Chapter

Three Clusters of Primary Meanings

in Language of the Gun

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print February 2006 | ISBN: 9780226316086
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226316079 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226316079.003.0004
Three Clusters of Primary Meanings

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This chapter examines how the primary meanings associated with guns and youths' gun carrying relate to each other—how the meanings cluster into groups of meaning that help inform the interpretation of the youths' responses. A simple correspondence analysis of the primary meanings of guns reveals three major clusters of interrelated meanings. This simple analysis visually maps the nineteen-by-thirty contingency table that consists of the frequency table made up of columns that represent the nineteen primary meanings of guns observed and of rows that represent the thirty individual respondents. The three major clusters of meanings indicate higher than average associations between any two primary meanings. The first and most important cluster of associations is the “action/protection cluster.” In this cluster are the following meanings (ranked by frequency): protection, danger, attraction, power, jail, action, belonging, death, showing off, and fun. A second cluster connects two meanings: commodity and dislike, and is called the “commodity/dislike” cluster. A third cluster connects a group of meanings, including (again ranked by frequency) recreation, respect, self-defense, suicide, and tool. This cluster is closely associated with a few respondents and suggests an association between using a gun for hunting, target practice, or self-defense and treating guns with respect.

Keywords: primary meanings; gun carrying; action/protection cluster; commodity/dislike cluster; correspondence analysis; target practice; self-defense

Chapter.  7007 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Criminal Law

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