Mark Crispin mrc at CAC.Washington.EDU
Sun Jun 1 11:15:03 CEST 2003

On Sun, 1 Jun 2003, Michael Everson wrote:
> Naming a language and making a dozen words up does not a language
> make. Are you suggesting the following?

In the book "1984", Newspeak was more of a jargon than a separate
language; its users spoke in English laced with Newspeak words, and it was
a major accomplishment to produce an article written entirely in Newspeak.

I fear that the Rubicon has already been crossed in the registry of
jargons and slangs (e.g. Scouse); nevertheless there are much stronger
contenders for registration that should be considered first.

For example, Marxist jargon is spoken and written by many more people than
Newspeak.  This includes English phrases such as "contradictory tendencies
of the thing" (one of several euphemism for Hegel's model of historical
development of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis), "dialectical
materialism" (what Marxist philosophy calls itself; the synthesis of
Hegel's model and a model that treats the universe as matter in motion),
and "lumpen proletariat" (violent criminals who can be recruited for
terrorist activities) which have special meanings to the Marxist.  There
are also words which are not in English (but are similar to English words)
and have specific definitions, such as "economism" (the belief that trade
unions can make a lasting difference in the conditions of the workers; a
heresy to Marxists).

Although of great historical interest, and quite comic in its own way, I
don't believe that Marxist jargon deserves its own language tag.  But it
has a stronger claim than Newspeak.

-- Mark --
Science does not emerge from voting, party politics, or public debate.

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