Why George Orwell's Ideas About Language Still Matter for Lawyers
Montana Law Review, Vol. 68, p. 129, 2007
22 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2007 Last revised: 22 Oct 2007
This article examines George Orwell's theories about language and applies them to contemporary legal discourse in the United States. It concludes that Orwell's advice about the importance of clear, plain English comports with today's accepted legal writing style. However, his warnings about deceptive language in legal and political discourse have not been well heeded. The article suggests that lawyers can assume a role in changing that.
Keywords: George Orwell, Orwellian, language, plain English, legal writing, concise, succinct, prolix, gobbledygook, Newspeak, 1984, Oceania, Winston Smith, politics, clichés, trite, passive voice, active voice, jargon, legalese, foreign words, euphemisms, evasion
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