New Ethnic Term

Towse self at TOWSE.COM
Thu May 30 00:25:44 UTC 2002

Towse wrote:
> "James A. Landau" wrote:
> >
> > >From an article by Joe Klein at
> >
> > Delcourt is the mayor of Lens, and this is a report of his being interviewed by Klein through an interpreter:
> >
> > "I remind people that they have worked for years in the mines with the Moroccans," Delcourt says, not realizing that Algerians and Tunisians hate being called Moroccans. If a label is necessary, they would rather be called Arabs or beur (the latter a slang reverse play on the word Arab).
> I couldn't figure out where "beur" came from even with that
> explanation, so I went surfing and found it was French hip-hop
> slang.
> <>
> "The 'bandes' speak an argot that blends American hip hop slang,
> Arabic words (given that North Africans are France's largest
> ethnic minority) and French 'verlan' -- hipsterist word play in
> which syllables are reversed (for example, 'noires' (blacks)
> become 'renois,' and 'arabe' (Arab) becomes 'beur')."
> So, 'arabe' became 'abe-ar' became 'beur.'
> Further surfing shows the 'beur' tag attached to the bicultural
> younger set that is both Arab and French but neither Arab nor
> French.

... and further surfing shows 'beur' for Arab being common enough
in 1994 to be discussed on the LINGUIST list in a discussion of


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