"broken English"

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Sun Sep 20 21:39:19 UTC 2009

In all probability, I doubt they were trying to extend the meaning of
term. I don't really want to accuse them of subtle racism, but it's
certainly what it sounds like.

When I was a grad student at a math dept. at XXX, we had an incident
where one student walked into the first class a couple of minutes late,
took one look at the TA, yelled :"FUCK!!", slammed the door and left.
Before the lecture was even over he was already at the department office
complaining that his TA spoke broken English and he could not understand
her and he wanted another class. The TA was Hawaiian and a native
English speaker. Of course, he never actually heard her speak. There are
similar episodes involving Moroccans and Turks in Germany in a couple of
Fassbinder films (Ali, Fear Eats the Soul is one that jumps right out).


Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>  Now it means "English spoken with a strong foreign accent." Before playing
> the tape of a California  employee of ACORN defending himself
> against alleged wrongdoing, FOX News warned that he would be "speaking in
> broken English,"
> He did have a very strong Spanish accent, but his command of English syntax
> and vocabulary seemed absolutely average to me.
> JL

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

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