Defusing derogatory language

Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM
Mon Nov 15 20:19:28 UTC 1999

This appeared in LINGUIST List #10-1728.
I think many readers of this list will find it interesting and have things to
Please reply to the poster, NOT to me.

Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 16:33:23 -0500 (Eastern Standard Time)
From: Cote, Sharon A <cotesa at>
Subject: Defusing derogatory language

I have a student who is looking for research on the use of
epithets among members of a minority group originally
targeted by these terms.  In particular, he is interested
in studies of the extent to which the power of an epithet
can be defused when the target group "claims" the word for

Can anyone suggest some good references on this subject?

Thanks in advance,

Sharon Cote

Sharon A. Cote
Assistant Professor of Linguistics
English Department, James Madison University
Keezell 221, x2510
cotesa at

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