"Negro with two g's"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sun Mar 10 05:43:26 UTC 2013

Does "metonymy" fit in here anywhere?  I ask because I live in
Menotomy.  (No, not in Monotony.)


At 3/9/2013 09:29 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>On Mar 9, 2013, at 2:13 PM, Geoffrey Nunberg wrote:
> >
> >
> > *PS It doesn't seem quite right to describe phrases like "the
> N-word" as euphemisms, though that usage seems to be pervasive
> (see, e.g., the Wikipedia entry for "nigger"). To say that "A" is a
> euphemism for "B" is to say that A denotes politely what B denotes
> rudely, but in this case the words are not co-extensive: "A"
> denotes "B" not B's.  Is there a name for this type of expression?
> >
>Well, increasingly it does seem to be used to denote B's, maybe
>because of the inevitable confusion of use and mention, maybe
>because of exigency/taboo avoidance:  "X called Y an/the N-word"
>seems to function exactly like any other god-fearing euphemism,
>although to be sure in other contexts "the N-word" is used to refer
>to the word, not its referent.  I guess the real shift from
>whatever-we-call-it to a true euphemism would be when X can actually
>hurl "You N-word" at Y as an epithet.  I wouldn't be surprised to
>learn that this transition has already been made.
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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