Doublespeak in Different Rhetorical Situations

shared by thomase on November 30, 2017

Activity Summary:

Students learn about types of doublespeak, then research and analyze examples from the internet.


  • Students read the article (“Doubts about Doublespeak”) individually before class.
  • Create four small groups of four or five students, and assign each one a category of doublespeak: Euphemism, jargon, gobbledygook/bureaucratese, or inflated language.
  • Each group should discuss the meaning of its assigned category for doublespeak and find an example of its use online.
  • The group members will then be broken up via jigsaw strategy, and new groups created with at least one member who is able to discuss each of the categories in detail.
  • The groups will come back together as a large class, and the class will be asked to look at the overlap between the various categories, and why it is important to understand each when performing textual rhetorical analysis.


Large Group Discussion Questions:

How did the found examples implement doublespeak?

Were they effective in helping the author(s) achieve their purposes? Why or why not?

In what ways does this language show consideration of audience?  

What are some genres or communicative contexts that tend to feature this type of language?