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[P]
Destruction of the English language... Or how to ruin your child's schoolyear.

By ph0rk in Culture
Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 03:43:17 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

The English language has, not to its credit, a large assortment of racial slurs. I will not rattle them off here, but those of you who grew up speaking English know many, I'm sure.

Whether or not it is appropriate for any of these slurs to be used in everyday speech, I think most of us can agree that words that sound like a racial slur, but in fact have different roots, are okay for use in everyday speech. New Hanover County Schools, in middle North Carolina, though, feels differently.


This story describes the actions of one parent of a child attending fourth grade at Williams Elementary, in New Hanover County.

From the article:

    Stephanie Bell, a fourth-grade teacher at Williams Elementary School, taught the word "niggardly" to her class last week in an effort to improve her students' vocabularies.

    Now, a parent wants her fired.


Yes, you read that correctly.

Niggardly: (From Merriam-Webster)
    Function: adjective
    Date: 1571
    1 : grudgingly mean about spending or granting
    2 : provided in meanly limited supply

    Niggard - (substatif) "Miser." (adjective) "Miserly." (verb) "To Stint, Supply Sparingly." All of these forms are archaic. They dervive from the Middle English form "nigard" = "miser" or "miserly." There is also a Middle English form "nekard." These come from the Anglo-Saxon "hneaw" = "mean, niggardly, stingy, miserly." It is also related, and possibly derived from to the Old Norse "hn¿ggr" = "niggardly, stingy," but can also mean "a blow, strike," related to "hn¿ggva" = "to strike, beat, rob." Thus, we get the implication of an etymology meaning something like "robber," or someone who skims off the top of deals, etc. See "niggardly."

    Niggardly - "Stingy, Miserly." Niggardly has absolutely nothing to do with the term "Nigger." It simply means "like or characteristic of a niggard," "niggard" being an old term for "miser." The term "nigard" was used by Chaucer in 1374, so we can clearly see that it pre-dates the pejorative "nigger." See "niggard." (both from THE PHURBA ETYMOLOGICON)
Nigger: (also from M-W)
    Function: noun
    Etymology: alteration of earlier neger, from Middle French negre, from Spanish or Portuguese negro, from negro black, from Latin niger
    Date: 1700
    1 usually offensive, see usage paragraph below : a black person
    2 usually offensive, see usage paragraph below : a member of any dark-skinned race
    3 : a member of a socially disadvantaged class of persons

While that is, alone, a frightful thing, what is worse is the principal and the deputy superintendent of New Hanover County Schools agreed with Mrs. Walker, the deputy superintendent even was quoted as saying the use of the word 'niggardly' was "...a bad choice."

This, of course, isn't the first fiasco over the use of that particular word. But, in my eyes, this is a cut deeper than a political aide being removed from his position, as in this case, an entire fourth grade classroom, if not an entire school, will grow up thinking of the word niggardly as a racial slur, or close enough to one as not to be used.

Why is this bad? Well, I hope that none of you are asking yourselves this, but if you are, let me try to forstall any questions in that direction. This is bad, no, abhorrent, because it is really little short of word censorship. But also, events such as this one tend to prolong the current mindset about racism, racist thoughts, and terms. If people could just let it die, then we wouldn't have children (or parents) feeling that any word that closely resembles a racial slur shouldn't be used in public. (Among other things of course, but language is the focus of this article.)

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Poll
Is the word "Niggardly" a slur, and should it be used in schools?
o No, not a slur, but lets avoid it. 14%
o Not a slur, but lets teach it early. Chaucer used it! 79%
o A slur, stay away from it! 5%

Votes: 69
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o New Hanover County Schools
o This story
o niggardly
o THE PHURBA ETYMOLOGICON
o word.
o political aide being removed from his position
o resembles a racial slur
o Also by ph0rk


Display: Sort:
Destruction of the English language... Or how to ruin your child's schoolyear. | 163 comments (158 topical, 5 editorial, 1 hidden)
letting it die (3.62 / 8) (#2)
by logiterr on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 11:34:21 AM EST

is easy to say and suggest. but think about people that have never heard the word niggardly. they will reverse the process of morphemic construction and arrive at nigger which they know. they will compare to cowardly which has similar morphemes. they will visualize. then they will go NONONONONO BADBADBADBADBADBADBADBADBADBADBADBAD and then they will remember racism. and the whole thing starts again. all its takes is a single association.

one solution is to teach every single child the proper use of niggardly. then to educate parents or adults in general. then to make it culturally acceptable to use the word. but all this is like the war on drugs. its hard and costly and not very effective.

Bad analogy (4.33 / 3) (#16)
by Logan on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 12:10:46 PM EST

Cowardly - ly = Coward
Niggardly - ly = Niggard

If you're going to be too stupid to know the language you speak, then you deserve to be insulted (not because of your race, but because of your self-enforced ignorance).

Logan

[ Parent ]

you're assuming too much of people (3.20 / 5) (#45)
by logiterr on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 02:44:01 PM EST

wouldnt it be a better world if we were all wise and not too stupid? sure. then again reality is otherwise. not all of us are wise. and not all of us know every nuance of a particular language.

it is like asking programmers to make extensions to their favorite language there are bound to be disagreements on interpretation and implementation.

my example isnt an analogy at all. all i am showing is a possible snapshot into someone's mind as they hear niggardly. that you missed that tells me quite a bit about your assumed level of intelligence but that isnt the point of what i was trying to say.

the message: on issues of racism for and against people are very passionate about it. when passions run high it is very hard to be rational. when passions run high one's views are colored by their ideals. if we were all tolerant of our differences racism and such issues wouldnt be an issue.

[ Parent ]

ooooooooohhhhhhhh.... (4.75 / 4) (#122)
by darkskyes on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 07:13:04 PM EST

one's views are colored by their ideals.

so now you are saying they have "colored views?"

Where does it end???

-"Your disadvantage is that you will always, always be outnumbered, and ...your enemy will learn more about you, how to fight you, and those changes will be put into effect instantly." -Mazer Rackham
[ Parent ]

blind rage. (none / 0) (#149)
by logiterr on Mon Sep 09, 2002 at 04:29:43 PM EST

results in uncharacteristic behavior. the internal rage that is blinding our judgement is only trying to satisfy itself. it isnt in itself wrong. it is trying to solve its problem. the rage is trying to find a way to harmonize with its environment. this often leads to violent results.

it ends when we realize that we do not need to identify with the cause of our rage or the rage itself. it ends when we can change our reaction to our rage. it ends when we do the one thing that any life form must learn to do if it is to survive its impulses: restraint.

[ Parent ]

My theory (3.33 / 6) (#19)
by awgsilyari on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 12:22:04 PM EST

My theory is that people who react so strongly to any intimation of racism are, in fact, desperately trying to deny that they themselves have racial biases.

Same way those who constantly make gay jokes are probably homosexuals in self-denial.

Racism is a terrible thing, but we have to remain rational when dealing with it. Exploding into a rage helps nothing. Especially when no real racism existed in the first place.

--------
Please direct SPAM to john@neuralnw.com
[ Parent ]

whether or not your theory... (2.00 / 2) (#50)
by logiterr on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 02:59:02 PM EST

...is correct it is not my point.

what is your reaction to a bomb threat? panic. run away. what would you do if you found out the bomb was actually being triggered on the other side of the galaxy? calm. silliness. probably call mom and dad to tell them about it.

context means everything. without a context we must resort to cultural context (or a more general context). and often cultural context isnt the most rational repository of wisdom. but this is how we live. often this is how inadvertently even a non-racist can be racist comments. because they are using too generalized a context. stereotypes. but that isnt racism it is prejudice. same boat. different deck.

[ Parent ]

While I agree... (4.00 / 1) (#123)
by darkskyes on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 07:21:26 PM EST

that context is critical to whehter or not a word is offensive, etc, the bomb threat analogy isn't exactly correct. The correct analogy would be more like:

Reaction to bomb threat = run away

Reaction to overhearing someone say "I feel like my head is about to explode" = run away??

Do you see now why it was a bad judgement to attack the teacher? If no one ever taught you that the second instance is NOT the same as the first you might be unnecessarily concerned. Someone should be teaching kids that there are words that they are likely to hear which may sound like one thing but mean something else. Else, stupidity results.

-"Your disadvantage is that you will always, always be outnumbered, and ...your enemy will learn more about you, how to fight you, and those changes will be put into effect instantly." -Mazer Rackham
[ Parent ]

Suggestion... (3.00 / 3) (#3)
by Run4YourLives on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 11:36:56 AM EST

Aside from the links, you never told us what "niggardly" means, exactly, and how it differs from the word "nigger".

How about a couple of definitions right out of the dictionary included in the article to further illustrate the valid point you're already making.

Other than that it's pretty good. :-)


It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown

good change... (none / 0) (#6)
by Run4YourLives on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 11:45:18 AM EST

now hopefully nobody notices that my comment was supposed to be editorial... :-)


It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]
Sometimes, ya gotta wonder... (4.09 / 11) (#7)
by Run4YourLives on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 11:48:57 AM EST

From the linked article:

"A few days later, Ms. Bell (the teacher) received a letter from Ms. Walker (the parent) saying the word was not allowed in her house, no matter what it means.

"Common sense tells you not to put a word like that on the board," Ms. Walker said."

 Common sense tells me that Me that Ms. Walker might need to attend Ms. Bell's class herself, as she might stand to learn something...


It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown

One time, at my high school job... (4.00 / 6) (#14)
by graal on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 12:09:46 PM EST

...in the nursery section of a Big Box Home Improvement Store, I overheard my supervisor telling some of my co-workers to go work on "that pallet of nigger seed."

I listen to him refer to the "nigger seed" over and over, before wandering over to see what the hell he was talking about, and to make sure that there weren't any customers around.

He got all defensive: "That's what it says on the bag! Right THERE!"

He points to a bag of Niger Thistle Seed.


--
For Thou hast commanded, and so it is, that every
inordinate affection should be its own punishment.
-- St. Augustine (Confessions, i)
[ Parent ]

you should join her... (1.60 / 5) (#21)
by Run4YourLives on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 12:30:22 PM EST

That word is Niger (Nigh-jer) not Nigger.

Both you and your manager where indeed using a "racial slur" because you weren't reading properly.
 

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

Dude. (4.00 / 3) (#27)
by graal on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 12:58:24 PM EST

Then, as now, I was aware of the difference between "Niger" and "Nigger".

I corrected him, though I guess I should have mentioned that in my post. He even tried to debate me on it. I asked him if he really thought a company would put the word "nigger" on their packaging. He huffed for a minute, then stomped off.


--
For Thou hast commanded, and so it is, that every
inordinate affection should be its own punishment.
-- St. Augustine (Confessions, i)
[ Parent ]

lol (3.33 / 3) (#28)
by Run4YourLives on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 01:00:50 PM EST

yeah, re-reading your post I realized that you might... my bad!

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]
No worries (n/t) (2.66 / 3) (#29)
by graal on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 01:02:37 PM EST


--
For Thou hast commanded, and so it is, that every
inordinate affection should be its own punishment.
-- St. Augustine (Confessions, i)
[ Parent ]

Geography teachers next? (3.00 / 1) (#110)
by the womble on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 12:03:52 PM EST

I wonder how long it will be before a geography teacher gets into trouble for teaching children aout the Niger (either the river or the country)?

