Grunt Slang in Vietnam
Words of the War
Gordon L. Rottman
A look at how combat, culture, and military tradition influenced soldiers’ language in Vietnam from the award-winning, USA Today–bestselling author.
The slang, or unique vocabulary, of the soldiers and marines serving in Vietnam, was a mishmash of words and phrases whose origins reached back to the Korean War, World War II, and even earlier. Additionally, it was influenced by the United States’ rapidly changing protest culture, ideological and poetical doctrine, ethical and cultural conflicts, racialism, and drug culture. This “slanguage” was rendered even more complex by the Pidgin Vietnamese-English spoken by Americans and Vietnamese alike. But perhaps most importantly, it reflected the soldiers’ actual daily lives, played out in the jungles, swamps, and hills of Vietnam.