Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU
Wed Jan 10 19:18:19 UTC 2001

At 01:13 PM 1/10/01 -0500, you wrote:
>Duane Campbell <dcamp911 at JUNO.COM> writes:
> >>>>>
>On Tue, 9 Jan 2001 21:19:25 EST RonButters at AOL.COM writes:
> > Yes, INJUN has indeed a long history as a slur. I'd say that INJUN :
> > INDIAN =
>Might it be more like Nigra:Negro, i.e., a non-pejorative (given the
>contingencies of time and place) dialect difference?
>For that matter, I once stayed for a week with the family of a white man
>for whom "nigger" was simply the word for a {Black | African-American | ...
>} person, and he used it without pejoration or insult. "Negro" wasn't in
>his vocabulary. This was in the summer of 1966, in rural Kentucky near
>Corbin. There was certainly a lot of racism in that region, but as far as I
>could tell there was none in him.
>-- Mark

"Injun" originated as a palatalization of "Indian," as in Brit Eng
"immedjate."  Of course, there's no excuse for continuing this
pronunciation into Am Eng, at least today.  Interestingly, Lakota Sioux
(and other tribes as well, I'm told) pronounce the word "Ind'an" [IndEn],
reducing the medial vowel instead of palatalizing it.  Other phonological
processes were historically at work in the change of "negro" to
"negra/negger/nigger", I assume; but again, the use of "nigger" today would
seem, like "Injun," inexcusable, at least once the speaker has been so told.

Beverly Olson Flanigan         Department of Linguistics
Ohio University                     Athens, OH  45701
Ph.: (740) 593-4568              Fax: (740) 593-2967

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