[ Parent ]
How 'bout (4.87 / 16) (#8)
by Rand Race on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 11:55:58 AM EST

Spic-N-Span
Cheese Nips
A chink in armor
Kraut on your hotdog
Mick Jagger
Coon hound
Honkey-tonk
This G&T is a bit too limey
Frog pond
Doo-wop
Steep slope
Ace of spades
A golden guinea
Soup and crackers

An attempt to control language is an attempt to control thought, a dispicable practice in a free land.


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson

Bastard! (1.33 / 3) (#11)
by graal on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 12:00:13 PM EST

I was just trying to compile that list!

--
For Thou hast commanded, and so it is, that every
inordinate affection should be its own punishment.
-- St. Augustine (Confessions, i)
[ Parent ]

Erm... (2.00 / 1) (#23)
by rapha on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 12:37:50 PM EST

Hi. I'm Kraut.

But that's about the only one of these I
actually understand. Translation, anyone?


---
NIETS IS ONMOGELIJK!

[ Parent ]

Slurs (4.40 / 5) (#24)
by catseye on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 12:46:34 PM EST

Spic - Hispanic
Nip - Japanese
Chink - Chinese
Kraut - German
Mic - Irish
Coon - Black
Honey - White
Limey - English
Frog - French
Wop - Italian
Slope - Asian
Spade - Black
Guinea - Italian
Cracker - White, typically redneck.

Damn, I actually knew all those. Scary.


----------
How can we fight Islamic Fundamentalism abroad if we do not fight Christian Fundamentalism at home?
[ Parent ]

And now I do (1.50 / 2) (#71)
by Humuhumunukunukuapuaa on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 05:00:30 PM EST

Can I sue you for corrupting my brain?
--
(&()*&^#@!!&_($&)!&$(*#$(!$&_(!$*&&!$@
[ Parent ]
Thanks :-) (1.00 / 3) (#80)
by rapha on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 06:51:04 PM EST




---
NIETS IS ONMOGELIJK!

[ Parent ]
Nitpick (none / 0) (#124)
by zerovoid on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 08:31:28 PM EST

Honey[sz] are not exclusively white!

[ Parent ]
Some coincidences, some not (4.75 / 4) (#36)
by J'raxis on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 01:45:17 PM EST

Some of these are coincidences, some are not. British came to be known as Limeys because of a British Navy practice of feeding their sailors limes to ward off a vitamin deficiency (rickets? scurvy?). And Coon became a term for Blacks because of nineteenth-century racist comedy routines wherein the actors portraying blacks wore makeup that also made them look like raccoons.

— The Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
[ Parent ]

Coon (4.00 / 2) (#62)
by notcarlos on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 04:00:40 PM EST

Actually, coon comes from the popular character "Jack Coon", a dumb, hard-working negro who was also raccon-sly (as opposed to the happy, lazy sambo) from the mid-ninteenth century minstrel shows. While the word probably refers to the raccon, it derives from it only in a roundabout manner.

Sic dixit ille acadamiane.

He will destroy you like an academic ninja.
-- Rating on Rate My Professors.com
[ Parent ]
And supposedly (4.00 / 1) (#63)
by jaymz168 on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 04:04:07 PM EST

WOP is supposed to be an acronym for WithOut Papers. A reference to Italian immigrants coming over to America without immigration papers. Mic is a pretty obvious one, Mc<insert family name here> being pretty common with the Irish. Kraut I think is actually a reference to sauerkraut. I had no idea with the Frog thing. Anybody else know the histories on any of these slurs?

[ Parent ]
Here's a page (4.66 / 3) (#67)
by Rand Race on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 04:48:32 PM EST

Racial Slur Database.

Spic is probably from Hispanic.
Nip is from Nippon.
Chink is in reference to epicanthic folds.
Kraut is from sauerkraut.
Coon could also be from the portuguese 'barracoon': slave quarters.
Many theories on Honkey.
Limey from the limes British sailors ate to combat scurvy.
Frog could be because they like to eat frogs, sound like frogs, or the fleur-de-lis looks like a frog.
Wop could also be from the Italian 'Guappo': Handsome.
Slope is a facial description (slope-head).
Spade is from the card suit as it is black (and sounds better than 'club' I suppose).
Guinea is a complex one. Either from the money or from the area in Africa.
Cracker refers to the diet of the poor in England and, by extension, Georgia.


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

Interesting (3.00 / 1) (#70)
by devon on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 04:57:08 PM EST

I'd heard that cracker came about because slave owners were literally whip-crackers. Live and learn.

--
Call yourself a computer professional? Congratulations. You are responsible for the imminent collapse of civilization.
[ Parent ]
What about.... (1.60 / 5) (#66)
by Perianwyr on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 04:47:45 PM EST

<b>Fuck</b> you

[ Parent ]
I feel Gypped! (4.00 / 2) (#102)
by MicroGlyphics on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 02:20:06 AM EST


"Dreams are private myths; myths are public dreams." - Joseph Campbell
[ Parent ]
Do us all a favor.... (3.80 / 5) (#9)
by Gooba42 on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 11:58:03 AM EST

Let's start sending our representatives dictionaries for Christmas. Highlight words of particular interest.

I'll be mentioning this incident to some of my local schoolteachers. Maybe get a union or two involved.

[+1] But English is incredibly varied ... (4.62 / 8) (#10)
by dmt on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 11:58:47 AM EST

for instance in the 19th century 'Walker!' was a term of abuse (named after an early time and motion pioneer).   A word's emotional content changes and this isn't always logical.

But I agree with you and I can see this from both sides; no doubt we'll see many changes in the English language with the advent of global connectivity.  After all presently English is a mish-mash of Saxon, Norman-French, Celtic and Germanic languages and if everyone had a totally restrictive attitude we'd still be speaking middle English:

ICH was in one sumere dale,
in one suþe di3ele hale,
iherde ich holde grete tale
an hule and one ni3tingale.

From the Owl and the Nightinghale.

So language changes.  Look at the history of the word fuck.  However why this teacher couldn't pick up Roget's and looked up avarcious, covetous, parsimonious, sparing, miserly, penurios, sordid or stingy (all mean the same as niggardly) seems ill-thought.  

Note: I don't find niggardly offensive but others (probably ignorant) might  and ignorant idiots use English too!  So I wouldn't use niggardly because idiots would associate it with nigger and the I think the teacher should have been aware of this.  This isn't destruction of the English language - (to quote Talking Heads) it's the same as it ever was.  Look at Walker!

Fuck (4.00 / 1) (#52)
by Rasman on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 03:03:08 PM EST

I'd like to point out that no one really knows the etymology of that word.

---
Brave. Daring. Fearless. Clippy - The Clothes Pin Stuntman
[ Parent ]
Correct (3.00 / 1) (#57)
by dmt on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 03:40:29 PM EST

What is certain however is that the offensiveness has increased over time.  Varied probably, but early poetic usage in the 16th century certainly wasn't as rude as it is considered to day.

[ Parent ]
Beavis and Butthead run a school (4.57 / 7) (#12)
by pyro9 on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 12:02:28 PM EST

Heh Heh...She said ASpirin

I suppose that should the subject of birds come up, any mention of the tufted titmouse or the blue-footed booby is right out.

There's a whole lot of words we're going to have to scrap if similarity to 'offensive' words is a problem. Perhaps the students can learn about Hoover &*^, or The explorers using a ^%*tant once they're in college.


The future isn't what it used to be
I wonder (4.27 / 11) (#13)
by hatshepsut on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 12:07:15 PM EST

Would Ms. Walker (the parent) object if we called her illiterate?

"I am not illiterate, my parents were married before I was born!"

Or is that too cruel?

Language Change (3.71 / 7) (#15)
by Khedak on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 12:10:21 PM EST

I don't have any personal opinion about the word niggardly, but the fact is that language changes, and the English language is no exception. It's not "destruction", it's "change", and there is no way to avoid it no matter how much you may disagree with its direction. If niggardly is becoming unacceptable because of its similarity to the slur nigger, linguists will note that fact with interest. But you can't tell people what opinions to have about language, they have them no matter what you tell them. Adapt, or speak however you like. Either is a valid choice, but trying to "preserve" the English language is impossible and foolish to attempt. After all, many people use the term "nigger" with great regularity, and to the people they are speaking it serves their communicative needs well. Does that mean everyone must consider it appropriate? Of course not. You are entitled to your opinion, but so are the parents and education officials cited in this article.

Excellent point (none / 0) (#97)
by MoxFulder on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 12:43:06 AM EST

It's certainly true that from a scientific standpoint, linguists should be more concerned with describing language rather than prescribing usage. The fact that the English language can and does change in so many different ways is what makes language so versatile and useful.

However, from a political or ethical standpoint, it seems completely inappropriate to fire the teacher in the case. While the teacher's use of the word "niggardly" shows poor consideration of linguistic associations of the word, it does not demonstrate any racial bias or prejudice.


"If good things lasted forever, would we realize how special they are?"
--Calvin and Hobbes


[ Parent ]
I agree. (none / 0) (#140)
by Khedak on Mon Sep 09, 2002 at 11:42:33 AM EST

I agree that firing someone over this is excessive, my point was to take issue with the author's claiming that the English language is being "destroyed" by these people. I don't support firing people over linguistic opinion, as Epepke seems to be upset over in his reply to me.

My point was to take issue with people who claim their version of English is correct from a linguistic standpoint. I've said nothing about whether a teacher should be fired for teaching the word "niggardly", or even "nigger" for that matter.

[ Parent ]
Not quite (3.00 / 1) (#131)
by epepke on Sun Sep 08, 2002 at 06:03:22 PM EST

Yes, language changes. But it changes as a result of the usage of the speakers of that language. Every attempt use the "language changes" as an arument that a word should mean something is, transparently and obviously, an attempt to disenfranchise a class of language speakers from participating in that change. No relativistic bias can ever provide any sort of objective superiority in the direction of change.

This group that you seem to be trying to shame into shutting up includes people who are trying to preserve the meanings of words. For example:

but trying to "preserve" the English language is impossible and foolish to attempt.

It is obviously neither more nor less impossible and foolish than it is to attempt to try to "change" the English language in any arbitrary direction. The people who try to do so are no less bona fide English speakers than you are. Now, if you want to dis a certain class of English speakers as bad or not worthy or something, then it would be quite within your rights to do so, but at least admit the bias, and if not, you can reasonably expect someone to call "foul."

You are entitled to your opinion, but so are the parents and education officials cited in this article.

So what exactly is the problem? Is there any evidence, at all, that any of us have gone to those officials and held guns to their heads? Of course not.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Dis? (none / 0) (#141)
by Khedak on Mon Sep 09, 2002 at 11:46:13 AM EST

I'm not dissing anyone, I'm just pointing out that you're embarking on a hopeless endeavour if you're out to "preserve" the English language and prevent its destruction. Change isn't something you have to "try" to do, it's not like there is a Change Cabal who are attempting to mutate the language. I'm stating the fact that change happens, and the author's attempts to justify his version of English using etymology and other means is stupid and pointless.

Now, if you ask me if the teacher should have been fired, I'll say "No." But that's a seperate issue entirely. The author should have concentrated more on the issue of the teacher being screwed over some upset parents than on the issue of the English language being somehow doomed by this chain of events. The two issues are distinct.

