Duane Campbell dcamp911 at JUNO.COM
Tue Dec 11 01:56:23 UTC 2001

On Sat, 8 Dec 2001 23:22:58 -0600 Mike Salovesh
<t20mxs1 at CORN.CSO.NIU.EDU> writes:
> Some years ago, I got in terrible trouble because I said the "n-word"
> in
> what I innocently thought was an entirely appropriate way.  WARNING:
> I use
> that word in what follows

There may be earlier citations, but I had never heard the euphemism, "the
N-word," prior to the O.J. Simpson trial. I suspect that the media
coverage is what brought that into common parlance. But I think it did
more than that. I believe that Cochran's doubtless deliberate and
deliberated use of the euphemism made the actual word even more taboo
than it had been before. I found it fascinating that F. Lee Bailey used
the entire word when quoting ... what was his name, the detective? ...
but not Cochran. And I have little doubt that that was carefully

You certainly did nothing wrong by quoting a word in a graduate class on
language. I find the phenomenon more interesting sociologically than
linguistically. In a culture where we no longer use rattles and grotesque
masques to cure diseases, there are still words that cannot be spoken


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