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Language and Meaning in the Age of ModernismC.K. Ogden and His Contemporaries$
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James McElvenny

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474425032

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474425032.001.0001

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Basic English

Basic English

(p.54) Chapter 3 Basic English
Language and Meaning in the Age of Modernism

James McElvenny

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter explores C. K. Ogden’s project Basic English against the background of the contemporary international language movement. An exposition of the international language movement, its political and philosophical commitments, is followed by an examination of the features of Ogden’s Basic and the rhetoric surrounding it. The connections between the theories developed in The Meaning of Meaning and Basic English are looked at in detail. The chapter closes with a discussion of the influence of Jeremy Bentham and his Panopticon on Basic, and of the reaction of George Orwell to the project, as revealed in his published writings and correspondence with Ogden, and in Newspeak, his parody of constructed languages.

Keywords:   international language movement, constructed languages, Esperanto, Volapük, Bentham, Panopticon, Orwell, Newspeak, Basic English

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