[Ads-l] Query concerning the removal of "French" from "French horn" (2nd try)

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jun 24 07:26:32 UTC 2015

On Tue, Jun 23, 2015 at 11:47 PM, Chris Waigl <chris at lascribe.net> wrote:

> the vernacular gets changed under the pressure of a campaign to make
> certain words rarer, reduce their frequency, and not only words that are
> very informal or used as slurs. I''m pretty sure that handicapped
> or gypsy or wheelchair-bound or colored (as in a non-white person) are
used today in AmE much more rarely than 10 or 20 years ago

That may be the case among the literati and in/on the media, but I doubt
that such is the case among the proletariat, who use the language without a
care as to whether some pointy-headed professor likes the way that they do
it. Am I the only one familiar with such reality TV as "My Big, Fat, Gypsy
Wedding" - the TV gypsies use both "Roma[ny]" and "gypsy," when referring
to themselves - et sim.?

My own, personal experience is that, among ordinary, non-black Americans,
of whatever non-sub-Saharan African ancestry - "Mexicans"/Chicanos,
"Asia-atics," "Hindus," "Arabians," Jews, Irish, English, "Scotch," and the
variations, permutations, and combinations by which they choose to
designate themselves - "colored" is the word used to designate
*specifically* their fellow, ordinary *Americans* of sub-Saharan African
ancestry, even when speaking directly *to* a "colored guy" *about* "colored
people." Otherwise, they use "African," "West Indian," "Jamaican,"
"Trinidadian," "Puerto-Rican," "Panamanian," "Haitian," or whatever else
fits. And, of course, there's always "nigger."

Was there *ever* a time when "colored" was used by ordinary, everyday
Americans to mean "non-white person in general" and not to mean
specifically "the American Negro"?

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

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

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