Bad words

Joanne M. Despres jdespres at MERRIAM-WEBSTER.COM
Mon Jul 8 19:38:08 UTC 2002

While the inaccuracies in Duane Campbell's editorial might be
serious to a college linguistics student, he does, of course, make a
valid point about the prestige value of one family of English words
vis-a-vis another (whether you identify those families as "French"
or, more broadly, "Latin and Latin-derived," "German" or
"Germanic").  Actually, I'd probably describe the inaccuracies as
oversimplifications, which I assume were deliberate and intended to
make his explanation intelligible to very unsophisticated readers
who might not have the patience to wade through unfamiliar
terminology.  This is the way most adults talk to kids, which was
probably why he sent it, right?


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