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The World of Doublespeak
Transcript of The World of Doublespeak
The world of DoubleSpeak
By: William Lutz
Rhetorical Techniques & Strategies.
Selection of Detail.
Point of View.
Analyze Lutz’s language in paragraphs 22 and 23. How do the connotations of words such as
strengthen the author’s message?
How does Lutz’s own language compare with the language he quotes as doublespeak?
Do you find his language clear and easy to understand?
Lutz uses many quotations that were quite current when he first published this piece in 1989 but that now may seem dated - for instance, references to presidents
nuclear arms race.
Do these examples undermine Lutz’s essay in any way?
Is his discussion of doublespeak still valid today?
Explain your answers.
or to the
author make about his readers’ educational backgrounds and familiarity with his subject?
What, according to Lutz, are the
April 20, 2010: The BP Oil Spill
What information do the following descriptions leave out?
How the leg was broken
Why the leg was broken
How severe the injury is
Loss of funding.
Emotional response to having nothing
exactly what it means to be bankrupt
stress of the process
implications of misuse of money
Government can spy on calls and texts
Violates right to privacy
Weakens trust with government
What is doublespeak?
"It is the incongruity between the word and the referent, between seem and be, between the essential function of language--communication-- and what doublespeak does-- mislead, distort, deceive, inflate, circumvent, obfuscate." (3)
Our activity tried to show modern uses of doublespeak
Notice everything left out of the euphemistic descriptions
What happens when governments rely on this tactic to relay information?
BP's Response to the spill.
"The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume." (Taken from www.theguardian.com)
Types of Doublespeak used:
"Dispersant" and "total water volume."
Overwhelm the reader/watcher (this was taken from an interview)
Make it seem like they know what they're doing
This is one long description that is saying, "There isn't enough oil to do any permanent damage."
People can become ignorant
Government can lie to people and get away with it
No one notices potential for power corruption
Danger is becoming a society like
Involved enough to understand repeated references to political figures
He refers to
Often uses a high level of diction
“Mislead, distort, deceive, inflate, circumvent, obfuscate.” (3)
Lutz alludes to Carter and Reagan administrations to relate to current events of readers at the time.
lutz's purpse is to inform readers that
Lutz assumes that readers are:
The argument does not lose strength.
was written in 1949, but it still holds importance and significance. The same holds true for this piece.
Though it's a little outdated, readers are still able to apply his essay to modern events and find the same results
“Doublespeak is insidious because it can infect and eventually destroy the function of language, which is communication between people and social groups.” (23)
"Why wouldn't an enhanced deterrent, a more stable peace, a better prospect to denying the ones who enter conflict in the first place to have a reduction of offensive systems and an introduction to defense capability?" (15)
Lutz, in effect, uses doublespeak throughout his argument.
Intentionally makes his writing hard to understand since he uses very high vocabulary
Trying to show that doublespeak often goes unnoticed
Need to make people more aware of when they are being fooled
The purpose behind doublespeak is to trick people
Lutz uses words that hold an
Conveying that people can be controlled through language
Sounds like he's talking directly to the reader
Discredits the "This can't happen to me" philosophy
Warning to everyone, especially the reader
Rhetorical questions help draw reader in
Add to informative tone
Less significant examples come first, more significant examples come later
First kind of doublespeak is not as dangerous as fourth kind
Lutz chooses many specific details that help prove his point that doublespeak is everywhere
"The Pentagon, too, avoids discussing unpleasant realities..."
"Lawyers...speak of an 'involuntary conversion' of property when discussing the loss or destruction of property..."
"...investigaion into the Challenger disaster in 1986 revealed the doublespeak.."
"...when Chrysler 'initaites a career alternative enhancement program,' it is really laying off five thousand workers..."