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Gary Baran on Gossip


"Linguistic violence is violence in the use of language.  That would include what we say and
how we say it, and its implications.  Lying or other misleading language, slander, and malicious
gossip could be viewed as linquistic violence.  They often do violence to the social fabric,
undermine trust, and cause harm in various ways.  Shouting into someone's face (especially in
situations in which this could predictably escalate into physical violence), name calling, and not
allowing others a fair opportunity to be heard could also be regarded as linguistic violence.
Some linguistic violence of this sort is obviously intentional, but much linquistic violence is
merely habitual and may even seem innocuous."

Gary Baran, 1998

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