[ Parent ]
A niggling matter (3.80 / 10) (#18)
by bobpence on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 12:19:44 PM EST

It was a misjudgement to teach this term - even as found in a thesaurus at the spur of the moment - without making it clear that it is not related to another word that may sound similar. However, the teacher has now apologized and the matter should drop.

It would be an appropriate word to cover when teaching Chaucer or Tolkien - something likely to happen in later grades. There it would be covered as an unfamiliar word students might encounter, as opposed to an elementary grade vocabulary word. While it conveys a certain shade of meaning, it is not something particularly useful to add to one's everyday vocabulary because of sensitivities like those shown in relation to this news story.

As far as the word "nigger," if certain African Americans would stop using it, it would all but disappear from modern speech. We could explain its presence in Huck Finn as needed.
"Interesting. No wait, the other thing: tedious." - Bender

from the article: (4.00 / 5) (#20)
by ph0rk on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 12:25:05 PM EST

    The class talked briefly about the proper words to use when describing a person's race, Ms. Bell said.

    Then, the class discussed other ways to describe people. One child described the boy as stingy.
I assumed that meant more less what you said. Of course, how does one say that "niggardly" doesn't mean anything like "nigger" without using the word nigger?
[ f o r k . s c h i z o i d . c o m ]
[ Parent ]
Very carefully <nt> (2.33 / 3) (#34)
by bobpence on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 01:24:12 PM EST


"Interesting. No wait, the other thing: tedious." - Bender
[ Parent ]
Did she teach the etymologies? (2.55 / 9) (#22)
by Kellnerin on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 12:31:08 PM EST

I doubt it. The question here isn't whether "niggardly" is a perfectly legitimate word without any racial connotations (it is), but whether it was appropriate to introduce to a fourth-grade class. I don't think her reasoning for teaching the word is unimpeachable:

She began looking for a synonym for "stingy." The children's dictionary offered "self-centered." But Ms. Bell said most of the children already knew that word.

That's when she landed on the word "niggard." She added the "-ly" because the class was studying adverbs.

The "ly" in "niggardly" has nothing to do with adverbs (and would be confusing if you thought of it that way). And the richness of the English language provides numerous other alternatives for "stingy".

Without knowing the etymologies children (or indeed, anyone) may be tempted to make up their own "folk etymology" for a word, or attach the wrong connotation to it. When I was about that age, I was a smartass kid, and when someone responded to one of my quips with "You're such a wit" I took great offense, because I thought they were calling me something like a "twit" (and hilarity thus ensued). Point being, having learned that "niggardly" means "stingy", and then coming across a similar sounding word with a different meaning, the students may well associate the two words, adding even more baggage to the "N" word than it already has.

--sometimes you pick your gods, sometimes the gods pick you -odin--

Not Quite, But Just As Good (4.25 / 4) (#25)
by thelizman on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 12:49:25 PM EST

The story as I read it (this is not the first time this has happenned) is that she asked the kids to come up with synonyms for 'cheap'. Few, if any answers, came back. So, she suggested niggardly.

Now, you'd think in the context of the conversation there would be little doubt. But, nonetheless, one of the students was "offended". As I recall high school, getting offended was an excuse to act up.

Quite honestly, I don't see where it matters. My parents taught me to investigate an issue, and not jump to conclusions. WTF is wrong that so many people - in New Hanover County (which is not exactly a bastion of liberalism) - make the same mistake. I was educated in nearby Onslow County, and as bad as their schools was I graduated knowing what niggardly meant.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
not high school (3.66 / 3) (#30)
by Kellnerin on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 01:03:46 PM EST

Yes, she clearly taught what the word meant. It's a fine word. But my point is that people will connect otherwise unrelated things, and it'd be hard for her to ensure that the students didn't make that kind of mistake (as some of the parents clearly did) without specifically going into a discussion of how the words are not related. Imagine the uproar if she had discussed the word "nigger" explicitly in class. There are so many words that could have fit the bill, why didn't she pick another one?

In high school, I'd have no problem with teaching the word, especially since at that age you could be relatively assured that you could use some PC circumlocution like "that other word" to get around the issue of using a potentially offensive word in class, and be perfectly understood.

--sometimes you pick your gods, sometimes the gods pick you -odin--
[ Parent ]

The Dumbing Down and Sensitizing of America (3.83 / 6) (#47)
by thelizman on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 02:51:00 PM EST

There are so many words that could have fit the bill, why didn't she pick another one?
Why should she have to? Why should we have to go through the entire lexis of the American-English language and remove any word which is homophonous to a racial slur. And before you answer, when do we start removing Spic-and-Span from the store shelves? And Cheese-Nips - the Japanese must be pissed I tell ya!

It's all to rediculous. People should spend less time being offended by words.

+10 points for using "circumlocution" in a sentence though. At least YOU don't have a niggardly vocabulary.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
I smell a straw man (4.00 / 2) (#56)
by Kellnerin on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 03:29:24 PM EST

But hey, I'll play along. She doesn't have to choose a different word, but it'd be wise to. For the reason that "miserly" is in much more common usage, if nothing else. There's no added value to the word "niggardly". I mean wow, all those YA books I was reading back then used that word, and it would really have helped me out if my teacher had introduced it to me earlier.

I never advocated removing the word from the language -- I think it has its place. I'm just saying the place is not a fourth grade classroom.

Someone else has already posted a very clever list of "offensive" words. Leaving aside the question of whether any of those words are in current use as slurs, or have the visceral impact of "nigger", you can't seriously argue that the name of a household product such as "Spic-and-Span" (which would mean what? "Hispanic guy and the distance from one end of a bridge to another"?) has the same potential for misunderstanding. Let's see, a negative adjective to describe someone (I don't believe anyone's ever uttered a sentence like, "You know why you're so great, man? Because you're so niggardly."), and a word with negative connotations that refers to a category of people. If you want to tell me that it's not highly likely that some people will confuse them, you're wrong.

It's all to rediculous.

Yeah, not only is my vocabulary good, but my grammar and spelling are pretty decent as well. ;-)

People should spend less time being offended by words.

I can't disagree with that, but I hope you'd agree that people could stand to spend more time choosing the right word, too.

--sometimes you pick your gods, sometimes the gods pick you -odin--
[ Parent ]

Niggardly !~ Nigger (3.00 / 2) (#64)
by thelizman on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 04:21:02 PM EST

I can't disagree with that, but I hope you'd agree that people could stand to spend more time choosing the right word, too.
Who are you (or anyone else) to determine which word is right? One of the reasons the English language is so dominant in world culture (not in terms of speakers but in use) is that it is rich and diverse. I could call say miserly, or niggardly, or cheap, or pinchy, or tight-fisted, or stingy, or greedy, or self serving, or whatever else.

Now let me ask you this: Did this same person find the use of any homophonous word this offense in the rap music they listen to? So if they are not offended by the direct use of the word "nigger", then how can they be offended by a word that only sounds similar. Couldn't have/shouldn't have the artist chosen another word?

Equivocating doesn't make the hypocrisy inherent in this issue go away. "offense" is something reserved to priveledged classes lately, and it is a tool of garnering political capital. Let's be completely honest: Nobody was offended by this. It's just a means to getting attention. "Hey everyone, I'm a victim, look at me".

The bottom line is, any literate person equipped with a dictionary could take a few minutes and learn that 'niggardly', a word they had obviously never heard before, is not a racial epitaph nor was it meant to be, and they could move on. But the victim class in this country is so hell bent on capitalizing on pity that they'll whore themself out to any issue that presents itself.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Cow feces! (3.33 / 3) (#73)
by Humuhumunukunukuapuaa on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 05:03:25 PM EST


One of the reasons the English language is so dominant in world culture...is that it is rich and diverse

It's because English speaking countries have been economically and militarily dominant - and I don't think that dominance was a result of the language.
--
(&()*&^#@!!&_($&)!&$(*#$(!$&_(!$*&&!$@
[ Parent ]
Think Hard About This (3.00 / 2) (#76)
by thelizman on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 05:35:50 PM EST

Spanish and French speaking countries have been far more dominant. Spanish is spoken by more people world wide than any other (including chinese, since there are two primary dialects that get lumped together as chinese). Follow that up with French, and English comes in about 4th. Obviously, economic hegemony doesn't play as big of a role.


--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
What's your source for this? (4.00 / 3) (#84)
by aphrael on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 07:21:31 PM EST

InfoPlease puts Mandarin first, followed by Chinese, with Spanish 4th, and French off the list. So You Wanna Know puts Mandarin first, followed by Chinese, with Spanish 4th, and French 10th. Multilingual Planet puts Mandarin first, Spanish third, English fourth, and French 11th. Linguasphere, the only list I was able to find which explained its methodology, puts Mandarin first, English second, Spanish fourth, and French 12th.

Your claim that Spanish is the second most spoken language seems reasonable until you consider that the population of Latin America isn't all that large, and that the language is unknown outside of Latin America and Iberia. Note, too, that English would beat out Spanish based entirely on its use as the common trade and legal language in India.

Your claim that French is spoken by more people than English is truly bizarre.

[ Parent ]

it was property rights, not language [nt] (5.00 / 1) (#126)
by showboat on Sun Sep 08, 2002 at 12:25:16 AM EST



[ Parent ]
racial epithet? (4.50 / 2) (#74)
by devon on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 05:10:48 PM EST

Racial epitaph would be this
Here lies a Fred. He was black.


--
Call yourself a computer professional? Congratulations. You are responsible for the imminent collapse of civilization.
[ Parent ]
I whooped... (1.00 / 1) (#79)
by Lenny on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 06:49:43 PM EST

Batman's Ass


"Hate the USA? Boycott everything American. Particularly its websites..."
-Me
[ Parent ]
So (4.33 / 3) (#26)
by Rogerborg on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 12:54:45 PM EST

We'd better not teach things to kids in case they're too ill educated to use them properly?

Go to the back of the class.

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

No (2.00 / 3) (#32)
by Kellnerin on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 01:10:49 PM EST

More like, let's not go out of our way to teach something where, in order for them to address all the possible connotations, we'd have to discuss a racial slur in front of 8-year olds.

--sometimes you pick your gods, sometimes the gods pick you -odin--
[ Parent ]
When I was 8... (4.50 / 2) (#75)
by Kintanon on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 05:18:56 PM EST

I was well aware of what the word Niggardly meant, and I had heard the word Nigger about a million times from various people because I live in the rural south east US. I never ever had any trouble seperating the two words and knowing that one had appropriate usage (Niggardly) and one did not (Nigger). Are these childre that much dumber than I was at 8? I was well read for an 8 year old, and pretty quick I imagine... But I wasn't a bleeding genius. Teach the kids all of the words. They hear worse ever day. I've recently had kids as young as *5* cuss me out. I don't think we need to worry about accidentally teaching racial slurs to the kids...

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

8-year olds? (5.00 / 1) (#93)
by phliar on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 11:49:21 PM EST

The article says 4th grade. In the US, that makes the kids 9 or 10.

Are 9- and 10-year olds ready to learn etymology dealing with slurs, racial epithets and assorted calumny? Based on my experiences with kids (in the suburbs of San Francisco) -- you bet! They use them often enough in the playground!


Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
[ Parent ]

not another PC Police crap!!!! (1.50 / 2) (#31)
by KiTaSuMbA on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 01:09:07 PM EST

I've had enough...
Sure, it was a bad choice to bring this word to elementary school but only for its literal value and content. It's a pretty rare word after all. It was a bad choice to dream of kids speaking the "wooden language" you only find in elaborate works and speaches...
But making a non-valid (care for a dictionary, anyone?) racism issue? Blowing the issue to national / world wide news? Geeezzz!!!
I think some people need a conspicuous dose of laxative in their coffee to lighten up a bit!
There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
If you think that's bad... (none / 0) (#54)
by MessiahWWKD on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 03:05:13 PM EST

Try saying bitch or ass or cock or faggot in school. These words all have appropriate usage, yet somehow people would be offended if you said them.
Sent from my iPad
[ Parent ]
They have alternative meanings... (5.00 / 1) (#59)
by jaymz168 on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 03:44:03 PM EST

That's because bitch, ass, cock, and faggot have alternative meanings in our present day nomenclature, that can be quite offensive to people. These people are just making leaps in logic and tying the word niggardly with the word nigger. Notice that the word nigger is NOT contained within the word niggardly. That's an 'a' not and 'e'. How about banning cracker or white bread from schools? How stupid does that sound? How about no more reading books set in the dark or middle ages because they refer to a chink in someone's armor? And these words actually have offensive alternative meanings. Oh, and no more sauerkraut at lunchtime. I agree with your other post that children will take any word that sounds remotely offensive and use it to death because they feel that they are getting away with something, but does that mean that we should alter our language and deny our children a wider vocabulary with which to express themselves? <statement to garner universal support>We have to think of the children, they are our future!</statement to garner universal support>

[ Parent ]
Whoever mentioned banning books? (none / 0) (#91)
by MessiahWWKD on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 10:43:25 PM EST

I sure didn't. Of course, some books shouldn't be in libraries for elementary schools. You might feel that eight year old children need to be reading Huckleberry Finn and Desperation by Stephen King, but I think that they should wait a couple more years. As for those words, do you want to know the real meaning why it's all right to say cracker and white bread and not niggardly? Because cracker and white bread are used often enough in the non-offensive to warrant regular usage. Niggardly is rarely ever used in today's society.

I agree with your other post that children will take any word that sounds remotely offensive and use it to death because they feel that they are getting away with something, but does that mean that we should alter our language and deny our children a wider vocabulary with which to express themselves?

The language has already been altered ever since its birth. If you feel that it should never be changed, then why don't you start using the first version of language ever to exist? Besides, words have been changed "for the children" such as hexadecimal, which should be sexadecimal. Why do people cry "MURDERER!" over niggard but have no problem with saying hexadecimal over sexadecimal? Perhaps because niggard sounds so much like nigger that they can call a black person a niggard and be able to deny the fact that they are a racist.


Sent from my iPad
[ Parent ]
nitpick (none / 0) (#103)
by KiTaSuMbA on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 02:23:53 AM EST

hexadecimal doesn't come from six but from the greek hexi...
Other than that, I do agree that it was a mistake to push such rare and non-common words on elementary students but still I don't see any base for a racism-in-language discussion as the parents seem to have promoted and make such a freaking issue to cost the teacher's job. For god's sake we are discussing at K5 (an international discussion website) the efficiency of a teacher somewhere in the US.
Keeping awareness over racism is nice but being an allergic weenie about everything is just pathetic.
There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
[ Parent ]
whoops (none / 0) (#60)
by jaymz168 on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 03:51:55 PM EST

I confused someone elses post about children using words loosely with one of your posts. The argument still stands however.

[ Parent ]
We should reform the language (1.33 / 3) (#33)
by United Fools on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 01:17:49 PM EST

Well, we speakers control the language. If we refuse to use that word, then it will disappear, no matter what Webster says.
We are united, we are fools, and we are America!
What a doubleplusgood idea! (4.20 / 5) (#37)
by J'raxis on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 01:51:25 PM EST

It will only disappear if you also remove it from the countless pieces of written literature in which it appears. Do you propose we should do that also?

Below, there was another post identifying many words that (coincidentally) not only sound like racial slurs, but are racial slurs when taken in a different context. Should we also try and remove all occurrences within the English lexicon of terms like a chink in someone’s armor or descriptions of food as tasting limey?

— The Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
[ Parent ]

We need new words (4.50 / 2) (#39)
by pyro9 on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 02:02:15 PM EST

Don't you think keeping all of those old words is double-plus ungood?


The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]
1,000,000 words "should be enough for anybody (5.00 / 1) (#44)
by J'raxis on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 02:27:47 PM EST

We have enough words, don’t you think? But maybe we could lose a few.

— The Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
[ Parent ]

Let's never change anything! (3.00 / 2) (#53)
by MessiahWWKD on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 03:03:11 PM EST

Words die and change everyday. In fact, the English language today is completely different from what it was when it first began. Language is about evolution, not stagnation
Sent from my iPad
[ Parent ]
Exactly (4.00 / 1) (#83)
by kholmes on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 07:20:00 PM EST

References to 1984 are way overused. Truth is, even if you know the word "Nigard", chances are people are not going to use the word when they speak just to avoid sounding like a racist. But fourth graders, hopefully, aren't going to know slurs like "Nigger" so avoiding words that sound like that word until they get older is probably best.

Eventually, we're going to stop saying that word all together. So its not really important to teach it.

This isn't censorship. References to 1984 are uncalled for. "Niggard" is still in my dictionary and is probably in yours. What the school seems to be saying is that they don't want 4th graders using the word because it sounds like "Nigger". But guess what. When them kids get into high school, they are probably going to read Huckleberry Fin. I know the book has been banned in the past, but I read it in high school and so will the fourth graders.

If they ban Huck Finn, then we'll have something to talk about.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]

Umm... so what are you saying? (4.00 / 1) (#121)
by darkskyes on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 06:58:59 PM EST

Anyway, evolution of language, like evolution of critters(sorry did that offend anyone?) is a naturally occurring process that can't be accelerated. Moreover, evolution doesn't imply progress, only change. If the word "niggard" is evolved out of the English language, it should be considered a loss, an extinction, and mourned as such.

Hey! maybe we should make it an endangered species!!

-"Your disadvantage is that you will always, always be outnumbered, and ...your enemy will learn more about you, how to fight you, and those changes will be put into effect instantly." -Mazer Rackham
[ Parent ]

Ironic (4.00 / 1) (#130)
by pyro9 on Sun Sep 08, 2002 at 04:35:00 PM EST

Ironically, had the teacher been a closet racist, she would have been much more aware of the similarity of 'niggardly' and 'nigger' and would have chosen another word.

She might well have chosen poorly, and I can see how it could have hit a few raw nerves, but it shouldn't have cost her job.


The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]
Limey is offensive? (4.50 / 2) (#120)
by darkskyes on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 06:53:13 PM EST

Wonder what my dago friends will think?

-"Your disadvantage is that you will always, always be outnumbered, and ...your enemy will learn more about you, how to fight you, and those changes will be put into effect instantly." -Mazer Rackham
[ Parent ]

Washington, D.C. (3.00 / 1) (#38)
by Bad Harmony on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 01:55:20 PM EST

The incident in Washington, D.C., where an aide to the Mayor was "encouraged" to resign, was terrible publicity for the city. It displayed to the world the ignorance of many of its politicians, citizens and so-called community leaders.

54º40' or Fight!

New language announced! (3.66 / 6) (#40)
by bigbtommy on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 02:16:53 PM EST

I'd like to officially announce today that a new language has been introduced to remedy the use of swearing and other potentially offensive language. This language is called [i]Newspeak[/i]. Now, this Newspeak that you will be speaking in schools may differ slightly from the English that you are used to, but if you use a mental 'linking' technique called [i]doublethink[/i] you will find it easier to understand. Now, the first word we have removed. Free as in freedom no longer exists. Newspeak is expected to supersede Oldspeak by the year 2050. Enjoy your day! The moral is... people not only read, write and talk in English, they also think in English. How do you stop them thinking what you don't want them to think? Remove the word.
-- bbCity.co.uk - When I see kids, I speed up
Except for the chinese people (none / 0) (#85)
by xriso on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 07:29:44 PM EST

They think in chinese. But everybody else thinks in english. That's why chinese people think so weird compared to everyone else.
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
[ Parent ]
You mean all this time... (none / 0) (#119)
by darkskyes on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 06:49:20 PM EST

I've been thinking in English?!?! No wonder I'm so screwed up.

-"Your disadvantage is that you will always, always be outnumbered, and ...your enemy will learn more about you, how to fight you, and those changes will be put into effect instantly." -Mazer Rackham
[ Parent ]

this is a great idea (2.16 / 6) (#41)
by dnuoforp on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 02:17:39 PM EST

Whether a child is knowledgable about a word, ie that it isn't a racial slur, or not makes no difference to them about how funny it is. Children are not sophisticated. They are going to hear a word that is dramatically close to a word that they aren't allowed to say, and regardless of what it means they're going to say it as much as they can because it is going to feel like they are getting away with something.

Maybe the teacher was trying to teach the kids some kind of lesson, but the "N"-word in the inappropriate context is such a hurtful and stinging word for so many people that her lesson would likely have been much more effective, and much less insensitive, with a different word.

I don't think that what she did was wrong, but it WAS very insensitive, which is definitelly not something that a school teacher should be.

Be Sensitive To Stupid People (4.00 / 6) (#42)
by thelizman on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 02:21:57 PM EST

We should all seek to lower ourselves to the lowest common denominator, and beg forgiveness for our insensitivity to their ignorance.

Yeah, that kind of pedantic simpering is what made American great...
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
It's not about stupidity. (none / 0) (#51)
by MessiahWWKD on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 03:00:12 PM EST

It's about sensitivity. I do agree though that it's wrong to teach children to be sensitive toward others, because that's stupid.
Sent from my iPad
[ Parent ]
What Is Stupidity? (5.00 / 3) (#65)
by thelizman on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 04:45:04 PM EST

Roll with me here: Student X hears teacher A say 'niggardly'. Student X has no clue what 'niggardly' means, but because it sounds like 'nigger' assumes that it is a racial slur. Student X gets all huffy, tells his mommy, and mommy (not being any more sophisticated than her kid) complains to the school. All the idiots on the faculty agree: This word 'niggardly' must be bad because it sounds like 'nigger'. So they punish the teacher.

The teacher, who never wished to offend anyone, explains that 'niggardly' is a word in common usage (which really only means it's in the dictionary, since 'common usage' nowadays is a lot more restricted than when the phrase 'common usage' was around), and it simply means 'miserly'.

Now, this is where we get into the "Choose Your Own Adventure" phase.
  1. If you think that the kid, teacher, and staff were embarrased upon finding out that they made a big stink over nothing, go to A
  2. If you think that the kid, teacher, and staff could give a shit what 'niggardly' meant, just as long as it kind of sounded like the offense 'nigger', go to B


A Obviously, these people (as a whole) lack any degree of character. It could be a simple mistake, and civilized people would let it go at that. But, instead of admitting they were wrong, and agreeing that no harm was intended and then going their separate ways (like ladies and gentleman), they decide to punish the teacher even more for embarrassing them. They choose to remain ignorant rather than simply taking advantage of an opportunity to learn.

B These people shouldn't be suprised that they are on the bottom rung of the socioeconomic ladder (and yes,I can make this assumption since they are in New Hanover County, NC). They are willfully capitalizing on their own ignorance, and the ignorance and sympathy of others, in order to draw attention to themselves. The sad part is that so many people in society - including yourself - are all too eager to suffer a fool.

