcrime is death.... The essential crime that contains all others in itself." All crimes begin with a thought. So, if you control thought, you can control all crime. And most illogical beliefs systems make questioning its beliefs the highest crime of all.
doublethink - This word has made its way into the Merriam-Webster dictionary: dou•ble•think ('d&-b&l-"thi[ng]k), noun, Date: 1949 : a simultaneous belief in two contradictory ideas.
Here is how Winston Smith described doublethink in the novel:
"To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them,
to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself. That was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word 'doublethink' involved the use of doublethink.
duckspeak - (To quack like a duck). To speak without thinking. Can be either good or bad, depending on who is speaking, and whether or not they are on your side.
facecrime - Orwell's definition : "It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself -- anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide. In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face (to look incredulous when a victory was announced, for example) was itself a punishable offence. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime, it was called."
goodsex - Sex for the purpose of producing children for the party. The opposite of sexcrime.
goodthinker - One who strongly adheres to all of the principles of Newspeak. (goodthinked, goodthink, goodthinked, goodthinking, goodthinkful, goodthinking, goodthinkful, goodthinkwise, goodthinker )
Hate week - Week in which Oceanian citizens all attend rallies and parades to inflame hatred of Party enemies and heighten their efforts on behalf of Oceania.
Junior Anti-sex league - Organization promoting celibacy, and the eradication of the orgasm, because these things cause feelings of ownlife.
malreported - When the Times reports a fact which the government later deemed untrue. You see, the government is never "wrong", the paper merely reported the facts incorrectly. This term was often used in describing newspaper articles that contained references to unpersons, unfulfilled economic projections, or altered government policies.
memory hole - A system of pipes, similar to pneumatic tubes, which were used to destroy documents. A document stuffed in the memory hole would be conveniently whisked away to the furnaces below - quickly & easily wiped from history.
Newspeak as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary: propagandistic language marked by euphemism, circumlocution, and the inversion of customary meanings. Etymology: Newspeak, a language "designed to diminish the range of thought," in the novel 1984 (1949) by George Orwell. Date: 1950
oldthink - Holding on to old ideas and patterns of thought not consistent with current government policy (Ingsoc). Maintaining a belief that is no longer acceptable, but was normal just a few years prior.
ownlife - Individualism and eccentricity. A desire to do something for your own benefit. (i.e. hobbies, ownership of property, love, or any other Thoughtcrime)
Pornosec - Department of Minitrue. Produces the "lowest-kind" of pornography for the proles. In the Novel, it is described as a "sub-section of the Fiction Department which turned out cheap pornography for distribution among the proles. It was nicknamed Muck House by the people who worked in it". They "produced booklets in sealed packets with titles like Spanking Stories or One Night in a Girls' School, to be bought furtively by proletarian youths who were under the impression that they were buying something illegal.
prole - Proletarians. Approximately 85% of Oceania's population are in this class. Members of the party viewed them as animals. They are not as rigidly observed as members of the party, and very few (if any) have telescreens in their home. They are permitted to indulge in pornography, prostitution, and other acts considered thoughtcrime, simply because it would be impossible to observe all of them as rigidly as the party observes its own members. Plus, allowing them to indulge in these "little joys" helps to keep the masses content.
prolefeed - Rubishy "Entertainment" and spurious news which the Party handed out to the masses. This includes written literature, movies, porn, music, and other various propaganda created for the proles. (For a modern example of prolefeed, just turn on your television or radio. With the exception of some scientific programming, everything else is prolefeed.)
sexcrime - Having sex for enjoyment. Also, even having sex in the hope to create a family of your own. The only time that sex is considered goodsex is when it is performed in producing offspring for the party.
Telescreen - Two way television. All party members has one in every room of their apartment. Because of this, the party member is never out of earshot of the latest party propaganda, and not one second goes by that they are not under the surveillance of the party. There was no way to change the channel, and the telescreen could not be turned off except by members of the Inner Party.
Thinkpol - ThoughtPolice. Police force in charge of eliminating crimethink. The thought police monitor the public by way of spies (narcs), helicopters, and telescreens.
two minute hate - Daily telescreen specials in which various elements of crimethink were packaged into a parade of horrible images and sounds, at which, the viewers were expected to boo, hiss, curse. and release any negative emotions upon. To hear the Two Minute Hate from the opening credits of the movie, click here
unperson - Person that has been erased from existence by the government for breaking the law in some way. A unperson is completely erased from history. All records of their existence is removed from record, and all party members are expected to removed them from memory. To mention their name is considered thoughtcrime. This eliminates any possibility of martyrdom.
ungood - Bad. One of the rules of newspeak is that any word can be turned into its antonym by adding the prefix "un-". This allowed the removal of repetitive words such as horrible, terrible, great, fantastic, and fabulous from the language.