Seán Fitzpatrick grendel.jjf at VERIZON.NET
Wed May 2 20:26:07 UTC 2007

Since 2000, we have lived in Upper Darby, PA, where the school system has to
be on its toes to catch kids slipping in from Philadelphia.  Before that we
lived in upstate NY.  At least since our moving here, my kids (now 21, 18,
and 16) have used "ghetto" to designate rude, ungracious, or uncultivated
behavior.  It can also designate hip-hop or other déclassé style sense in
clothing, speech, etc.  Being ghetto is a matter of behavior, not race, but
the "ghetto" in question is definitely black, urban slum.

I haven't heard "nigger-rig"  for a shoddy, ad hoc effort (maybe I don't get
out enough), but it reminds me of another ethnic work standard:  "Chinese
copy".  After WWII, the US began rocketry experiments at White Sands with
captured German V-2s.  When the supply of captured rockets ran out,
down-to-the-last-rivet exact copies were manufactured.  Nowadays we might
say "reverse-engineered".  Back in the '70s I would have said "carbon-copy",
but my department head at the National Air & Space Museum  called them
"Chinese copies".  I can't say I've heard it since, and I have assumed it
was a generational thing (he was of the WWII generation), but Google finds
lots of current hits.

Seán Fitzpatrick
It’s a Gnostic thing. You wouldn't understand.
Just kind of a social question, but when would we consider it kosher for
someone to use this adjective, i.e. at what socio-economic level? Do you
have to make a certain amount or do you have to have grown up in a ghetto?
Can it be a rural ghetto (i.e. trailer park) or does it have to be an urban
I actually use it and I'm a dirty white boy from rural middle class. Though
since entering school I've been a resident of the lower class.

Scot LaFaive

>From: Sarah Lang <slang at UCHICAGO.EDU>
>Reply-To: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Subject: Re: Ghetto/nigger-rig
>Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2007 23:36:58 -0500
>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       Sarah Lang <slang at UCHICAGO.EDU>
>Subject:      Re: Ghetto/nigger-rig
>Annoying when you actually live in the "ghetto" and have to clarify.
>Or, frankly, when it comes out of the mouth of your students who(se
>parents) are paying $50K for them to go to school.
>Anyone familiar with "nigger-rig"? As in hacking something together
>to make it sort of, kinda, just barely work?
>On Apr 30, 2007, at 10:10 PM, Doug Harris wrote:
> > ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> > -----------------------
> > Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> > Poster:       Doug Harris <cats22 at FRONTIERNET.NET>
> > Subject:      Re: Ghetto
> > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> > ---------
> >
> > While that usage may not yet be documented in the likes of HDAS or
> > OED,
> > it most _definitely_ has been 'standard' for ~at least~ 6-8 years
> > among
> > teens and 20-somethings in NY if not elsewhere.
> > (the other) doug
> >
> > =============
> > I've looked in HDAS and the OED, and I didn't find "ghetto" listed
> > as an
> > adjective, as in "Buy a replacement on ebay for $20, don't replace
> > it with a
> > plain mirror, that's ghetto."
> > (
> > 905ec155d0ee9
> > 43f)
> > It seems fairly common slang nowdays.
> >
> > Scot LaFaive
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society -
>Graduate Student, PhD Program
>Department of English
>Northwestern University
>University Hall 215
>1897 Sheridan Rd.
>Evanston, IL 60208-2240
>The American Dialect Society -

Mortgage rates near historic lows. Refinance $200,000 loan for as low as

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list