War and Violence: Etymology, Definitions, Frequencies, Collocations

  • Annabelle Lukin
Part of the The M.A.K. Halliday Library Functional Linguistics Series book series (TMAKHLFLS)


This chapter explores the etymology, definition, frequency and collocation patterns of the lexical item war by comparison with the lexical item violence. It shows war to be a highly frequent lexical item (e.g. it is in the top 500 most frequent lexical items in English, ranking higher than words such as food, mother, and work when raw frequencies are compared, and higher than words such as food, human and love when using lemmatised items), lexically prolific (it has nearly 250 compound forms), registerially dispersed, and semantically positive both in its denotative meanings and its typical collocations. By contrast, the word violence has a lower frequency, has no compound forms, is less dispersed, and is negative both in denotative meanings and typical collocations. The chapter also shows these two lexical items to repel each other. While they display a collocational relation, war has a stronger connection to the word peace than to the word violence. The probability that, in a text with the word war, there is a collocation relation to the word peace versus the word violence is 5–1.


Violent Words Lexical Items Word Peace Relative Juxtaposition Word Node 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Annabelle Lukin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

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