Date: Tue, 5 Dec 1995 11:37:33 PST

From: tom creswell creswell[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]CROWN.NET

Subject: Re: lugen


It seems to me that I heard the term all through my childhood and early years

on the south side of Chicago. The large US Steel plant (now defunct) in

South Chicago attracted large numbers of the successive waves of immigration

to Chicago--First the Irish and Germans, then the central Europeans, referred

to by even themselves as Polacks (pace Ann Landers), and Hunkies.

For non-members of those groups, Hunkies was the all-embracing term, even

though it referred directly only to those of Hungarian birth. But I knew

personally Serbs and Croats who used those terms in self-reference.

I do not remember that there was a sizeable group of Lithuanian immigrants in

the mills (They seem to have settled on the southwest side--perhaps first

working in the stock yards), but the term was in use (My mental spelling of

the term, by the way, which I do not remember ever having seen in print is

the phonetically more specific "Loogan"). Like the other terms mentioned

above and the term Dago, it was probably also self-applied, just as Nigger is

among some black speakers. But, like Nigger, the terms Polack, Hunky, and

Loogan and similar terms were or could be pejorative when used by non-group


The general principle seems to be that such terms may be self-applied in

informal circumstances but can become offensive or condescending when used by

others. Whether or not they become so depends on, among other factors, the

degree of familiarity between the speaker and the person so designated and

the tone of voice and context in which uttered. .

Hope that this inconclusive report is of some use. See you, I hope, in

Chicago. .