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I was born on my brother Bobby's second birthday and we shared a bedroom. Bobby's side of the room was always clean and organized, whereas mine was always a big mess. I was constantly taking his things and either losing them or breaking them. So Bobby had my Dad build him shelves that were high enough so I could not reach them. Then he hid all the stools in the house.



Now, thinkifthereisanythingyoucouldcommunicatewithoutlanguage.





Open end





Other species communicate after fashion. The question is after what fashion? Different species of animals communicate by singing, dancing, making signals, but are all these language? One can argue that they are not in that they are routines produced as a more or less automatic response, and so reactive to particular affairs. In this respect they lack the essential flexibility of human language which enables us to be proactive, to create new meanings and shape our own reality unconstrained by the immediate context.

‘No matter how eloquently a dog may bark, he cannot tell you that his parents were poor but honest’ B. Russel.


We use language to communicate everything we perceive in the world around us. We use language for describing things, expressing feelings, persuading people, telling jokes, writing literature…

How much could we know about the world if we had no language or means of communicating with other people?


Is it true that

Everybody Lies,

or it is just a series of problems in what we mean by what we say?


Language determines our experience of reality, and we can see and think only what our language allows us to see and think. Do you agree?

The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis claims that language determines the way we think, it can be described as a form of linguistic determinism.


The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to devotees of Ingsoc (the government party), but to make all other modes of thought impossible. It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all, thinking and therefore, acting, in the “old way” would be impossible.

The vocabulary of Newspeak was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning a person would like to express. This was done partly by the invention of new words but mainly by eliminating undesirable words and by stripping such words of all secondary meanings whatsoever.

Newspeak was designed not to extend but to diminish the range of thought, and this purpose was indirectly assisted by cutting the choice of words down to a minimum.







Floating Fortress












Bellyfeel – Full emotional understanding. Blind, enthusiastic acceptance of a concept.

Crimethink – To even consider any thought not in line with the principles

Doubleplus… - A prefix used to create the superlative form of an adjective or adverb. (i.e. pluscold and doublepluscold, respectively, 'very cold' and 'superlatively cold'). 

Doublethink – A simultaneous belief in two contradictory ideas.

Duckspeak - (To quack like a duck). To speak without thinking. 

Floating Fortress – Huge sea bases. Gigantic battleships.

Goodsex – Sex for the purpose of producing children for the party. The opposite of sexcrime.

Joycamp – Forced-labor camp.

Minipax – Ministry of Peace (war).

Miniplenty – Ministry of Plenty (rationing). The Ministry of Plenty controlled the entire economy.

Minitrue – Ministry of Truth (propaganda). 

Ownlife – The tendency to enjoy being solitary.

Unperson – Person that has been erased from existence by the government for breaking the law in some way.

Ungood – Bad.

Vaporized – The act of being executed by the state, and having all records of your existence erased. 


Nineteen Eighty-Four is a novel by George Orwell about the totalitarian regime of a socialist Party.

The novel depicts an oligarchic collectivist society where life in the Oceanian province is a world of perpetual war, pervasive government surveillance, and incessant public mind control. The individual is always subordinated to the masses, and it is in part this philosophy which allows the Party to manipulate and control humanity.

In the Ministry of Truth (Minitrue), protagonist Winston Smith is a civil servant responsible for perpetuating the Party's propaganda by revising historical records to render the Party omniscient and always correct, yet his meagre existence disillusions him to the point of seeking rebellion against Big Brother, eventually leading to his arrest, torture, and conversion.

As literary political fiction, 1984 is a classic novel of the social science fiction subgenre, thus, since its publication in 1949, the terms and concepts of Big Brother, doublethink, thoughtcrime, Newspeak, Memory hole, etc., became contemporary vernacular, including the adjective Orwellian, denoting George Orwell's writings and totalitarianism as exposited in Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm (1945).


Was Orwell a prophet?.... hopefully not.

But, here are a few items from 1984 which now exist in modern life…


Make a list of the main problems a country could face in one of the government areas below:



Social Issues

External Affairs




If you were the Minister in charge of one of the government areas below, and things were going really bad, what would you say in a speech addressing the nation, to tell them totally the opposite from the real truth?

You can also make a speech for convincing people of doing something (or accepting something) you are sure they wouldn’t, or at least that is not beneficial for them but for your own interests.

Make sure your speech is convincing and, over all, that it sounds real.


