[Ads-l] Speaking of politically inspired lexicographic shifts

Geoffrey Nathan geoffnathan at WAYNE.EDU
Wed Mar 8 10:43:06 EST 2017


I don't want to start a flame war, but I do feel the need to point out that this trope was not invented by Ben Carson (who I am not defending--he seems like a guy floundering way out of his depth) and thus is not a candidate for 'euphemism of the year.' Here is a similar comment from 2015:


"So life in America was not always easy. It wasn't always easy for new immigrants. Certainly, it wasn't easy for those of African heritage who had not come here voluntarily and yet in their own way were immigrants themselves. There was discrimination and hardship and poverty. But, like you, they no doubt found inspiration in all those who had come before them. And they were able to muster faith that, here in America, they might build a better life and give their children something more."


I'll leave it to the readers to find out who said this, and where.


Geoffrey S. Nathan
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________________________________
From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
Sent: Wednesday, March 8, 2017 10:34 AM
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
Subject: Speaking of politically inspired lexicographic shifts

---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
Subject:      Speaking of politically inspired lexicographic shifts
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> On Mar 8, 2017, at 9:25 AM, Arnold M. Zwicky <zwicky at STANFORD.EDU> =
wrote:
>=20
> with a bow to this mailing list, on my blog:
>=20
> https://arnoldzwicky.org/2017/03/08/depriving-healthcare-for-millions/
[https://secure.gravatar.com/blavatar/56f95f4ee451e44bc4110722ad3f9eac?s=200&ts=1488987497]<https://arnoldzwicky.org/2017/03/08/depriving-healthcare-for-millions/>

“depriving healthcare for millions”<https://arnoldzwicky.org/2017/03/08/depriving-healthcare-for-millions/>
arnoldzwicky.org
Noted by Wilson Gray on ADS-L on Monday, from his reading on Facebook. Wilson commented: Remember the days of yore when people wrote: “depriving  millions of health-care”? The implicit …


>=20
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
American Dialect Society<http://www.americandialect.org/>
www.americandialect.org
The American Dialect Society, founded in 1889, is dedicated to the study of the English language in North America, and of other languages, or dialects of other ...



Well, OK, it=E2=80=99s not just the healthcare debate that=E2=80=99s =
responsible for introducing argument structure variation in =
=E2=80=9Cdeprive=E2=80=9D.  But I wanted to segue to the =
slaves-as-immigrants flap occasioned by Ben Carson=E2=80=99s reference =
in his recent remarks characterizing slaves as immigrants who worked =
particularly hard for particularly low wages. Given the opportunity to =
=E2=80=9Cwalk back=E2=80=9D his remarks a day or two later, he supported =
his reference with lexicographic evidence, noting that ( "An immigrant =
is: 'a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country=E2=80=99=E2=
=80=9D. Sure enough, Carson=E2=80=99s definition (apparently from Oxford =
Dictionaries: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/immigrant) is =
echoed by the AHD=E2=80=99s entry: "A person who leaves one country to =
settle permanently in another.=E2=80=9D =20

Does this extend to enslaved persons and others forced to live or =
=E2=80=9Csettle=E2=80=9D in another country? Were Jews and gypsies =
loaded into cattle cars in the 1930s and =E2=80=9840s and transported to =
death camps in Germany immigrants too?  Technically, they did leave =
France or Holland or wherever and =E2=80=9Csettled" permanently=E2=80=94if=
 you can excuse the adverb=E2=80=94in another country, but did they =
leave one country to settle in another? Whether that includes slaves or =
deportees may depends on what we take the meaning of =E2=80=9Cto=E2=80=9D =
to be in =E2=80=9Cto settle..." (purposive/intentional?  resultative?).=20=


The OED passes the buck to the verb (=E2=80=98one who or that =
immigrates=E2=80=99), which in turn is defined as 'To come to settle in =
a country (which is not one's own); to pass into a new habitat or place =
of residence (lit. and fig.)=E2=80=99, with the sense of =E2=80=9Cto=E2=80=
=9D again being crucial.  It=E2=80=99s not clear to me whether any or =
all of these definitions would at least by implication rule out =
Secretary Carson=E2=80=99s expansive reading that extends to what he =
calls =E2=80=9Cinvoluntary immigrants=E2=80=9D (see e.g. =
http://thehill.com/homenews/322645-carson-doubles-down-slaves-were-involun=
[http://thehill.com/sites/default/files/thehill_logo_200.jpg]<http://thehill.com/homenews/322645-carson-doubles-down-slaves-were-involun=>

TheHill<http://thehill.com/homenews/322645-carson-doubles-down-slaves-were-involun=>
thehill.com
The Hill is a top US political website, read by the White House and more lawmakers than any other site -- vital for policy, politics and election campaigns.


tary-immigrants)

Any thoughts?  (Steve Kleinedler at the AHD suggests the possibility of =
an added Usage Note in subsequent editions, if it=E2=80=99s determined =
that such a note is necessary.)

At the very least, in =E2=80=9Cinvoluntary immigrant=E2=80=9D we have an =
early candidate for euphemism of the year. =20

LH


=20=

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American Dialect Society<http://www.americandialect.org/>
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The American Dialect Society, founded in 1889, is dedicated to the study of the English language in North America, and of other languages, or dialects of other ...



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