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Totalitarian Political Discourse?

Tolerance and Intolerance in Eastern and East Central European Countries- Diachronic and Synchronoc Aspects- In collaboration with Karsten Senkbeil


Edited By Beatrix Kreß

This volume contributes to the study of political and especially totalitarian language in the countries of the former Eastern Bloc, by bringing together not only diachronic and synchronic aspects, but also by including different media types, such as newspapers, the internet, and different discourse types, e.g. environmental and gender discourses. The combination of historical and contemporary perspectives in many contributions add comparative dimensions, while also shedding light on relevant socio-political developments and phenomena in those post-communist countries, thus uniting linguistic methods with cultural studies.


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Introduction: Beatrix Kreß


6 Inhalt Sabine Borovanská Doing gender by Czech politicians and their partners...................................... 177 Introduction Beatrix Kreß “You haven’t a real appreciation of Newspeak, Winston,” he said almost sadly. “Even when you write it you’re still thinking in Oldspeak…. In your heart you’d prefer to stick to Oldspeak, with all its vagueness and its useless shades of meaning. You don’t grasp the beauty of the destruction of words. Do you know that New- speak is the only language in the world whose vocabulary gets smaller every year?” (Orwell 1949: 45) Orwell’s notion of “Newspeak” has its equivalents in many languages, as it has been translated extensively, but in the countries of the former Eastern Bloc it had not only a reference in the real world, we can also find artistic synonyms. In his play “Vyrozumění” (“The Memorandum”) Václav Havel even found two expressions to name the phenomenon of a language constructed along strictly scientific lines without the annoying ambiguity of natural languages: “Ptydepe” and “Chorukor”. This is not the only evidence of a well-known and already well-described fact, the existence of a phenomenon largely analogous to Orwells’s Newspeak in the former communistic countries; analogous in its functioning as a certain po- litical language that helps to persuade and spread an ideology, but mainly to conceal facts and establish a sphere of anxiety. However, the linguistic devices used by politicians of the regimes and countries in question differ from Orwell’s Newspeak in certain aspects: they are rhetorically sophisticated, polysemy and...

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