Love is our resistanceThey keep us apart and they won't stop breaking us downAnd hold me, our lips must always be sealed

If we live our life in fearI'll wait a thousand yearsJust to see you smile againKill your prayers for love and peaceYou'll wake the thought policeWe can hide the truth inside(It could be wrong, could be wrong)But it should've been right(It could be wrong, could be wrong)Let our hearts ignite(It could be wrong, could be wrong)Are we digging a hole?(It could be wrong, could be wrong)This is outta control



Van de Lagemaat, 51.



When you don’t know what the key words in a passage mean, you will not understand it. You must know what a sentence means before you can decide whether it is true or false.






The only words that can be defined in a clear and unambiguous way are the mathematical terms (circle, triangle…). When it comes to other words, they have fuzziness at their borders that is hard – if not impossible – to eliminate.



What distinguishes a meaningful word from a meaningless one is that the former stands for something while the latter does not.


Twasbrilling, and the slithytoves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:

All mimsy were the borogroves,

And the momerathsoutgrabe.

Lewis Carroll


Can we be sure that others understand what we try to explain them?

The meaning of a word is the mental image it stands for, and you know the meaning of a word when you have the appropriate concept in your mind.



…it would be better to say that meaning is a matter of know-how, and that you know the meaning of a word when you know how to use it correctly.


By learning a second language, what are the things you have discovered in terms of how a language reflects the way its speakers divide the world up in different forms?








  • He wasjustpullingyourleg
  • It’s raining cats and dogs

I am overthemoon

  • Shewasbornwith a silverspoon in hismouth


On the positive side, labeling is efficient and economical because you can know what to expect from things.

Apple –

Teacher –

Cat –

Mobile phone –

Rose –


On the negative side, labeling can lead you to mislabeling things. If you treat similar things as if they were different (or vice versa, treating different things as being all the same) you are likely to run into trouble.

Natural labeling:

Cultural labeling:





Social constructions we impose to the world


Which of the following adjectives are associated more with men and which are associated more with women?









How much truth do you think there is in these stereotypes?


To what extent do our labels passively describe reality, and to what extent do they actively structure it?

The idea that our labels reflect the natural order of things is supported by the fact that there really do seem to be elements – such as gold or silver – and species – such as dogs and cats – out there corresponding to our categories. However, other labels – especially those used to classify human beings - might seem to be more cultural than natural.

The idea that our labels reflect the natural order of things is supported by the fact that there really do seem to be elements – such as gold or silver – and species – such as dogs and cats – out there corresponding to our categories. However, other labels – especially those used to classify human beings - might seem to be more cultural than natural.


Putting labels on people can easily lead into stereotypes.

A stereotype arises when we make assumptions about a group of people purely on the basis of their membership of that group, nationality i.e.

Do stereotypes contain some truth in them?

Typically a stereotype is a caricature which exaggerates the negative features of a group and assumes they are possessed by all members of the group. Furthermore, it is usually based on prejudice rather than fact and is difficult to change in the light of contrary evidence.


Labels, appliedtopeople… and appliedtoanyotherthing in theworld…

Labels can trap up us into one particular way of looking at things. Moreover, it is difficult – if not impossible – to capture the uniqueness and individuality of things in words.


Good storyteller or liar? …fluent conversationalist or wind-bag? …self-confident or arrogant? …internally strong or insensitive?

What you decide to say about a person depends on the approach you have with him or her, and at the same time, the things that are said about people affect the way we think about them.



The world's local bank

A diamond is forever.

Obey your thirst.

I'm lovin' it.

Melts in your mouth, not in your hands.

It keeps going and going and going.

When it absolutely, positively, has to be there overnight.

Because I'm worth it

Just Do It.

Don't leave home without it


The world's local bank

A diamond is forever.

Obey your thirst.

I'm lovin' it.

Melts in your mouth, not in your hands.

It keeps going and going and going.

When it absolutely, positively, has to be there overnight.

Because I'm worth it

Just Do It.

Don't leave home without it


Whycan’tweseethecolour box whichisdifferent?

In short, the range of stimuli that for Himba speakers comes to be categorized as "serandu" would be categorized in English as red, orange or pink. As another example, Himba children come to use one word, "zoozu," to embrace a variety of dark colors that English speakers would call dark blue, dark green, dark brown, dark purple, dark red or black.

Roberson and her colleagues explain that different languages have differing numbers of "basic color terms." English has 11 such terms, the same as in many of the world's major languages, and Himba has five, each of which covers a broader range of colors.

“Hues and Views” from American Psychological Association

Apparently, since we have only one word for all tones of green, our brain cannot see the subtle differences between 97 192 4 and all the others (80 186 15)