A language is like a living organism. But with a difference. Whereas all living things have to undergo entropy or the process of decadence, language goes on and on. Many languages may die, but a good majority survives the onslaught of time. Man cannot survive without communication and language has been his best tool for it, ever reliable, ever mischievous.
Even when we put language to such a vast spectrum of uses, there are not many who bother to look into its mechanism in a bid to find out what actually constitutes this marvelous tool. What are the cogs in this machine What is the breath of its being
Any research into the guts of language would lead us to a master called George Orwell. But there are a few more who also have taken up this prime project and they include Lynne Truss and David Lodge. The former is under strobe lights for her book on punctuation; the latter for his formidable oeuvre on the name and nature of the English language. It may not be possible to touch upon all the areas of concern that they did in such a modest endeavor. What can be done is to piece together from the masters a collage of cohesive ideas.
Orwell's landmark essay called 'The Politics and the English Language' (1946) begins with the significant observation that the slovenliness of language and the decadence of our thoughts are complementary. Since language is our tool for thought, the more mediocre it gets, the less lofty would our thought too be. Orwell diagnoses the condition as 'mental vice' characterized by 'staleness of imagery' and 'lack of precision'. ...