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The Sociolinguistic Component of Violence

Posted: Tuesday, June 18, 2019. 6:15 pm CST.

The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.

By Dr. Gerald Zuniga; Studied Political Science at  Universidad San Carlos de Guatemala & Universidad Mariano Galvez, Guatemala City.

What is violence? WHO defines violence as “the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, against person or against a group or community, which either result in, or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, physical harm, mal-development or deprivation.” Taken from Wikipedia.org. I may now continue by saying that violence is the physical and/or verbal expression of a complex phenomenon resulting from the interaction of many intrinsic and extrinsic factors within a human brain. Intrinsic factors like the availability and homeostatic interaction of neurotransmitters like acethycoline, adrenaline, serotonin, dopamine, etc must be taken into consideration and, neurohormones, and nueuronutrients like pyridoxine (vitamin B6), cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12), etc, must be taken seriously into consideration.

That being said, any substance ingested whether licit , illicit or both that alter this neurohomeostasis could result in violence which is what we see in our societies today. Extrinsic factors like the physical and social ambience and interactions of a human being also deeply influence his or her behaviour. A human brain is malleable. By this I mean that it can be shaped; which different sectors take advantage of for their own benefit. It is highly adaptable. A human reared among lower animal with limited or no interaction will eventually behave like them. So the type of social interactions is imperative and substantive as a marker in human behaviour. We get what we give in as an individual, as a family, as a community, as a society, and as a nation. Violence is an outcome. It is an end product but the causes are multi-factorial as I already mentioned and the objectives of violence are also many and complex. However, the key goal is control. Whatever this may mean to the perpetrator.

The socio-behavioural phenomenon of violence is used to achieve something. Some objective. Some goal. It is used by individuals, by groups, by institutions, and by the State. All violence have sequels whether physical, mental, and spiritual or all inclusive. The violence practiced by the State usually have sequels that are more devastating in all sense because theoretically the State is organize to protect life from its conception. However, in practice we know that is not so especially in a State that doesn’t know its function like ours. Even though there is a Constitution which is the guideline for the duties and obligations of the State and citizenry, it is never upheld; rather it is constantly violated and ignored, which in itself is an expression of violence.

Also, the violence practiced at home is devastating because a home is organized to be the center and the first in its line for protection. All the household should feel protected and safe in a home environment so any expression and manifestation of domestic violence should be vehemently condemned. It later walks out the home and eventually enters our National Assembly and the State in general. No form of violence is appreciated especially by the victim. There are individuals who are naturally inclined towards violence hence the existence of the words like masochism, sadism, etc. There are also anthropometric indicators. What is tied up to any manifestation of violence, is a socio-linguistic component which I would like us to focus on because you as my reader is totally aware of it but takes it for granted, and this socio-linguistic component is seldom addressed.

This socio-linguistic component is obscenity and profanity. Some might and will argue that there is no such thing as obscene languages. I have heard the argument. It depends on the way the language is used they argued. However, it is also no secret that we have heard individuals talking where 95% of their choice of words is gross obscenity that destroys a peaceful soul and lets the devil afloat.

Humans may have evolved if we believe in Darwin’s Evolution Theory, which I don’t believe a bit in, but has evolved in regards to language and will continue to do so with the advent of emojiology. It is true that languages have always had subcultures and are directly related to the economic status, level of education, and social activities of the individuals. During the Shakeperean era there was a language of elitism in the British society, for example., and I believe in many societies. Even though there is always a big gap between the languages of formal, informal, and non formal education, lately there has been an assault on language which the society has accepted as normal.

It’s been a couple  decades now that a pitfall is observed where societies accepted many manifestations of radical, well structured subcultures in the form of social movements with their own language structure. In all societies, there is always social dynamism. This is normal. Nevertheless, it is no secret that what is trending is negative in all its manifestations including the language. Added the already culturally accepted usage of obscenity which by itself is an expression of violence and escalates violent settings.  Language whether it be oral, written, body, sign, or whatever other expression, is the product of a complex brain function and chemistry. I mentioned this earlier to the point that there are some neuro-pathological entities where an individual manifests physical and/or verbal violence. Neurosis is one of them. It is an entity which prevails in our society and is in not paid attention to like many other health, social, and economic matters. There are societies that have Neurotic Anonymous, where they attempt to the address the condition.

Since violence is socio-behavioural phenomenon, there comes in psychological tools as positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement which should be practice by the community, the law enforcement entities, and the schools. Many years ago, obscenity or profanity was prohibited or discouraged by negative or positive reinforcements. During that time, dare you to curse a police, your parents, teachers, etc. Now, it is like a sign of manhood and womanhood to do so. All far from the truth. What is more traumatic when hearing adults cursing to children who can’t even ‘bable’ ma and pa as yet. An indication to where our societies have reached and is going in a total downfall spiral. Try it yourself. Spend a day without using obscenity in your language and you will see that your soul will be happy and your home psycho-healthier and eventually the society.

Societies were more peaceful in the past with the exception of violence caused by the State itself expressed in wars or terrorism of State. Peaceful societies start from us.




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