Once and for all (as in "don't bother replying because you will be ignored"), this is not an issue of being sensitive towards someone, this is an issue of retreating from ignorance. Now ignorance is forgivable: Not everyone can know everything, and some people won't know anything, but everyone can learn. Refusing to learn is stupidity. Don't be niggardly with knowledge.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Are you God? (1.00 / 5) (#89)
by MessiahWWKD on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 10:29:59 PM EST

I ask that because it seems that you know the exact details and intentions of everybody involved. Anyway, they probably know the definition of the word by now, but it does sound very much like the word "nigger" nor is it used often enough to trivialize the similarities. Therefore, it becomes an issue of sensitivity.

P.S. I'm sorry, but I want the last word.


Sent from my iPad
[ Parent ]
You can't have it! [n/t] (none / 0) (#99)
by RyoCokey on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 01:23:38 AM EST



If there really is a causation between porn and rape, then I say bring on the bukkak
[
Parent ]
inappropriate assumption, RACIST comment? (3.00 / 2) (#107)
by dnuoforp on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 09:33:44 AM EST

These people shouldn't be suprised that they are on the bottom rung of the socioeconomic ladder (and yes,I can make this assumption since they are in New Hanover County, NC).

No matter what town you look at in this country, it is going to have a populace at a range of socioeconomic statuses. The assumption you make that Ms. Walker is poor is certainly inappropriate

According to the article, this same controvsery over this same word happened in the Washington DC mayor's office and resulted in an employee getting fired. I think it would be safe to assume that most people in a job that requires them to discuss funding in the mayor's office of a major metropolitan area are not close to the low end of the socioeconomic scale. So, EVEN IF Ms. Walker is poor, her socioeconomic status would be of no consequence in this case since this same controversy happened in a context where we can be reasonably sure that none of the people involved were poor.

So you have made an innapropriate assumption about her socioeconomic status which, even if true just by chance, doesn't appear to have anything to do with the kind of people who take offense to this word. Even if you disaggree and think that the assumption really is valid, the wording you have used seems to indicate that there is some racism in your thinking. You say "these" people:

These people shouldn't be suprised...They are willfully capitalizing on their own ignorance...

To whom are you referring when you say "these people"? You certainly don't include the principal, since you must realize that principals are typically paid enough to keep them in the middle or upper-middle socioeconomic class. The people in the DC mayor's office aren't "on the bottom rung of the socioeconomic ladder". So you must be referring to Ms. Walker, and....who else? But you don't know that she didn't know what the word meant when she first heard her daughter say it. I asked several people of low socioeconomic status yesterday if they knew what the word meant and some did know what it meant, and some didn't. I can't imagine anyone accusing someone else of ignorance for not knowing a word, espcially such a relatively obscure one.

So why do you think she's ignorant? It can't be for not knowing the word, since she may have already known it when she first heard it, and she certainly knows it now. Can it be because she took offense to the word? The only reason she took offense is because she's black. So you think she's ignorant because she's black? Also, the only obvious connection, that we can reasonably make, between Ms. Walker and the current DC mayor, who was also mayor during the time in question, is that they are both black. So by "these people" do you mean black people? If so, couldn't this comment be considered racist?

Even if you aren't racist and I am misunderstanding your comment, it still has a racist tone to it which would probably be offensive to some people. Isn't this exasperating? In this case, it seems like you may have made a mistake very similar to the one the teacher made. If you had given your comment more thought and not made the inappropriate assumption that Ms. Walker is poor, or stated that people who take offense to the word are ignorant (it's possible that not all black people will take offense to the word, but someone can only really take offense to the word if they are black), then you wouldn't be in danger of offending anyone. In the same way, if the teacher had given her comment more thought, she wouldn't have been in danger of offending anyone either.



[ Parent ]

What amazes me about his comments here ... (2.00 / 1) (#113)
by pyramid termite on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 06:00:06 PM EST

... is that he's basically, for starters, calling 4th graders stupid and ignorant for confusing niggardly with that other word. I didn't know they were expected to be geniuses that knew everything at that young age. But, no, they're stupid and ignorant for being children.

That's pretty intolerant ...

I'm just pandering to the lowest common denominator here.

- thelizman
[ Parent ]
I'm calling her mom ignorant, dumbass [n/t] (5.00 / 1) (#115)
by thelizman on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 06:05:38 PM EST


--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
That's not what you said (none / 0) (#128)
by pyramid termite on Sun Sep 08, 2002 at 08:31:57 AM EST

You titled your article "What is Stupidity?" and did not make a distinction between the kid's actions and the mother's. READ what you wrote. There is no distinction made, none at all.

Your desire to insult and belittle people gets the best of you again ...

I'm just pandering to the lowest common denominator here.

- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Your Ignorance Get's The Best Of You (none / 0) (#133)
by thelizman on Sun Sep 08, 2002 at 07:59:40 PM EST

And your inabilty to make logical conclusions is sequent to stupidity on your own part, but then I figured that out for you 3 months ago. How you even manage to breathe some days is a miracle of nature.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Watcht that apostrophe, (none / 0) (#134)
by medham on Sun Sep 08, 2002 at 08:26:05 PM EST

There. You don't want to make such embarrassing mistakes in the midst of a crackpot flame.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
[ Parent ]

Seeing as he's used the same insults ... (5.00 / 1) (#137)
by pyramid termite on Sun Sep 08, 2002 at 09:51:00 PM EST

... over and over again, you'd think he'd be smart enough to save himself the time and trouble of typing them out by putting them in a text file and copying and pasting from it. Or better yet, he could just give them numbers. Liberal would be a 1, moron would be a 2, ignorant would be a 3, illogical would be a 4, and moral relavist would be a 5. This way, he could have just typed 3-4 (nt) as a subject and gone on his way to insult the next person.

You'd think a man with superior intelligence like him, who is on a mission from God to show the rest of us that we are mental defectives for disagreeing with him, would have thought of this efficiency.

I'm just pandering to the lowest common denominator here.

- thelizman
[ Parent ]
The Problem Is... (1.00 / 1) (#146)
by thelizman on Mon Sep 09, 2002 at 02:29:48 PM EST

...I'm just calling a spade a spade. Why should I have to reinvent the wheel everytime you do something stupid, or say something moronic?
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Your public execution at my hands right here (5.00 / 6) (#150)
by pyramid termite on Mon Sep 09, 2002 at 06:56:47 PM EST

I'm just calling a spade a spade.

I'm sure you didn't mean to post that in a discussion of racial sensitivity, it just kind of slipped out, right?

Why should I have to reinvent the wheel everytime you do something stupid, or say something moronic?

Because you've yet to *invent* the wheel, you poor ill-mannered little man. You've yet to demonstrate a capacity for intellegent discussion, consideration of the other person's point of view, respect for opponents when debating them, or anything past the wit of a 6 year old child when insulting them, you callow, milk-toothed obnoixious mental pipsqueak who thinks the only way he can become a man is to shout loudly about how he has a uniform and stuff. You're like a kangaroo in a maze who blindly follows the walls of his own thinking to exhaustion, all the while unaware that he could simply choose to jump the walls anytime. You write things that out and out state that anyone who disagrees with you is a moron, which begs the question - if we're so stupid, why is a man of your obvious importance and intelligence debating with us? Couldn't you find someone more intelligent and rewarding to talk to? Or could it be that intelligent and rewarding people have decided that you are nothing but a cliched little troll who operates by making some interesting and provocative posts with facts and opinions, and then when disagreed with, falls on to the hope of flaming someone like a bum on a baloney sandwich, forgetting that he sold his false teeth yesterday for a bottle of postdated Ripple?

But, desperate as you are to have your arrogant self-image reinforced, you will fall on the disagreement desperately anyway and gum your opponents mightily with thoughtless and weak insults such as moron, liberal, stupid and, probably by next week, poopy-head. To sum up, you are the sorriest exercise in mental masturbation I've seen on this website and believing that such acts should be performed in the privacy of your own mind, I have decided to ignore you, much as I would ignore a cockroach in a bus station urinal as I pissed it to death.

Buh, bye, fuckhead.

I'm just pandering to the lowest common denominator here.

- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Watcht That Spelling (2.00 / 1) (#145)
by thelizman on Mon Sep 09, 2002 at 02:26:49 PM EST

Touché
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
You know that's what you say (none / 0) (#147)
by medham on Mon Sep 09, 2002 at 02:31:22 PM EST

When you're hit, right?

But don't let me get in the way of your continued crackpottery.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
[ Parent ]

Provincial Morons (5.00 / 1) (#114)
by thelizman on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 06:05:11 PM EST

I've been to New Hanover County. I grew up two counties away. I think I know better than you about the people that live there. So kindly fucking dismount from your high horse, you provincial moron.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Here's an idea: (4.00 / 2) (#116)
by darkskyes on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 06:24:38 PM EST

Rather than me (or anyone else) having to give our comments more thought, how 'bout before you (or anyone else) get their knickers in a twist(can't use that, it might offend womyn) you put some thought into what they actually said?

And by the way, nigger nigger nigger nigger! It's a fscking word, get over it. If the word itself is somehow flaming denigrating (guess you can't use that one either, huh?) why is it in the majority of rap tunes written by what you undoubtedly perceive as black people? Is it ok then?

If it is context that makes it sensitive, then maybe you should shut up about what an awful word it is and worry about something important, like the fact that someone was fired over a political correctness issue.

It was stated in another comment that most people don't take political correctness seriously. Maybe not, but some obviously do, and if I were that teacher I'd be hitting up the ACLU, the teacher's union, and darn near anyone else that would listen for legal assistance.

Maybe I am a little over the top here (can't use that; offends tall people) but I have seen first hand (can't use that, offends people with only second hands) what the public school systems can do to a very good, if not excellent teacher, ahile keeping some who weren't worth the bullet to shoot them with (can't use that, offends the gun control lobby). And, if it isn't obvious, statements made to excuse the ignorance, arrogance, and foolishness of the politically correct idiots, wherever and whoever they may be, is offensive to me. So maybe you shouldn't be able to make them?

-"Your disadvantage is that you will always, always be outnumbered, and ...your enemy will learn more about you, how to fight you, and those changes will be put into effect instantly." -Mazer Rackham
[ Parent ]

NHC (none / 0) (#136)
by medham on Sun Sep 08, 2002 at 08:33:58 PM EST

Is primarily a resort community, with one of the wealthiest and best-educated populations in North Carolina. Wilmington is the site of one of the better UNC satellite schools, and a colonial city with a (relatively) rich cultural tradition and history. It's also one of the largest film and TV-production centers in the country.

I couldn't really understand your message, but one thing you should realize is that 'niggardly' is a very uncommon word. It appears as frequently in written and spoken English as 'assertoric' or 'labile.'

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
[ Parent ]

not Wilmington. Winston-Salem. (none / 0) (#142)
by ph0rk on Mon Sep 09, 2002 at 12:09:56 PM EST

Winston-Salem is not a resort area, and is not the most wealthy nor the most educated.

.
[ f o r k . s c h i z o i d . c o m ]
[ Parent ]

Listen, dumbass (none / 0) (#144)
by medham on Mon Sep 09, 2002 at 02:16:26 PM EST

New Hanover County, as the article says, is on the Southeastern coast of NC. Wilmington is the county seat (and more or less the entire county). If this happened in Winston-Salem, it was in Forsyth County.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
[ Parent ]

But is isn't the word nigger (4.50 / 2) (#43)
by The Turd Report on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 02:26:15 PM EST

Shoud she also not use the phrase 'spic-and-span' because it uses the word spic?

