1984: Big Brother is watching you
‘How is the dictionary getting on?’ said Winston, raising the voice to overcome the noise.
‘Slowly’, said Syme. ‘I’m on the adjectives. It’s fascinating.’ He had brightened up immediately at the mention of Newspeak ……. ‘The eleventh edition is the definitive edition,’ he said. ‘We’re getting the language into its final shape ¾ the shape it’s going to have when nobody speaks anything else. When we’ve finished with it, people like you will have to learn it all over again. You think, I dare say, that our chief job is inventing new words. But not a bit of it! We’re destroying words ¾ scores of them, hundreds of them, every day. We’re cutting the language down to the bone. The eleventh edition won’t contain a single word that will become obsolete before the year 2050.’ ….
‘It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. Of course the great wastage is in the verbs and adjectives, but there are hundreds of nouns that can be got rid of as well. It isn’t only the synonyms; there are also antonyms. After all what justification is there for a word which is simply the opposite of some other word? A word contains its opposite in itself. Take “good” for instance. If you have a word like “good”, what need is there for a word like “bad”? “Ungood” will do just as well¾better, because it’s an exact opposite, which the other is not. Or again, if you want a stronger version of “good”, what use is there in having a whole string of vague useless words like “excellent” and “splendid” and all the rest of them? “Plusgood” covers the meaning; or “doubleplusgood” if you want something stronger still. Of course we use those forms already, but in the final version of Newspeak there’ll be nothing else. In the end the whole notion of goodness and badness will be covered by only six words¾ in reality, only one word. Don’t you see the beauty of that, Winston? It was B.B.’s idea originally, of course,’ he added as an afterthought.
A sort of vapid eagerness flitted across Winston’s face at the mention of Big Brother. Nevertheless Syme immediately detected a certain lack of enthusiasm.
a) Why is the eleventh edition of dictionary particularly interesting
b) What will Winston have to learn all over again?
c) What normal English word would you use instead of doubleplusgood?
d) Why it is suggested that there is no justification for antonyms?
e) Do you think Winston is as enthusiastic as Syme? Which line tells you the true feelings of Winston?
Question 2: Read the following passage and put the verbs in the correct
form, present perfect or past simple.
Then and now
Twenty years ago few people realized (realize) that computers were about to become part of our daily lives. This short period of time has seen (see) enormous changes, in business, education and public administration. Jobs which _________________(take) weeks to complete in the past, are now carried out in minutes. Clerks who _______________ (spend) all day copying and checking calculations are now freed from these tedious tasks. In offices, the soft hum and clicking of word processors_________________(replace) the clatter of typewriters. Schoolchildren ____________________ (become) as familiar with hardware and software as their parents _________________ (be) with pencils and exercise books. Computerization of public records __________________ (enable) government departments to analyze the needs of citizens in details. Some of us may wonder, however, whether life ______________ (really/improve) as a result of these changes. Many jobs __________________ (disappear), for example, when intelligent machines ________________ (take) over the work. Employers complain that clerical staff ______________ (become) dependent on calculators and cannot do simple arithmetic.
Question 3: Carefully read the text given below which contains about 383 words. Then using your own words as far as possible, summarize it in about 120 words. Finally, supply a title for your summary.
The word ‘robot’ is derived from the Czechoslovak word ‘robota’ meaning ‘work done to order’ and was first used to describe an artificial man in Karel Capek’s play R.U.R. in 1921. Since then robots have thrilled cinema audiences; the first screen appearance being a mechnical woman in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis of 1926. The robot here was used to lead a workers’ revolution.
From then onwards robots became so popular in science fiction books and magazines that in the 1940s Isaac Asimov devised his three famous laws of robotics:
1 A robot may not harm a human being,
2 A robot must obey the orders given by a human being, except when these would conflict with the first law
3 A robot must protect its own existence, except where it conflicts with the first or second laws.
Throughout the 50s and 60s robots became increasingly popular and such notable creations as ‘Twiki’ the midget, boy-like valet of Buck Rogers appeared and featured in many of the Buck Rogers films. The 70s saw an explosion of film robots, including the stars of Star Wars the human-like android C3PO and his companion, the speechless ‘workdroid’ R2D2 who looked like a metal cylinder with legs. On TV, Dr. Who’s canine friend ‘K-9’ acquired a large following, while London Weekend Television produced their own ‘Metal Mickey’, a dustbin-shaped robot who was unpredictably zany.
In the 80s the fascination with robots continues to grow with ‘Marvin’ the paranoid android, from the book The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which became a cult with its own badges, posters and record.
These are all robots of fiction?but real-life ones are being increasingly
used: Fiat of Italy has an entire factory operated by robots, while
in Britain, and elsewhere, industrial robots capable of many things
from welding to paint spraying are being used. British Leyland’s
paint workshops are now fully automated, with robots being used for
all body spraying.
Within the next few years robots will be capable of speaking and understanding words, so conversation between man and robot will be a possibility. Robots will also have other senses developed so they will be able to distinguish things by touch and find their way around by the use of cameras and sensors. Then the robots of science fiction will be a reality.