End the word (was: a word from "Huck Finn")

Michael Newman michael.newman at QC.CUNY.EDU
Sat Mar 3 07:34:08 UTC 2012

The problem with a campaign to make a word taboo is not being able to say it. the difference between retarded and lame, though is that lame is hardly used in its original sense in popular usage though probably more than spastic. I was probably in my 20s before I realized that spastic referred to cerebral palsy. In any case, any efforts to police spazz?

Michael Newman
Associate Professor of Linguistics
Queens College/CUNY
michael.newman at qc.cuny.edu

On Mar 2, 2012, at 11:12 PM, Gordon, Matthew J. wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Gordon, Matthew J." <GordonMJ at MISSOURI.EDU>
> Subject:      End the word (was: a word from "Huck Finn")
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> I just got a campus announcement about a series of events under the heading "Spread the Word to End the Word." Nowhere was the word in question noted. They did mention "persons with disabilities" but I had to google the campaign name to discover that they're seeking an end to the r-word ("retard(ed)"). Since they mentioned disabilities, I thought they might be after "lame" which is also a target of language policing.
> -Matt Gordon
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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