Date: Thu, 25 Aug 1994 08:55:11 CDT


Subject: Re: What is a Racist Term?

Racial labels/epithets are probably one of the best examples around of

how essential pragmatic information is to the proper interpretation of

any utterance. What is interesting to me is to compare racial terminologies

in Cajun French to the English system, the latter having undergone shift

due to public pressure which Cajun French was able to `hide' from. Thus

most Cajuns refer to African-Americans as _les neg'_ (les negres), which

can be pejorative or neutral depending on context. However, what is really

surprising is that in many Cajun ballads, the term _mon neg'_ is a term

of endearment referring to a white Cajun. No doubt this has its origin in

the close ties between Cajun and Creole musical roots.

Mike Picone

University of Alabama