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Academic Paper

Title: Towards a New Word Order
Paper URL:
Author: Debaprasad Bandyopadhyay
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Indian Statistical Institute
Linguistic Field: Discourse Analysis; Semantics; Sociolinguistics
Abstract: Perhaps we are living in a 'Liberal and Developed New World' of communication. In this world, "development" has a certain spatial connotation that declares the triumph of technocratic reason. In addition, the dialogue, in the present "developed technical society", is pervaded by 'Culture of critical discourse' (Gouldner, 1979), a context/situation-free language used by technical intelligentsia. Here speech becomes impersonal and speakers hide behind their speech. Dialogue has become disembodied, de-contextualized, and self-grounded. From media to "peaceful" war, there are words with new packages. Media sells and we, as consumers, digest these supra-adjectives as 'new' 'renew' 'super' 'supreme', 'extra', 'ultra', etc., stamped in the packages. Words as commodity, thus, have become costly in the contemporary technological global village-market. /L//L/This paper concentrates on the condition of language in the context of post-industrialized technocratic society that is guided by the instrumental reasons, taking cue from Marcuse (1964). It is observed that in a technocratic a society, a magico-ritual language has emerged in the realm of close non-reciprocal interaction between media and mass. It is a type of "encritic language" (cf. Barthes, 1973 & 75) with full of repetitions, clichés and stereotypes. In this paper, the author has attempted to show that in the "developed new world", lexical items and their meanings are inverted (author exemplified it with the facts of three fictions: Tagore’s Kingdom of Cards, Orwell’s 1984 and Godard’s Alphaville) and sometimes have become meaningless or fixed and stilted with null signified (in Russell’s word, "empty terms"). The author has tried to understand this inverted commoditized costly words and encritic language with a view to understand the world-view as well as word-view of the technical instrumental rationality, that blocks the development of "normal" (?), "natural" (?) Rationality. What do these phrases mean in today’s Newspeak: "strategic defense", "Peacekeeping force" or "nuclear deterrence" or "peacekeeper" (name of a missile)?
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Venue: Social Science Congress,Vadodara. 12-16 Nov.,1994.
Publication Info: Sharma, Dhirendra ed. Philosophy and Social Action. Vol.23:4(pp.19-27) Delhi. RNI: 26958/75 ISSN 0377-2772

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