Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Tue Jun 27 21:30:42 UTC 2006

"Kidnapped" implies a crime. Simply "capturing" a soldier bears no moral

Although it's hard to tell whether this is deliberate or just sloppy choice
of words.

--Dave Wilton
  dave at

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
Barbara Need
Sent: Tuesday, June 27, 2006 12:15 PM
Subject: Kidnapped

When did soldiers start getting kidnapped rather than captured? The
two recent events that started me wondering are the loss a couple of
weeks ago of two American soldiers and the recent capture of an
Israeli soldier. In the first case, the speculation was that the
soldiers had been "kidnapped" and in the second the report I saw
specifically described his capture as a "kidnapping".

Someone suggested that kidnapping implies (or actually describes) a
situation in which the taking of a person has the intended goal of
money or some specific action (e.g., the release of prisoners). While
that is certainly an issue in the more recent case (apparently the
captors of the Israeli soldier are making demands to ensure his
release), as far as I can tell (I was out of town all last week, so
not following the story very closely), the American soldiers were
found dead and there is nothing to indicate that there was anything
"behind" their capture (or anything more than usual in a war).

I wondered if this use of language was an attempt to shape the
discourse of war vs insurgency. If they had been taken prisoner or
captured than the people who did it are soldiers on the opposite side
in a war. If they had been kidnapped, the people who did are
criminals (and by extension, bad).



Barbara Need

The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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