WORDS ABOUT WORDS
We call language a terrorist organization to illustrate the real effects of language on citizens, especially in times of war. Language, like terrorism, targets civilians and generates fear in order to effect political change. When our political leaders and our media outlets use terms like Anthrax, terrorist threat, madmen, and biological weapons, a specific type of fearfulness emerges, both intentionally and unintentionally. We are all targets for this type of language, and we are all affected by it as well. Regardless of the truth of the words, collateral language produces effects beyond its meaning.
John Collins, American academic, Collateral Language, 2002
Posted on October 20, 1999 at 7:45 AM