[ Parent ]
Yeah, let's ban other words! (4.75 / 4) (#46)
by theboz on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 02:45:16 PM EST

A list of the following words have been deemed unacceptable due to being similar to a vulgar word or a slur.
Ship, sheet, flag, frock, flock, ask, itch, kite, The nation of Niger, the nation of Nigeria, good, ditch, the name Richard, spiggot, grass, count, can't, and caulk.
This list shall be constantly added to as we try to Protect The Children(TM) from naughtly language.

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

Dead Words Versus Live Words (none / 0) (#49)
by MessiahWWKD on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 02:57:43 PM EST

Most of those words are used daily though. Niggard is word rarely used by people. Perhaps if people used the word niggard more often, it'd be more acceptable.
Sent from my iPad
[ Parent ]
Dead words? (5.00 / 2) (#94)
by phliar on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 12:05:07 AM EST

Niggard is word rarely used by people. Perhaps if people used the word niggard more often, it'd be more acceptable.
Which people are these that you speak for?

If I may be allowed to speak for myself, it is a word I use. Not often -- it is not often that I need a word of that meaning -- but as often as I might use words like imprimatur, prevaricate, soliloquy, obdurate, anathema, or dialectic. These are words I remember using this past week. (I also used a few phrases like nolle prosequi and rem acu tetigisti but since those really are in a dead language I suppose you can dismiss me, heaping invective and opprobrium as you do so.) Why should perfectly good innocent words be used often by people for them to "be acceptable"?

In my dictionary those words aren't even marked "(arch.)".


Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
[ Parent ]

Cleaning out my closet (3.00 / 1) (#100)
by MessiahWWKD on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 01:39:39 AM EST

If I may be allowed to speak for myself, it is a word I use. Not often

That was my point.

but as often as I might use words like imprimatur, prevaricate, soliloquy, obdurate, anathema, or dialectic.

The difference is that these words don't sound like offensive words, especially ones that are popular with racists everywhere.


Sent from my iPad
[ Parent ]
Homophonic sounds a lot like homophobic... (4.00 / 5) (#117)
by darkskyes on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 06:38:31 PM EST

More to the point, that is the only relation between the offensive word (nigger, which I heard in casual speech, most of my life, almost exclusively by people you would consider to be "black") and niggard.

In my opinion, which is the only one that counts to me, there burden of showing why such a word is offensive is on you.

I am offended, or at least put off, by certain phrases that no one else, or few else would be offended by. Should those be banned? Or delayed, Or kept to a more appropriate venue, etc?

The word nigger is, like any other word, highly dependent on context as to whether it is offensive or not. Thus, to take a wholly unrelated word and label it as offensive, in the very arena that would keep it from being offensive,i.e. by educating the kiddies about it, is not only self-defeating but a symptom of the kind of unthinking idiocy that passes for intelligentsia today.

For extra credit, guess my race.

-"Your disadvantage is that you will always, always be outnumbered, and ...your enemy will learn more about you, how to fight you, and those changes will be put into effect instantly." -Mazer Rackham
[ Parent ]

Let me guess, you think The and he sound similar (1.33 / 3) (#125)
by MessiahWWKD on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 10:52:28 PM EST

Please. Homophobic and homophonic have endings that sound completely different. They might be spelled very similarly, but they sound much different.

More to the point, that is the only relation between the offensive word (nigger, which I heard in casual speech, most of my life, almost exclusively by people you would consider to be "black") and niggard.

When black people say it to each other, it's mcuh different than white people saying it. If you think that the double standard is ridiculous, then go be a jerk off and start calling women you don't know baby. After all, lovers can call each other baby, so you should be able to as well!

For extra credit, guess my race.

Besides being racist, it's obvious that you're a white person pretending to be an African American to promote your racism.


Sent from my iPad
[ Parent ]
Moron (3.00 / 2) (#132)
by darkskyes on Sun Sep 08, 2002 at 07:23:12 PM EST

Please. Homophobic and homophonic have endings that sound completely different. They might be spelled very similarly, but they sound much different.

And?

When black people say it to each other, it's mcuh different than white people saying it. If you think that the double standard is ridiculous, then go be a jerk off and start calling women you don't know baby. After all, lovers can call each other baby, so you should be able to as well!

Another bogus analogy.

The only people who still use the word nigger in any context other than this sort of discussion (in which many can't even bring themselves to say it) are profound racists who are instantly discredited by their own profundity, and a certain few demographic segments of people who consider themselves "black." If those people would stop using the word casually then it would drop from anyone's vocabulary in a matter of one or two generations. The problem is that they either like the shock value, or like to feel like oppressed underdog victims, as that gives them an excuse for any idiotic thing they do. Granted some just use the word because "it's cool" or whatever the term is these days.

Besides being racist, it's obvious that you're a white person pretending to be an African American to promote your racism.

And here is why I call moron on you. I'm neither "black" nor "white." What race people assume I am is entirely context dependent.

My being racist is a given. Everyone is, whether they admit it or not. Admitting the fact that you are on some level a racist is the only way to get past it. By denying your own racism, you make yourself even more racist.

Now, getting back to the subject at hand, it is exactly that kind of attitude that promotes the kind of cow dung that was perpetrated in the story. Grow up. Everyone gets their feelings hurt sometimes. You choose whether you are a victim or not though.

-"Your disadvantage is that you will always, always be outnumbered, and ...your enemy will learn more about you, how to fight you, and those changes will be put into effect instantly." -Mazer Rackham
[ Parent ]

You should grow up child. (1.00 / 2) (#138)
by MessiahWWKD on Sun Sep 08, 2002 at 09:55:06 PM EST

And?

You claimed that they sounded similar, which they don't. Therefore, you were lying. That makes you a liar.

The only people who still use the word nigger in any context other than this sort of discussion (in which many can't even bring themselves to say it) are profound racists who are instantly discredited by their own profundity, and a certain few demographic segments of people who consider themselves "black." If those people would stop using the word casually then it would drop from anyone's vocabulary in a matter of one or two generations. The problem is that they either like the shock value, or like to feel like oppressed underdog victims, as that gives them an excuse for any idiotic thing they do. Granted some just use the word because "it's cool" or whatever the term is these days.

People still use the word niggardly, even though it's not used casually or often. Therefore, you are lying again. You are such a liar.

And here is why I call moron on you. I'm neither "black" nor "white." What race people assume I am is entirely context dependent.

Let me guess, you're an android.

My being racist is a given. Everyone is, whether they admit it or not. Admitting the fact that you are on some level a racist is the only way to get past it. By denying your own racism, you make yourself even more racist.

Stop looking at the world in black and white. There are different degrees. While I am racist in some unintentional ways, you thrive in your racism. That's the difference.

Now, getting back to the subject at hand, it is exactly that kind of attitude that promotes the kind of cow dung that was perpetrated in the story. Grow up. Everyone gets their feelings hurt sometimes. You choose whether you are a victim or not though.

Funny, considering this is coming from one of those people who would probably go postal if someone used the word "hacker" "incorrectly."


Sent from my iPad
[ Parent ]
Going postal... (2.50 / 2) (#148)
by darkskyes on Mon Sep 09, 2002 at 04:07:05 PM EST

Or, "Moron2"

So:

Hello!!! homophobic and homophonic sound identical until the last 2 syllables. That is alike enough to cause people problems, and I have witnessed it happening. Besides, even if they didn't, it wouldn't make me a liar, it would make me wrong.

People still use the word niggardly, even though it's not used casually or often. Therefore, you are lying again. You are such a liar.

Whose side are you on anyway? This has been mine and others' point (one of them) all along! And how exactly does that make me a liar?

Let me guess, you're an android.

Hello! Again, there are lots of things besides "black" and "white." Asian? Native American? Italian? Arabic? Or am I lying about the existence of these other races?

Moron.

I'm not even going to be drawn into the less-racist-than-thou debate. Your own statements are all that need to be analyzed. Besides, I really don't give a shit whether you think I'm racist or not. I already admitted it.

Funny, considering this is coming from one of those people who would probably go postal if someone used the word "hacker" "incorrectly."

And if I did? Incorrect usage and definition are central to the debate. I say don't get offended by someone using a word correctly. If I want to get offended by someone using a word incorrectly, that is my prerogative.

So.

You have come far afield of the original subject, ignored logic, ignored common sense, ignored scientific fact, and made personal attacks on my character. All of which makes you a moron, who apparently hasn't the strength of your own convictions.

You are the weakest link. Goodbye.

-"Your disadvantage is that you will always, always be outnumbered, and ...your enemy will learn more about you, how to fight you, and those changes will be put into effect instantly." -Mazer Rackham
[ Parent ]

Are you deaf? (1.00 / 1) (#151)
by MessiahWWKD on Tue Sep 10, 2002 at 01:05:37 AM EST

Hello!!! homophobic and homophonic sound identical until the last 2 syllables. That is alike enough to cause people problems, and I have witnessed it happening. Besides, even if they didn't, it wouldn't make me a liar, it would make me wrong.

That's half of the fucking word! How could you confuse the two? Let me guess, you also confuse the words homosexual and homosapien? Or how about homophone and homophobe? Let's look at this.. homophobe = HOE MOE FOE BICK homophonic HOE MOE FON ICK. That's a HUGE Difference. Now let's look at niggard and nigger. Nigger = NIG GER Niggard = NIG GERD. See the difference between the two pairs?

Whose side are you on anyway? This has been mine and others' point (one of them) all along! And how exactly does that make me a liar?

No, your guys' point is that it's no different than saying homophonic and homphobic, which the majority of people know the difference of and can also clearly hear the difference.

Hello! Again, there are lots of things besides "black" and "white." Asian? Native American? Italian? Arabic? Or am I lying about the existence of these other races?

Funny how you refuse to admit your true race, considering that you're actually white, and you're lying.

And if I did? Incorrect usage and definition are central to the debate. I say don't get offended by someone using a word correctly. If I want to get offended by someone using a word incorrectly, that is my prerogative.

Incorrect? Excuse me, but even the dictionary defines hacker as someone who invades other people's systems. It's clear now that you don't care about correct usage of words. You simply want to say niggard without having to admit you're racist. Otherwise you wouldn't get pissed if people used the word hacker (which also can mean a malicious bastard) correctly).

Grow up.


Sent from my iPad
[ Parent ]
Mon Dieu! (3.00 / 2) (#152)
by darkskyes on Tue Sep 10, 2002 at 02:24:49 AM EST

Go away! Get a hobby!

I am, if you really want to know part Native american (mother's mother), part "black" (father's side somewhere) and the rest part French, part other things. To you that is undoubtedly "white". Rest assured it wasn't such a clear cut case in the town I grew up in! And idiots like you who think they know it all, and want to "make everything better" for all us "po' unfortunates" just take the bleedin' cake!!

Since you are bound and determined to home in on homophobic versus homophonic, let me point some more patently obvious things to your benighted brain:

Homophonic and homophobic differ by EXACTLY one letter. The words both originate from greek roots. They differ in sound by a single syllable. Nigger and niggardly differ by at least two letters, come from UTTERLY different roots, and the entire flaming point was that to PREVENT confusion it is very appropriate, if not outright necessary to teach the meaning and origins of the one to preclude confusion with the other.

