History reveals numerous examples of 'speak' and we can draw many examples to illustrate this. These are three of them:
When Hitler said he was sending Jews, gypsies and anyone else or groups of peoples he didn't like, to 'work camps', which had the motto above the gates - 'Work will set you free'. That was doublespeak.
The book '1984' by George Orwell is another example, as is the literary political tome "Animal Farm". Who can forget the statement, "We are all equal but some are more equal than others." That is double speak.
Wikipedia describes doublespeak as a language that deliberately disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words. Doublespeak may take the form of euphemisms (e.g., "downsizing for layoffs"), making the truth less unpleasant, without denying its nature.
It may also be deployed as intentional ambiguity or reversal of meaning (for example, naming a state of war "peace"). In such cases, doublespeak disguises the nature of the truth, producing a communication bypass. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_speak
Webster's dictionary defines doublespeak with these words: evasive, ambiguous, high-flown language intended to deceive or confuse.
In his best selling book Doublespeak, William Lutz notes that doublespeak is not an accident or a "slip of the tongue." Instead, it is a deliberate, calculated misuse of language.
Specific Attributes of Doublespeak
Lutz provides several defining attributes of doublespeak:
- distorts reality
- pretends to communicate
- makes the bad seem good
- avoids or shifts responsibility
- makes the negative appear positive
- creates a false verbal map of the world
- limits, conceals, corrupts, and prevents thought
- makes the unpleasant appear attractive or tolerable
- creates incongruity between reality and what is said or not said
Then there are 'conundrums'. Anything that puzzles. Where no one is quite sure what the 'speak' means. It needs to be worked out. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conundrum
It might be a 'he says, she says' situation. Or possibly where the Government denied a situation had ever happened probably didn't, but we don't know and possibly we should give them the benefit of the doubt, but there is enough doubt from previous experiences to question it.
An example that caught the national eye was the then Australia's Federal Childcare Minister, Kate Ellis, who dismissed as 'ridiculous' fears that under 'proposed' national regulations childcare workers could be fined for sending children to the ''naughty corner'' or indeed for celebrating Christmas and Easter.
Minister Ellis was responding to a newspaper report the day before suggesting childcare centres could be fined up to $50,000 and supervisors $10,000 for sending disobedient children to ''time out'' or requiring children to take part in such activities as Easter egg hunts.
To illustrate the art form of speak as a conundrum, the Minister, Kate Ellis said: ''The draft regulations do outline provisions which protect children from inappropriate forms of punishment while giving carers scope to impose discipline if required.''
www.smh.com.au You figure it out ... No wonder they lost the election in 2013.
Jesus used parables as 'speak'. Jesus' parables are seemingly simple and memorable stories, often with imagery, and each conveys a message. Scholars have commented that although these parables seem simple, the messages they convey are deep, and central to the teachings of Jesus. Christian authors view them not as mere similitude's which serve the purpose of illustration, but as internal analogies where nature becomes a witness for the sporotual world.
Many of Jesus' parables refer to simple everyday things, such as a woman baking bread (parable of the Leaven), a man knocking on his neighbor's door at night (parable of the Friend at Night), or the aftermath of a roadside mugging (parable of the Good Samaritan); yet they deal with major religious themes, such as the growth of the Kingdom of God, the importance of prayer, and the meaning of love. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parables_of_Jesus
These of many illustrate ‘speak’
These of many demonstrate forms of 'speak' – an art form that can be used for good, for evil, to mislead, to illustrate truth … every person has the task to discern which is which. Remember Yes Prime Minister – enjoy!
Proverbs 10 verses 31-32 describe the speech of the wise and of the wicked, and what immediately follows in Proverbs 11 is worthy of our attention:
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand. Dr Mark Tronson’s Press Service International in 2019 was awarded the Australasian Religious Press Association’s premier award, The Gutenberg.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at