„Doublespeak“ as a political tool and danger to society (Mat7030-e-n-s-p))

What this is about

This is an English translation (translated with the help of deepl) from German. The original page can be found here:

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We hope that the minute overview of the video will also be of help to our English-speaking users.

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  • Here we present a video that can be used as the basis for a presentation.
  • It is particularly interesting when it comes to language and politics.
    • One example that has been much discussed in recent years is the so-called „special fund“ for the Bundeswehr.
    • An article in the FAZ quotes the Federal Audit Office, which criticizes the term and considers „special debts“ to be more appropriate.
  • When we talk about „politics“ here, we don’t just mean official politics.
  • Politics is „the art of the possible“ – and something like this also plays a role in the private or general professional sphere.
    • „I’m currently on a job break“. In reality, someone here is unemployed.
    • The same applies to „We are taking a break from our relationship“ instead of „We have broken up“.
    • Or: „I’m in a transition phase“ instead of. „I don’t know what to do with my life at the moment.“
    • „I’ve put on a bit of weight“ – instead of: „I’ve got fatter“.
    • „I’m into minimalism“ – instead of: ‚I can’t afford more furniture at the moment‘.
    • „I’m picky about who I socialize with“ – instead of: „I have trouble making friends.“

Presentation of a video on the subject of „Doublespeak“

  1. We present a video here,
    • which can be found on Youtube here:
    • It bears the subtitle:
      „Orwell’s Warning: The Insidious Nature of Political Language“.
      Which Deepl translates as:
      „Orwell’s Warning: The Insidious Nature of Political Language“
    • So here it becomes clear that it’s all about political language.
      And this also plays a role in the German Abitur.
    • A presentation on this will certainly please the teacher, lead to a better grade and also make your classmates more fit for life.
      Because you have to deal with it much more often than you think.
    • Because in language, the effect is often more important than the truth.
      So the truth is

      • glossed over a little,
        Unpleasant things are simply called something else
        A typical example is the „dismissal“ of employees in a company.
        This means nothing other than that they are made redundant.
      • And what increases the impact is emphasized accordingly.
        „We’ve been taking care of the environment since the company was founded.“
        The fact that the company has only been on the market for two years and previously operated a factory that went bankrupt due to environmental damage is concealed.
  1. But let’s get a quick overview of the video:
    We have marked the sections with a minute/second indication so that you can quickly find the relevant part.

    • Overview of the video
    • 0:02: Thought experiment: Imagine a situation in which the words denote something other than what would be normal.
    • 0:15: Hint that this is real
    • 0:25: Content of the video: The dangers of this kind of language
    • 0:41: Reference to George Orwell’s work, from which the term originates
    • 0:56: Aim of this Doublespeak: You should accept something that is actually abnormal.
    • 1:25: Definition by William Lutz: Indication that the opposite of true communication is happening here.
    • 2:28: It’s not about grammar, but about meaning, i.e. the normal assignment of word and meaning is changed – even to the opposite.
    • 3:11: The four main types of doublespeak
    • 3:20: Euphemism, i.e. whitewashing
    • 5:34: Jargon of technical language – impression of profundity that you can’t keep up with.
    • 6:29: Overwhelming from talking a lot
    • 7:10: Examples from corporate communications
    • 8:03: Inflated language – embellishment with grandiose terms
    • 8:59: The spread of doublespeak and its dangers
    • 9:41: Reframing – embedding words in a new, desired context
    • 10:15: Danger in politics, bsd. for a democratic society
    • 12:01: Repetition leads to consolidation in people’s consciousness
    • 11:09: Insight from neuroscience: we live in „constructed“ worlds
    • 11:39: Example of the use of placebos in medicine
    • 12:06: Doublespeak enables corresponding manipulation
    • 12:22: Essay by Georg Orwell, in which he goes into more detail about the relationship between language and politics
    • 13:29: Danger for the development of a society
    • 14:34: Examples from American politics
    • 15:26: Danger for communication
    • 16:18: Language and totalitarianism
    • 19:44: Doublespeak is not a linguistic accident, but a strategy
Further information can be found here (in German)