[Ads-l] "hafu"

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Sat May 30 19:29:42 UTC 2015

This is an interesting development.

Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H%C4%81fu) has an entry that 
includes the plural -s form and the source Japanese with the long "a" 
pronunciation. One of the citations takes "haafu" back to 1995:

American Mixed Race: The Culture of Microdiversity
By Naomi Zack

even though like myself, the _haafu_ were cultural insiders

Both the Oxford Dictionary site and Wiktionary also have the 
near-equivalent "hapa," which comes from English through HCE. Wikipedia 
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hapa) says it has a dual meaning, one 
being of mixed ethnic heritage, the other of part Asian or Pacific 
Islander heritage.

Benjamin Barrett
Formerly of Seattle, WA

Learn Ainu! https://sites.google.com/site/aynuitak1/home

> George Thompson <mailto:george.thompson at NYU.EDU>
> May 30, 2015 at 10:24 AM
> An article in today's NY Times (May 30, 2015, "A" section, p. 4),
> headlined *"Biracial
> Beauty Queen Challenges Japan=E2=80=99s Self-Image"*, about a Japanese 
> beau=
> ty queen
> whose father is a black American, uses the Japanese word "hafu", which
> describes such mixed-race Japanese.
> "Ms. Miyamoto is one of only a tiny handful of =E2=80=9Chafu,=E2=80=9D 
> or J=
> apanese of mixed
> race, to win a major beauty pageant in proudly homogeneous *Japan*
> <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/j=
> apan/index.html?inline=3Dnyt-geo>.
> And she is the first half-black woman ever to do so.
> ***
> These hafu =E2=80=94 a term that comes from the English word 
> =E2=80=9Chalf=
> =E2=80=9D =E2=80=94 have gained
> increasing social prominence, especially in sports and on television."
> In this story, the term is carefully defined and explained, but her
> appearance in an upcoming world beauty pageant may well lead to its being
> assimilated into current English. And in any event, it had appeared in the
> Times about 8 years ago without definition, although he context made the
> meaning clear.
> "At seventeen, Virginia Sachiko Kindwall wore pearls around her neck and
> diamonds in her ears, combat boots, and mostly black clothing. She was a
> *hafu*, a dark-haired Faye Dunaway from a punk-rock remake of *Bonnie and
> Clyde." *
> >From "Exit A", by Anthony Swofford, published January 14, 2007, in what
> seems to have been a regular feature at the time of excerpts from new
> novels: FIRST CHAPTER.
> Not in the OED.
> --=20
> George A. Thompson
> The Guy Who Still Looks Stuff Up in Books.
> Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
> Univ. Pr., 1998..

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

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