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The Soldier's Language

Frederick Elkin
American Journal of Sociology
Vol. 51, No. 5, Human Behavior in Military Society (Mar., 1946), pp. 414-422
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2771105
Page Count: 9
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Soldier's Language
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Abstract

Popular works by stressing uncommonly used "substitute expressions" and by omitting profanity give a false picture of the soldier's language. The language, assumed to be functional, is unconsciously learned and changes to befit new experiences and thus is valuable as source material for studying the soldier's adjustment. The language reflects (1) the soldier's self-image of solidarity, freedom from social restraint, and strength and (2) his attitude to authority. The expressions indicate that the soldier dislikes authority but accepts it with varying degrees of resignation, bitterness, and satire.

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