in-group language

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Mar 5 14:24:02 UTC 2013

On Mar 4, 2013, at 9:43 PM, Joel S. Berson wrote:

> A correspondent asks:
>> I have a question from a friend, and I can't remember the term, but
>> I seem to recall that it comes up with humor/insults. I wonder if
>> you might know:
>>> Dear Linguist peeps, I need your help. I am searching my brain for
>>> a technical term for the sociolinguistic phenomenon that causes
>>> members of the same group (be it racial, ethnic, gender-based or
>>> another speech community) to use certain terms without causing
>>> offense whereas the same term used by an outsider to the group
>>> would potentially be negatively received. Do you'll know what I am
>>> talking about?
> Since my correspondent's correspondent was looking for Linguist
> peeps, I've passed the question on here.
Sorry, the phenomenon mentioned has been much described, but I don't know a label for it.  A sociolinguistics e-mail group would be a better place to check.  (It's related to reclamation/reappropriation, but obviously distinct from it.)


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