Prior to defining the diction used in John Hersey's Hiroshima, the different types of diction should be defined.
Formal Diction- This diction uses elevated language in the form of dignified words, correct grammar, and shows the speaker's wide knowledge of vocabulary. Examples of formal diction in the novel are: "the frequency of warnings and the continued abstinence" (3); "showy philanthropies and notorious for his personal tyrannies" (4).
Informal Diction- This diction is conversational and typically seen in everyday speech and writing. Much of the dialogue in the novel is informal. On page 2, two examples of informal diction is found: "I can't walk" and "Leave me here." Can't is a contraction and is not used in formal diction.
Slang- Slang is language which is not standard language, yet it is considered acceptable to use in social conversations. The text is far too formal to contain slang. I could not find any proper examples of slang.
Jargon-Jargon is technical terminology. Given that the text depicts life in Japan after the bombing, some Japanese words are used. This would be considered jargon. "Tansu," from page four, means a large cabinet. Also on page four, "tonarigumi" is used. This term refers to a neighborhood association.
Concrete Diction- Concrete diction uses language to describe things which appeal to the five sense. One example of concrete diction can be found on page 4: "The air-raid siren went off." This appeals to the sense of hearing. On page six, the concrete diction appeals to the sense of sight: "blood was running from their heads, chests, and backs."
Abstract Diction-Abstract diction does not appeal to the five senses of the reader. These words describe ideas, concepts, and feelings. Examples of abstract diction can be found on page six with the words "dazed" and "safe."