"ese" suffix insulting/racist?

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OHIO.EDU
Sun Apr 6 16:38:56 UTC 2003

Legalese, medicalese, teacherese, motherese ....

At 09:19 AM 4/6/2003 -0500, you wrote:
>    The suffix -ese is neither racist nor insulting. But it *has*
>become productive in English to indicate with mild humor something
>that is incomprehensible, based on its presence in "Chinese,"
>"Japanese."  There are many examples, but the only one that comes to
>mind now is "Stengelese." Casey Stengel was manager of the New York
>Yankees during much (all?) of the 1950's.
>During his press conferences he often talked in a way that had
>reporters scratching their heads in confusion, and they referred to
>his manner of speaking as "Stengelese." At one point the Yankees
>fired Stengel for allegedly being too old to continue at the helm,
>despite his remarkably successful record, and at his next press
>conference Stengel spoke with complete clarity about the unfairness
>of the action. Many of the reporters were surprised that he could
>talk clearly after all.
>Gerald Cohen
>>At 6:42 PM -0500 4/5/03, Billionbridges.com wrote:
>>In a rather hysterical article written in Chinese I came across
>>recently a Taiwanese person rants that the epithets in English
>>denoting nationality which use the "ese" suffix are insulting
>>and racist (where those which do not, such as "American" or
>>"German" etc., are not). The author claims that "ese" was
>>traditionally used by the English in adjectives describing unimportant,
>>weak, strange or sickly things or people(s). He further relates
>>personal anecdotes in which the term "Chinese" has been used
>>by Americans in scorn. In his estimation "Chinese" is as insulting
>>to, erm, Chinese as "nigger" is to African-Americans.
>>Hypersensitive and misguided? Clearly. An ignorant crackpot? Well,
>>the author has decided that in future when English-speakers ask
>>where he's from he will answer the "Central Kingdom of Sinai." He
>>is a Sinaian, he says.
>>Nevertheless, leaving Egypt and the politics of the Taiwan Strait aside,
>>I wonder where this author's conception that the "ese" suffix is insulting
>>came from? Or is this completely baseless and/or irredeemably idiolectic?
>>The link, for the Chinese-enabled:

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