Intro to Women's Studies 2010

etsu: 2011-2014

Violent Language

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I was reading the article for our Women’s studies class called “Fighting for Our Lives” by Deborah Tannen. It’s about how violent we have become with our everyday language. One paragraph in the article really stuck out to me. It reads: “Because words matter. When we think we are using language, language is using us. As linguist Dwight Bolinger put it (employing a military metaphor), language is like a loaded gun: It can be fired intentionally, but it can wound or kill as surely when fired accidentally. The terms in which we talk about something shape the way we think about it-and even what we see.”(Page 14. Paragraph 6). I’ve never really thought about language like this. This phrase is a great example how everyday language has turned to be so violent, literally and emotionally. Words do hurt even if not said purposely. Sometimes it’s the things we say by accident that hurt the worst. This article has made me more conscientious about the phrasing and language of my own conversations. This article is a great read and a real eye opener.

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