9

It is repeated several times throughout 1984 that Newspeak is the official language of Oceania. However, as you can see below, although Oceania covers some English-speaking areas (Australia, England, the United States, Canada, etc.), much of its territory has native languages other than English (Spanish, Portuguese, Xhosa, etc.). Since the vast majority of Newspeak vocabulary is derived from English, is this "anglified" Newspeak spoken in South America and Africa, or is Newspeak adapted to work with each native language of each province of Oceania?

Map of the 1984 world

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    Please include attribution to the creator of the image, and a description as well (or just leave the description blank if you must). Thanks – Shokhet Mar 15 '17 at 19:09
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    Do you have reason to believe there are, or that this was discussed​ the book/by the author at all? – Aza Mar 15 '17 at 19:14
  • @Emrakul I think the OP provided sufficient backup for a belief that there could be: "much of its territory has native languages other than English (Spanish, Portuguese, Xhosa, etc.)" – Shokhet Mar 15 '17 at 19:34
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    @Emrakul From the Wikipedia page on Newspeak: "The words of the A vocabulary describe the functional concepts of everyday-life activities (eating and drinking, working and cooking, etc.), and is composed of words from Oldspeak (Standard English).". If much of Newspeak is derived from common English words, wouldn't it be reasonable that Oceanians who cannot speak English would have their own regional dialect of Newspeak? – fi12 Mar 15 '17 at 19:35
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    `@fi12 -- that's great backup! In my humble opinion, you should edit your question to include that info, rather than leaving it in a comment. – Shokhet Mar 15 '17 at 20:15
9

Probably not.

War prisoners apart, the average citizen of Oceania never sets eyes on a citizen of either Eurasia or Eastasia, and he is forbidden the knowledge of foreign languages

(George Orwell, 1984)

It is made very clear early on in the book that under IngSoc, what you would call cultural/national background is despised and probably in way of disappearing. Newspeak would therefore not be adapted to languages that are already banned.

Another possibility though, would be that Newspeak collected some local linguistic structures (Orwell says "formations"), as any language that becomes dominant after a transitional period. This is possible, but the following extract rules it out for the "purest" of Newspeak: before Newspeak became global, it was already purified of most English influences.

Newspeak was the official language of Oceania and had been devised to meet the ideological needs of Ingsoc, or English Socialism. In the year 1984 there was not as yet anyone who used Newspeak as his sole means of communication, either in speech or writing. The leading articles in 'The Times' were written in it, but this was a TOUR DE FORCE which could only be carried out by a specialist. It was expected that Newspeak would have finally superseded Oldspeak (or Standard English, as we should call it) by about the year 2050. Meanwhile it gained ground steadily, all Party members tending to use Newspeak words and grammatical constructions more and more in their everyday speech. The version in use in 1984, and embodied in the Ninth and Tenth Editions of the Newspeak Dictionary, was a provisional one, and contained many superfluous words and archaic formations which were due to be suppressed later. It is with the final, perfected version, as embodied in the Eleventh Edition of the Dictionary, that we are concerned here.

George Orwell, The principles of NewSpeak (appendix to 1984)

(All emphasis not in the original texts)

  • But if other Oceanians in other provinces spoke languages other than English, would they really be considered foreign? – fi12 Mar 16 '17 at 15:32
  • English is defined as a "LINGUA FRANCA" (capitals in the original) but I always understood it as an opposition to Newspeak rather than to local languages. – VicAche Mar 16 '17 at 17:38

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