So now you want to play the hacker/cracker thing? GO GET STUFFED! You are obviously either suffering from acute profound dementia, or simply puffing too long upon the crack pipe.

You are an annoying mosquito of the internet. Your sniveling, driveling posts pour pointless raving kilobytes upon the unsuspecting masses. Kindly do us all a favor, and refill your Prolixin Rx, bow your head in shame at your own torrential floods of illogic, and crawl back under your slimy rock.

In case that went over your head your colossally empty head, that means I have no further desire to engage in a battle of wits with someone not only utterly unarmed, but unpossessing of the slightest inclination towards logical self-preservation. Consider yourself ignored.

-"Your disadvantage is that you will always, always be outnumbered, and ...your enemy will learn more about you, how to fight you, and those changes will be put into effect instantly." -Mazer Rackham
[ Parent ]

What a sad fella (1.00 / 1) (#153)
by MessiahWWKD on Tue Sep 10, 2002 at 02:57:28 AM EST

I am, if you really want to know part Native american (mother's mother), part "black" (father's side somewhere) and the rest part French, part other things. To you that is undoubtedly "white". Rest assured it wasn't such a clear cut case in the town I grew up in! And idiots like you who think they know it all, and want to "make everything better" for all us "po' unfortunates" just take the bleedin' cake!!

You're no more native to America than the rest of us, unless Native Americans originated in the Americas rather than in Africa where humans originated. If that's the case, then it's clear that Native Americans aren't human. Which is it?

Homophonic and homophobic differ by EXACTLY one letter. The words both originate from greek roots. They differ in sound by a single syllable. Nigger and niggardly differ by at least two letters, come from UTTERLY different roots, and the entire flaming point was that to PREVENT confusion it is very appropriate, if not outright necessary to teach the meaning and origins of the one to preclude confusion with the other.

June and junk differ by one letter, so using your stupid ass logic, they must sound the same! And actually, if you knew how to pronounce words correctly, you'd notice that homophonic and homophobic differ by two syllables, like you said before but are now changing 'cause you're a liar. Nigger and niggard (which is the main form of niggardly) differ by only one subtle d sound at the end. And you're trying to tell me that they don't sound the same? First you claim your race always exist in the Americas and now you're claiming that two similar words don't sound similar simply because the way they're spelled? Someone needs to get hooked on phonics.

The rest of your post was very childish. Grow up.


Sent from my iPad
[ Parent ]
Last one (3.00 / 2) (#155)
by darkskyes on Tue Sep 10, 2002 at 08:10:56 AM EST

For the last time stop being an utter imbecile! It is embarrassing!

1. Native American is no less correct than "African American." I suppose you would prefer Injun? Dumbass.

2. What the flying f*** does this digression have to do with anything, other than to demonstrate what a racist moron. Besides, regardless of what you are, I AM native to America. I was born here, to parents who were born here. What else makes you native? Since you want to get technical. Dumbass. you are?

3.Let's review:

HOE MOE FOE BICK homophonic HOE MOE FON ICK.

Incorrect. Just go look it up. Dumbass. And before you point out that the next to last syllable, according to Websters' is a schwa, I know. The alternate pronunciation, which is somewhat more prevalent here, is the long o.

4. Your entire vapid line of so-called reasoning is childish. You are utterly beaten, but still continue, hoping to gain some kind of validation by attacking largely irrelevant points.

5. Calling me a liar again, huh?

Your logic is well thought out, your reasoning clear and concise. Everything you have pointed out is not only correct, but applicable.

NOW I'm a liar. Dumbass.

I refuse to continue this. You are wasting my time, and making a fool of yourself. What is your point anyway? I think you are surely just trolling now. surely you aren't really that stupid?

-"Your disadvantage is that you will always, always be outnumbered, and ...your enemy will learn more about you, how to fight you, and those changes will be put into effect instantly." -Mazer Rackham
[ Parent ]

Me Versus Ad Hominem Man (1.00 / 3) (#157)
by MessiahWWKD on Tue Sep 10, 2002 at 02:25:54 PM EST

1. Native American is no less correct than "African American." I suppose you would prefer Injun? Dumbass.

Check out the definition of native dumbass.

2. What the flying f*** does this digression have to do with anything, other than to demonstrate what a racist moron. Besides, regardless of what you are, I AM native to America. I was born here, to parents who were born here. What else makes you native? Since you want to get technical. Dumbass. you are?

That makes me a Native American as well.

Incorrect. Just go look it up. Dumbass. And before you point out that the next to last syllable, according to Websters' is a schwa, I know. The alternate pronunciation, which is somewhat more prevalent here, is the long o.

Even your incorrect pronunciation sounds nothing like homophobic. The B and the N sound COMPLETELY different. If you can't tell the difference, then you're a dumbass. It's much different than a soft d sound at the end of a word that sounds like nigger.

4. Your entire vapid line of so-called reasoning is childish. You are utterly beaten, but still continue, hoping to gain some kind of validation by attacking largely irrelevant points.

This coming from a guy who believes words sound the same because they're spelled similarly.

I refuse to continue this. You are wasting my time, and making a fool of yourself. What is your point anyway? I think you are surely just trolling now. surely you aren't really that stupid?

You just love to use ad hominems in a futile attempt to win an debate, don't you?


Sent from my iPad
[ Parent ]
Please... (3.00 / 2) (#160)
by ghostrider on Wed Sep 11, 2002 at 11:09:26 AM EST

Don't respond to this troll[in every sense] anymore!!!

It is pathetic. Have you seen that website?


When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command. Very often that individual is crazy.
[ Parent ]

Homophones (3.00 / 2) (#158)
by phliar on Tue Sep 10, 2002 at 08:26:56 PM EST

Please. Homophobic and homophonic have endings that sound completely different.
Yes; as do "nigger" and "niggard". Perhaps it's just that we have different accents, and you pronounce those words similarly; I certainly don't, and in fact not only is the final 'd' quite distinct, the vowels are also different -- the former being a "schwa" (alas, HTML does not have IPA characters) and the latter a short "ah".

What is the point? You apparently have a bee in your bonnet on this matter, since you seem to be applying different standards to things others write, compared to things that you do.


Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
[ Parent ]

Typical Racist Banter (1.00 / 1) (#159)
by MessiahWWKD on Tue Sep 10, 2002 at 09:07:48 PM EST

Yes; as do "nigger" and "niggard". Perhaps it's just that we have different accents, and you pronounce those words similarly; I certainly don't, and in fact not only is the final 'd' quite distinct, the vowels are also different -- the former being a "schwa" (alas, HTML does not have IPA characters) and the latter a short "ah".

The final d in niggard is only distinct if you make it a point to pronounce every sound in every word, which people don't. Of course, considering that you probably aren't around people often, I'll forgive you this time.


Sent from my iPad
[ Parent ]
Add these: (4.00 / 4) (#118)
by darkskyes on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 06:44:54 PM EST

Wop[v.],speak,slot,retired,chink[v.],goop.

I'm still debating on ragamuffin, which could conceivably be misconstrued as a reference to "raghead." That one may be ok, though, because it is currently ok to hate anyone muslim or of middle eastern descent.

-"Your disadvantage is that you will always, always be outnumbered, and ...your enemy will learn more about you, how to fight you, and those changes will be put into effect instantly." -Mazer Rackham
[ Parent ]

Insensitive? (5.00 / 1) (#72)
by crcerror on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 05:01:32 PM EST

They are going to hear a word that is dramatically close to a word that they aren't allowed to say, and regardless of what it means they're going to say it as much as they can because it is going to feel like they are getting away with something.

I agree that fourth graders can often be immature. I remember laughing and giggling with friends over words that sounded like curses or ones that sounded like they should have a sexual connotation but the "'N'-word", if kids are laughing and feeling empowered by getting away with saying that - we've got bigger problems in our schools and should perhaps be teaching them the history of said N-word.

I hardly think teaching the kids a perfectly valid and useful word is being insensitive. I realize the "'N'-word" is terrible and has an awful history behind it but to consider teaching any word sounding like it insensitive is absolutely absurd.



[ Parent ]
RTFnewspaperA! (3.60 / 5) (#48)
by chemista on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 02:53:03 PM EST

The parent did NOT object to the word being taught in schools, whatever either ph0rk or most of the commenters say, as long as it was at an age where students are more familiar with near-homophonic sounds. In fourth grade (and in succeeding grades as well), students who are presented with new terminology are expected and taught to try to find a word that sounds similar that they do know and then try to deduce its meaning. What's even more stupid, though, is that the teacher chose to introduce the word "niggardly" only months after the bruhaha in Washington DC over the same word. Having said that, I think trying to get the teacher fired is going overboard, but the teacher has a measure of fault in this also.
Stop reminding people about the overvalued stock market! I'm depending on that overvalued stock market to retire some day! - porkchop_d_clown
I don't recall stating that (3.50 / 2) (#55)
by ph0rk on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 03:06:59 PM EST

>> The parent did NOT object to the word being taught in schools, whatever either ph0rk or most of the commenters say,

If I did, either directly or indirectly, that was not my intention.  (how she chooses to deal with terms like this with her kids is her deal, and how she feels about when certain words should be taught is as well.)  She was also not directly quoted as saying anything to the effect of "teaching it in high school is okay", so I think an assumption in either direction is dangerous.

It became public spectacle, and in doing so, the word 'niggardly' has become partially demonized.  This is the cause for concern, IMHO, along with the school board's treatment of it.

.
[ f o r k . s c h i z o i d . c o m ]
[ Parent ]

Take a course in behavior mod. (4.00 / 3) (#68)
by pla on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 04:53:18 PM EST

In fourth grade (and in succeeding grades as well), students who are presented with new terminology are expected and taught to try to find a word that sounds similar that they do know and then try to deduce its meaning.

Humans learn new concepts *best* when those concepts exist as a subtle deviation from something they already know. The closer two ideas lie, the more CPU time our heads give to discriminating between them.

That said, yes, we also do tend to learn words by considering common roots. That does *not* mean we must believe that two similar words have similar meanings... Consider any homonyms, for example... Does the similarity of "here" and "hear" really confuse people, beyond the spelling? Yeah, a kid might use them in the wrong place, but they know which one they *want* to use, conceptually.


the teacher chose to introduce the word "niggardly" only months after the bruhaha in Washington DC over the same word.

Post hoc ergo propter hoc, a classic logical flaw. You may as well say "Since we have a tyrant in the White House, teachers must not tell students about people like Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler, or any other person who might cause them to actually think."


Knowledge has power. Depriving someone of knowledge for the sake of PCness (or for *any* reason, really) deprives them of power. At the same time, *scarcity* (though not an outright lack) of knowledge holds a form of power in itself, thus our use of obscenity in the first place.

IMO, kids should not only learn works like "niggardly", they should learn words like "nigger" as well... If a teacher carefully goes over a variety of slurs, explaining where they came from, who they offend, and why, it takes away power from those words by making them "common". No one wants to ponder a history lesson every time they mean to throw out a quick insult.


[ Parent ]
What! (none / 0) (#129)
by pyro9 on Sun Sep 08, 2002 at 04:06:50 PM EST

Hey, wait a minute! What do gay people have to do with this?

It is entirely possable that the teacher didn't give any thought to what the word sounded like. Perhaps because 'nigger' is just not a word that enters her mind.

