Military Jargon in Modern English Term Paper

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Military Jargon in Modern English

The English language has been going through the evolution process from hundreds of years. A number of words that were not recognized a few hundred years back are now commonly used. English has been continuously changing from centuries because of several reasons. Influence of other societies and cultures on English is the primary reason for this continuous change. Moreover, several military adventures conducted by the British Empire, which led to the expansion of the United Kingdom to almost one fourth of the earth's surface, also significantly influenced the English language. During these military operations, several English soldiers were exposed to some new cultures and societies. As a result of the influence from other cultures, they started using jargons and slang in their conversation, which were primarily adopted from several foreign languages. Similarly, American soldiers also adopted some jargons and slang during the Wars fought by American Army. In this paper we are going to study the origins of military jargons and to measure the influence of military jargons and slang on the English language.


As discussed before, the English language has been exposed to continuous changes from several years. Among these changes, the most prominent ones are the use of jargons, slang and new dialects. A number of words commonly used in English today were actually adopted from other languages and were at first used as jargons. For instance, the word nice was once considered slang but now it is used without question in everyday conversation. A number of similar subtle changes keep occurring in our everyday life. It should be noted that a considerable number of words and phrases in the English language were adopted from other languages and were in the beginning used as a jargon.

There has been a continuous transformation of words from genuine expressions to jargons. The adoption of a jargon usually starts with an individual's or a group's formulation of a new and impressive use of any word. Because of the innovative use of any particular word, the general public becomes interested in it and soon it is commonly adopted as a jargon. The delighting use of new words and acronyms gain the attention of the public and therefore they become common among them as a jargon. It is interesting to note that some of the terms, which originated in the U.S. As jargons soon found their way into good usage in England, despite of English society's resistance towards the use of jargons. Especially during the era of the two World Wars, a considerable number of jargons were incorporated in English as commonly used words.

While working on the issue of jargons and slang in English, the focus of majority of researchers has been on finding the evidence as to whether a particular phrase or word is a jargon or not. They insist that if any word or phrase's origin is supposed to be from a jargon or slang, its evidence should be found in the works of any authentic literary figure. However, they fail to realize the fact that the usage of jargons is not initiated by literary experts but is a creation of individuals who adopt it as slang. This misperception is common among the philologists, which is the result of the false belief that the literary works of some prominent figures like Shakespeare are full of slang. The origination of jargons depends upon the individual who use it and the circumstances in which he uses them. It is the thinking habit and the perception of an individual, which helps in determining the usage of a jargon. An individual having full understanding and knowledge of the words that he/she chooses to speak is less likely to adopt jargons in his/her conversation. On the other hand, if an individual has no knowledge about the correct usage of words, then he/she is going to use numerous jargons and slang in his/her conversation.

Military Jargons in English:

As far as the usage of jargons in the military is concerned, the British army very quickly adopted several buzzwords and slang during their military encounters world over. Their interaction with several different cultures led them to adopt many new words as jargons in their conversation. All these words were foreign to the English language and remained unfamiliar to the general public for a considerable period of time. On the other hand, the American Army was quite slow in adopting new words as compared to the British. The British army not only invented numerous jargons but also made it widespread among the general public. A number of jargons invented by the British army were even adopted by the American army. During the participation in the world wars, the American Army came in contact with individuals belonging to different cultures and societies. Their interaction with these individuals, who belonged to other cultures and spoke different languages, helped them in inventing some new jargons for the English language. However, one should note that in the initial stages of the World War, Americans were slow to adopt jargons or slang in their speech. For instance, they had not invented any specific jargons or slang for different commonly used war terminologies. On the other hand, their other counterparts i.e. The French and the British soldiers had invented several jargons.

Although, American soldiers were unable to invent much jargons in the beginning but later they developed a considerable level of vocabulary in this regard. There are several reasons for the inability of the American soldiers to invent new jargons in the initial stages. In the beginning of the war, majority of the American soldiers came into contact with the British soldiers. Some of the American soldiers got the opportunity to serve in France but even there a considerable level of British soldiers were present. The British soldiers were present in the battlefield before the Americans and they had already developed a huge vocabulary of jargons. As the American and British soldiers spoke the same language, the American soldiers did not felt the need to invent some new jargons, as the vocabulary of jargons and slang already developed by the British soldiers was sufficient enough to serve the purpose. Although, American soldiers adopted much of the jargons invented by the British soldiers but not all of them. In later years, as the intensity of war begun to increase and the American army increased its presence in different territories, some further additions were made to the military jargons word list. However, there was not much need to make further additions as a long list of jargons was already available for use and was adopted by the Americans. In order to make further additions, some jargons were adopted from the general speech of the American public and were modified accordingly. A number of jargons developed later by the soldiers were rather contemptible. It should be noted that a reasonable level of jargons, being introduced in the military language, could be categorized as obscene terminologies with respect to the general civilian language. It is evident from the military dictionaries and vocabularies, compiled in later years that the language commonly used in the military environment was quite indecent and was considerably polluted.

It is interesting to note that after the end of the war, a very few of the jargons survived in the military speech and made their way into the general speech of the United States. Some of the jargons, which were originally adopted from the general speech of the United States, resumed their old meaning. Some of the military jargons, adopted during the World Wars by the American Army, have become a part of common speech in the United States. There are several dictionaries and vocabularies available nowadays, which are pretty useful in identifying the jargons that were used in…[continue]

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