The language of guns

We should watch our gun language. The New York Times has an article today, “In Gun Debate, Even Language Is Loaded,” documenting the pervasive gun references in our language.  I speak six languages, and in thinking about each, I believe the article is correct — we have far more expressions, verbs, and nouns which come from gun culture than other languages do.  It would be interesting to compare American English to British English and other World Englishes in this regard, too.

The parents from Newtown made the statement yesterday that they were in the gun debate for the long haul.  Legislation can help, but the bigger changes have to come from the bottom up. There has to be a cultural change before this violence begins to subside. Just as we changed our language regarding race and gender, we might begin to change the national obsession with guns by changing our language.  The first step to doing that is to increase our awareness of how often we use military and gun terms in our everyday speech.


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