Human beings are the only species endowed with the ability to tell lies. Moreover, when human beings lie, they cannot evade the consequences and the sense of guilt that accompanies it. Without being timely checked, lying can easily develop into a habit that will be too difficult to do away with at a time in future.
On the other hand, doublespeak is closely related to lying and serves to create confusion. This essay seeks to compare and contrast lying and doublespeak, briefly discuss the types of lies and doublespeak that one may encounter, and finally explain some of the effects of each form of deception.
Lying cab be defined as the use of an incorrect statement or performing an activity usually with an intention to cause deception. In essence, lying can also be regarded as the habit of being economical with truth. A lie refers to anything that gives or is deliberately designed to give an incorrect impression.
Doublespeak on the other hand, refers to a language that deliberately distorts information by making some seriously bad information to look or sound good and acceptable to the intended recipient. Lying and doublespeak have got some similarities between them. Both have the capacity to mislead the recipient by providing false information or by distorting the original message. They are meant to withhold or distort the truth.
One can also find lying or doublespeak very hard to resist and this is why both are sometimes done unconsciously and with minimal consideration of the consequences that can befall the one who is lied to. Another significant difference between lying and doublespeak, besides their definition, is that lying involves the act of withholding truth while doublespeak is a kind of language used tactfully to bring deception or to conceal the rightful truth. Lying and doublespeak can also be differentiated by their various types.
Types of lying include; the white lie, facades, ignorance of plain facts, deflection, omission, stereotypes and cliches, dismissal, delusion, group thinking, and out-and-out lies (Ericsson n. pag.). Types of doublespeak on the other hand are; jargon, inflated language, euphemism, and gobbledygook. In general, doublespeak and lying are just similar as well as different.
The most obvious difference between lying and doublespeak, as has been noted above, is in their types. A white lie refers to the assumption that telling the truth will be more harmful than a simple and harmless lie. It involves the liar deciding what could be the best thing for the recipient. A facade is the second type of a lie which refers to the act of seducing other people into getting a false impression.
These illusions are in most cases very destructive since the liar can easily downplay the one who is lied to. Ignoring the plain facts is another type of a lie. It involves the outright denial of a lie that can be proved beyond any reasonable doubt usually with an aim of maintaining the status quo of the liar. This is common among people with a lot of dignity to preserve, for instance, church leaders and scandals, and politicians and corruption charges.
The fourth type of lie is deflection which refers to the act of pretence. The liar creates an impression of being a truth teller yet he or she hides the real truth of the matter at hand. Deflection also employs the use of passivity on serious matters where the liar chooses to go silent on accusations placed against him and this may reverse the sense of guilt to the lied to.
Furthermore, omission is the skillful sharing of incomplete truth where the absence of one or two facts affects the entire story. The liar may use this strategy to take advantage of the victim. The sixth type of lie is stereotype and cliche. The liar exaggerates information which leads to the inclusion of unreliable information.
Group thinking is another type of lie and is regarded as a mental phenomenon experienced in groups where decisions have to be made. The liar strives to ignore the facts, selectively recalls the past, and practices outright denial. The eighth type of lying is the out-and-out lie which refers to lying for the sake of it. This is a special type since the one who is deceived knows the truth of the matter at hand while the liar struggles to claim otherwise.
This lie is the easiest form of a lie to confront. Dismissal is another type of a lie which involves the conscious disregard of feelings and perceptions. This act of dismissing reality may cause mental disorders. The tenth and the last type of lie in this list is delusion. It is the act of being selective as far as what one wishes to believe in is concerned.
This lie exploits the mind’s ability to filter information in order to fit what it wishes to be the facts. The uniqueness in this type of lie is the fact that the liar deceives himself or herself, that is to say, it cannot figure itself out. Delusion shamelessly borrows from the preceding types of lies like omission, and dismissal (Ericsson n. pag.).
Similarly, there are various types of doublespeak that one may encounter from time to time. The first type of doublespeak is euphemism which refers to positive words or statements that are used in place of a harsh and relatively unpleasant one (Kennedy et al. 419). Euphemism strives to evade the mentioning of painful facts.
However, it is important to note that the use of euphemism becomes a doublespeak when it serves to mislead and or misinform someone else. The language used in euphemism is geared towards distorting reality. The second type of doublespeak is the use of jargon language. This type is peculiar to every profession like that of; doctors, engineers, educators, lawyers, or mechanics.
Jargon can be appropriate since it becomes like verbal shorthand and helps in defining members of a specific group. However, jargon can become a doublespeak, and usually does, when it is pretentiously used or designed to obscure meaning. Jargon as a doublespeak always complicates the otherwise would be simple subjects (Kennedy et al. 420).
Moreover, gobbledygook is another type of doublespeak. It is also known as bureaucratese. Gobbledygook aims at throwing heavy words on the audience, usually, by the use of very long sentences which are considered better. These statements may initially sound very impressive only to turn out to make no sense when later analyzed (Kennedy et al. 421).
The fourth kind of doublespeak is the use of inflated language (Kennedy et al. 422). It makes the otherwise ordinary seem too extraordinary. This type of doublespeak is the easiest to spot because it is usually funny in nature.
The above discussion has pointed out the different types of lies and doublespeak. A number of their consequences can be identified.
Lying has serious consequences especially on the one who is lied to. If not checked, lying can eat into the cultural fabric until it distorts reality in the society. It also leads to mistrust especially by the liar since he or she believes in the existence of lies. Doublespeak, on the other hand, can also lead to serious consequences.
By avoiding responsibility, the doublespeaker misrepresents the truth of things and creates a false impression that all is well (Kennedy et al. 424). The use of such language breeds distrust, suspicion and hence hostility. The other serious impact of doublespeak is that it corrupts language which is the most readily available tool for communication and social interaction.
This essay has attempted to give the similarities and differences between lying and doublespeak and explain some of their respective common types. It has also highlighted some of the consequences associated with each of the ways of deception. We can conclude that the society has to review its ways of facilitating reliable communication so us to eliminate the consequences of being economical with truth and hence enhance trust among human beings.
Ericsson, S. (March 2009). “The Ways We Lie.” Retrieved on 15th Dec 2009 from
Kennedy, X. J., Aaron, J. E., & Kennedy, D. M. The Bedford Reader (10th ed.). Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008, Pp. 418-424.