The Military State and the Corruption of Language

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From The Grammar Bible by Michael Strumpf and Auriel Douglas, (in a discussion of the questionable word “treatied”):

Some say English is in a sorry state, and, quite often, I find it hard to disagree with them. People who find new ways to use words keep the language living and breathing, but the changes must enhance, not corrupt and oversimplify. Ever since the start of the Cold War, the military has been creeping through our televisions into our homes, and military-speak has followed right behind into our language. Most of this double-talk sounds awful, but as it enters popular usage, these words (or nonwords) become legitimized. Surveil, from surveillance, found its way into the dictionaries in 1949. I’m sure that George Orwell is spinning in his grave.

9:22 pm on June 10, 2005
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