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BYU Law Review

Arts and Humanities

2014

Linguistics

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War Of The Words: Aliens, Immigrants, Citizens, And The Language Of Exclusion, D. Carolina Nunez Feb 2014

War Of The Words: Aliens, Immigrants, Citizens, And The Language Of Exclusion, D. Carolina Nunez

BYU Law Review

Words communicate more than their ordinary dictionary meaning. Words tell us about individuals' and communities' conscious and subconscious perceptions. The words we use are evidence of how we think, which, in turn, ultimately determines what we do. In this paper, I examine and compare the usage of the words "immigrant," "alien," and "citizen" to make observations on the nature of membership and belonging in the United States. While it is perhaps intuitive that these words carry very different connotations, here I use corpus linguistics to explore those connotations. I rely on the Corpus of Contemporary American English, a database of …