You probably weren't expecting someone to respond wondering why you were talking about homosexuals either.


The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]
for heaven's sake (3.66 / 3) (#58)
by tps12 on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 03:41:51 PM EST

One parent wants one teacher fired. Yes, that is one single moron that you've found in America. Congratulations. I am as anti-PC as the next guy, but I'm really sick of hearing about how we're one step away from 1984. A very small and uninfluential minority takes political correctness seriously. Can the rest of us just accept that they are nutcases and get on with our lives?

In this, as in all else,—
Y'r obd't s'v't.
tps12.—
Well, but... (4.00 / 2) (#90)
by danaris on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 10:40:40 PM EST

Unfortunately, this vocal majority is not uninfluential. I have seen and heard of many, many cases where, for instance, one person finds a book offensive, and demands that it be banned in his/her child's school--and the book is banned. It would be very nice if we could just ignore the self-righteous nits (note: I can be a pretty self-righteous nit at times :-P), but they won't let us. For some reason, when people like this start yelling, people tend to just give them what they want. I personally think it's abominable, and it was probably by a few such appeasements that the whole cursed PC movement started...and now we have to live with it.

But never make the mistake of believing that it's inconsequential; I see it as the greatest threat to literacy and literarity (is that a word? "The tendency to be literary, or know and read literature"--it is now) in today's USA.

Dan Aris
We are Rangers. We walk in the dark places others fear to enter. We stand on the bridge and no one may pass. We live for the One. We die for the One!
[ Parent ]
American pronunciation (4.00 / 6) (#61)
by IHCOYC on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 03:53:50 PM EST

The largest problem with 'niggardly' is that it contains the difficult consonant string /Rdl/, which is one of those sound environments that tends to produce pressure to drop one of the sounds. And that sound is likeliest going to be the /d/.

Consider the standard American pronunciations of words like 'February' or 'governor.' Most people, even educated people who make a fuss about proper grammar and usage, will end up saying /'feb ju ,we ri:/ and /`g@v @ ,nR/ or even /`g@v nR/ in casual speech.

Given these speech habits, it seems prudent to abandon 'niggardly,' at least in live speech as opposed to writing. It can't be used casually without the risk of inadvertently giving offense; and there are plenty of synonyms for its core meanings of 'miserly' or 'ungenerous.'
--
"Complecti antecessores tuos in spelæis stygiis Tartari appara," eructavit miles primus.
"Vix dum basiavisti vicarium velocem Mortis," rediit Grignr.
--- Livy

That's a good point (none / 0) (#69)
by Humuhumunukunukuapuaa on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 04:57:00 PM EST

So the teacher should introduce the word while pointing out that one needs to be careful pronouncing it. No need for anyone to sue anyone.

Nice job with the phonetic notation BTW
--
(&()*&^#@!!&_($&)!&$(*#$(!$&_(!$*&&!$@
[ Parent ]

Yes and no (4.33 / 3) (#82)
by aphrael on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 07:08:57 PM EST

I think the R is the most likely to be dropped, as it was in both february and governor. Which results in something that sounds vaguely like 'nigahdlee' which should be perfectly fine.

[ Parent ]
this isn't the first time... (none / 0) (#77)
by tbc on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 05:43:27 PM EST

This blog has a decent history of the niggardly controversy. Just search Google for tony williams niggardly.


I'd suggest (none / 0) (#78)
by medham on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 06:42:57 PM EST

Learning something about the history of Wilmington, NC before making such outraged gestures.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.

Meaning what exactly? /nt (none / 0) (#92)
by MadDreamer on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 11:04:53 PM EST



[ Parent ]
meaning (none / 0) (#106)
by squinky on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 09:29:16 AM EST

that Wilmington is in New Hanover County NC.

And massacre.



[ Parent ]
for the record, (none / 0) (#109)
by ph0rk on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 11:49:58 AM EST

I've lived in North Carolina for a very long time, and if there is some interesting tidbit of information local to Winston-Salem that makes all of this "okay" -and- for some reason didn't make it to Raleigh-Durham, please, enlighten me.

.

[ f o r k . s c h i z o i d . c o m ]
[ Parent ]

One thing (none / 0) (#135)
by medham on Sun Sep 08, 2002 at 08:28:37 PM EST

You probably ought to know is that New Hanover County is on the Southeastern coast. Wilmington's there--some distance from Winston Salem.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
[ Parent ]

ok, well aside from that ;) (none / 0) (#143)
by ph0rk on Mon Sep 09, 2002 at 12:23:09 PM EST

More tourists, but I still don't see how that changes much.

This could have taken place in any city in the state, or 'the south' for that matter, and the location wouldn't make much difference.

.
[ f o r k . s c h i z o i d . c o m ]
[ Parent ]

Damn english teachers (4.25 / 4) (#81)
by Tatarigami on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 06:52:54 PM EST

Nothing but a bunch of stinkin' pedagogues!

:o)

Frankly, in this age of declining scholastic standards I'm impressed that the teacher in question knows a word like 'niggardly'. She's a keeper.

Hypercorrection (2.00 / 1) (#86)
by MicroGlyphics on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 07:51:06 PM EST

This has always been a problem for pedantic morons. The worse thing is that these fucks are running the place.

Yeah (4.50 / 2) (#88)
by epepke on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 10:18:32 PM EST

Besides, I'm sure the slatternly bustard encourages her children to masticate at the dinner table.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Really? (2.50 / 2) (#96)
by phliar on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 12:19:22 AM EST

Besides, I'm sure the slatternly bustard encourages her children to masticate at the dinner table.
How do they masticate, being edentate?


Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
[ Parent ]

Myself, I fancy formication. (none / 0) (#101)
by MicroGlyphics on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 02:17:17 AM EST


"Dreams are private myths; myths are public dreams." - Joseph Campbell
[ Parent ]
Ant acids are good for the stomach. (n/t) (2.00 / 1) (#112)
by epepke on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 02:28:08 PM EST


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
This talkis getting my cock... (1.33 / 3) (#127)
by Meatbomb on Sun Sep 08, 2002 at 06:41:24 AM EST

...crowing madly, he doesn't like all these odd words.

_______________

Good News for Liberal Democracy!

[ Parent ]
I prefer to use the word, "cromulent" (none / 0) (#139)
by FuriousXGeorge on Mon Sep 09, 2002 at 10:33:33 AM EST

it really embiggens a conversation.

--
-- FIELDISM NOW!
[ Parent ]

This is why I say "niggling" (3.00 / 2) (#87)
by fluffy grue on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 09:41:32 PM EST

Same meaning without the loaded phonemes.
--
"Is a sentence fragment" is a sentence fragment.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]

Not the same meaning at all. (none / 0) (#161)
by rickydazla on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 12:19:04 PM EST

Niggling is an inflected form of the word niggle, which involves giving too much attention to petty details and trivialities or indulging in petty criticism.

-------------------------------

I'm a million different people
[ Parent ]
Yes... (none / 0) (#162)
by fluffy grue on Thu Sep 12, 2002 at 02:00:42 PM EST

And niggle and niggard share the same root meaning. A niggle is that which is of interest to a niggard.
--
"Is a sentence fragment" is a sentence fragment.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

I'm niggling here... (none / 0) (#163)
by rickydazla on Fri Sep 13, 2002 at 05:07:35 AM EST

... but, am I niggardly?

Your initial comment would suggest so. In which case I'd have to ask you to put up your dukes.

-------------------------------

I'm a million different people
[ Parent ]
Other words (1.50 / 2) (#95)
by Repton on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 12:07:43 AM EST

A year or two ago, an article in the local newspaper used the word welsh as a verb (in the sense: to fail to fulfil an obligation).

A few days later, they received an angry letter from someone complaining about how the word denigrated the Welsh people ...

[to which the editor replied: it's a perfectly good word, so sucks to be you.]



English language is doing just fine (4.60 / 5) (#98)
by MoxFulder on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 12:55:53 AM EST

I agree that the treatment of the teacher in this case is completely inappropriate.

That being said, it's frivolous and alarmist to talk about the "destruction" of the English language. English acquires new words all the time. Other words fall out of disuse when they become obsolete, or they acquire undesirable connotations...

For example, "gay" is rarely used to mean "happy" anymore, because it's acquired the connotation of "homosexual". It would probably be inappropriate for a teacher to tell a class of 8-year-olds that "gay" means "happy".

Another example: the word "cunny" or "coney" used to mean "young rabbit". But people apparently thought it sounded too much like "cunt", so they changed the word to "bunny". I find that very amusing, and you can read lots more about it here [google cache].

"If good things lasted forever, would we realize how special they are?"
--Calvin and Hobbes


Jacks and Stones can break my bones. (2.25 / 4) (#104)
by parasite on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 05:20:26 AM EST


But how do you call someone niggardly without first calling them a nigger ?

It's impossible, because you say nigger before you finish the word and say niggardly.

But you know what also sucks for the darkies ? When they want to eat food they have to be
racist because when they want cracker jacks they first have to say "I want to eat a
cracker" and so you think they're Jeffery Dahmer in Black before they finish the word and
put the jacks on it.

You RULE ! (none / 0) (#105)
by Joey Shabadu on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 06:15:57 AM EST

+5 for use of the term "darkies" ! :D

[ Parent ]
I had heard (3.00 / 1) (#108)
by PullNoPunches on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 10:14:59 AM EST

that this came up in the context of a book that used the word. If so, it is very different than if the teacher just pulled the word out of her ass and thought the kids should know it.

But even if it isn't the way it happened, the fact is that there is literature out there that uses the word. So what happens when kids are taught that it is a bad word soely on the basis of an unfortunate but irrelevant sound similarity, and they come across it in a perfectly innocent book? What happens once the word is accepted as racist and all books containing it are either banned or edited?

That the school administration went along with Ms. Walker is further evidence that government schools are no place for impressionable children.

------------------------

Although generally safe, turmeric in large doses may cause gastrointestinal problems or even ulcers. -- Reader's Digest (UK)

Public or private, no difference (none / 0) (#111)
by psicE on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 01:52:25 PM EST

While I agree that government schools are bad for similar reasons, in this particular case, it actually doesn't make that much of a difference. A parent in a private school could just as easily call for a teacher to be fired for teaching "niggardly". And the teacher could be fired just as easily, if not more easily, from the private school than the public.

This is not meant to get into another education debate. This is simply to point out that the problem goes deeper than who runs the schools. The fact that some people need to be so politically correct that they ban words that even sound like racial slurs is a societal problem. Changing school funding won't help; we need to go to the root of the problem, and eradicate political correctness from the public consciousness.

[ Parent ]

heres my beef. (none / 0) (#156)
by KaizerWill on Tue Sep 10, 2002 at 01:43:43 PM EST

if some group of cat-murdering hippy nazi canadian crackheads starts using the name 'Will' as their super-cool new cat murdering family-subverting daughter-raping word/name/mantra/flag im not gonna change my name.

Sure people will say "Will, oh my god are you a babyhippiemurdering rapist?" and ill say "My name is Will. I had it first. I share nothing in common with cat-feces raping groups like those damn Canadians. And I wont change my language/name for fear of misinterperetations by morons, since, I do not require, or benifit from the company of said morons."

</rant><Amen>


You were there for that...

Destruction of the English language... Or how to ruin your child's schoolyear. | 163 comments (158 topical, 5 editorial, 1 hidden)
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