Language and Linguistic Nonviolence

The role of language is important in war and peace, as new words are formed and old ones are filled with new meanings with specific nuances and connotations. In peacetime, language is used to bridge differences, end hostilities, encourage cooperation, and assist economic and industrial development, whereas in war, it is used as a tool of propaganda and indoctrination. However, language has also been exploited by politicians, government officials, religious leaders, military personnel, and media to make the ugly seen beautiful, the bad seem good, the unpleasant appear pleasant, and the negative seem positive. Inept language use—whether intentional or unintentional—can result in chaos, resentment, and misunderstanding and can even lead to violence. This entry explores what happens when doublespeak obscures thought and considers the impact ...

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