From a cross-disciplinary perspective informed by narratology and cognitive linguistics, this paper attempts to analyse Newspeak, as a constructed language, and argues that literary language underpins the perception of social reality in Nineteen Eighty-Four’s diegetic world. Thus, insights into cognitive linguistics are used as a means to explain the process through which language comes to shape the characters’ reasoning capacities. By means of close reading, instances of represented discourse are taken a closer look at, so as to establish the link between language and thinking. What is more, several theories advanced by cognitive linguistics, such as the Usage-based Theory or the Conceptual Metaphor Theory, are employed in explaining Newspeak’s functioning mechanisms. As it turns out, Orwell’s intuition about language – about its design and functions – proves to foreshadow advances of cognitive linguistics that were postulated years after the novel’s publishing.
Larisa-Ilaria Tabără is a student at Ştefan cel Mare University of Suceava, majoring in English-Romanian, in her third year of studies.