A perfect new language?

A New Language
Imagine a new language. It has a small vocabulary and simple grammar. There are no irregular verbs or strange spellings.

Nor do you need to learn a lot of words because it is "the only language in the world whose vocabulary gets smaller every year.’

Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? So why is a 'perfect language' part of George Orwell's nightmarish vision of the future, 1984?
Bad Thoughts
For Orwell controlling language is a way of controlling thought. So while the language courses for Newspeak would be shorter (and cheaper!) they wouldn’t be much fun.

It can get boring endlessly repeating ‘the government is great’. In fact, you can't even say 'the government is great in Newspeak.

Do you know why?
No Irregulars
You can't use the word ‘is’ in Newspeak. This is because 'is' is the present of an irregular verb: ‘be’.

Newspeak has no irregular verbs to learn. Doesn't that sound great?

Yet for Orwell Newspeak is a very bad idea. It's the official language of his nightmare vision of the future, 1984.
Big Brother
In 1984 there is no free speech, The secret police (called 'Big Brother') is 'watching you'. The government tries to control your thoughts

This was something Orwell saw in
dictatorships like Nazi Germany and The Soviet Union.
Orwell makes the connection between controlling language and controlling thought. But the original idea behind a perfectly regulated language was to create world peace.

Polish linguist and
pacifist, L.L. Zamenhof invented a new perfectly regular language. He called this language esperanto or hope.
George Orwell
Orwell came across Esperanto when he stayed with an aunt in Paris in 1927. He was hoping to improve his French but his aunt insisted on speaking Esperanto.

Orwell didn’t like Esperanto. He clearly based the rules of Newspeak on those of the ‘world language of peace’.
In Newspeak nice words describe horrible things. The 'Ministry of Love' promotes war. Big Brother is really the secret police.

Orwell believed that
corrupt language showed corrupt thought.
Was Orwell unfair to Zamenhof’s invented language? Esperanto has had some minor success. There are a significant number of fluent speakers of the language – though nobody is sure how many. Some say 100,000, others claim an improbable 2.5 million.

There are even Esperanto native or first language speakers, up to 1,000 according to some

But these
figures are still comparatively low. And Esperanto is still not the official language of any country in the world.
The idea behind Esperanto influences what has been described as 'Globish'. This is an evolving dialect of English emerging from the usage of second language speakers

But even in its original form, English will remain the dominant world language for the foreseeable future. More than one billion people use English as their ‘universal second language’.

It may be illogical. It may have unfair advantages over other languages. But it is still the lingua franca or universal language in much of the globe.

And you don’t need Big Brother to force anyone to use it.

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Try this
English Language Crossword. All the words are in this glossary.