Restriction of language

von Manon Carla Funke

Science-based. Evidence-based. Diversity. Transgender. Vulnerable. Fetus. The Trump administration prohibited officials of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to use these words and expressions in official documents that were being prepared for 2018th budget. For some expressions CDC workers were given alternatives such as “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes” instead of “science-based”. It is not the first time that the trump administration restricts the language used in official reports. Only a few months earlier, the White House decided that the expression “climate change” should be replaced by “weather extremes” and “climate change adaptation” by “resilience to weather extremes” in official documents. Reading these news, I had to think of George Orwell’s dystopia 1984 and I asked myself the questions: How does language and its restriction shape the nature of our thoughts and shared knowledge? What are the threads of language restriction in government reports?