Nadsat and Newspeak – Words for Wine
Are you self-isolating in Airstrip One, watching our dystopias unfold? Choose from climate emergency, the covid-19 pandemic, surveillance society, social media hate-crimes, fake news, or 1001 other worrisome issues (add your own here). Our world can sometimes seem like it’s becoming a combination of two classic books: George Orwell’s 1984 and Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange. That’s hardly a novel perspective (if you’ll pardon the pun). However, in each, Orwell and Burgess invent new languages; 1984 has Newspeak, while in A Clockwork Orange, it’s Nadsat.
Meanwhile, our “real” language is ill-equipped to describe many of the sensations, experiences, and flavours encountered in wine. So many tasting notes are pretentious or clichéd, egotistical, or merely repetitious. I include myself amongst the guilty, and a previous article about this subject featured an algorithm for creating instant tasting notes. Though we try to improve, sometimes it seems like they might as well be written in another language. So why not include words from Nadsat and Newspeak.
O my Brothers, here’s a little background to each of these languages as a reminder.
Nadsat is a vernacular language spoken by the teenage gang members in A Clockwork Orange, in particular by Alex, the narrator of the tale. It’s a hybrid mix of English, Russian, Cockney rhyming slang, and pure invention; all made up by Anthony Burgess. In the book, there are some two hundred Nadsat words. There’s a full glossary here.
For 1984, George Orwell created Newspeak. It’s the language of Oceania, a totalitarian superstate. Oceania contains Airstrip One (England), ruled by Big Brother and the Party. Newspeak is the official language, with simplified grammar. A much-reduced vocabulary controls individual thought and action. It’s for a post-truth surveillance world, where 2+2=5. There’s a dictionary here.
A first combined glossary
This glossary is a first attempt to introduce some Nadsat and Newspeak into a wine context. Appypolly loggy for any mistakes or omissions. Here are 50-odd words to spice up your jeezny.
Big Brother Wine Critic
Cal Farmyard smell
Chocorat Chocolate Ration
Crimethink Having your own opinion
Cutter, Pretty Polly, Deng Money
Doubleplusungood Do not put in the mouth (DNPIM)
Doublethink Holding two opposing views at the same time and believing both
Duckspeak Tasting Note
Eggiweg Hydrogen Sulphide
Facecrime To give your thoughts away
Gruppa Tasting Group
Lomtick Slice, piece
Merzky Filthy (as perhaps in Brettanomyces)
Nuking Smelling, pleasantly scented aromas
Ownlife To think for yourself
Peet To drink
Prod To make
Prolefeed Wine magazines
Pyahnitsa To become drunk
Room 101 A cellar for industrial wines
Skoliwoll Wine School
The two-minute hate Social Media
Viddy To see
Von To smell
Ok, droogs and lewdies, here’s a couple of wine tasting notes to get going.
- Viddy krovvy in tass. Vonnie eggiweg, cal and bigly merzky. Jammiwam fruit with final snoutie. Alcohol hot gorlo. Unpeet, never laydown Deng. Itty, Room 101!
- Golden delight for glazzers. Morder is nuking doubleplusgood. Bigly plott and double-Sladky balanced yahzick by choodessny maslo acidity. Worth dorogoy!
Are these examples more or less intelligible? I do doublethink so. Use bigly horrorshow doubleplusgood. Dobby luck!