Date: Fri, 10 Nov 1995 16:03:36 -0500 From: "Dennis R. Preston" Subject: Re: Political Blunder The definition of the racist idiom 'nigger rich' has already been explained, but I am a little surprised that so many list participants don't understand that 'near rich' could have been so misheard. I assure you that lenition is alive ansd well. In ordinary spoken English, when a C hangs out between two Vs, it is in danger of losing its C-status. Just look what happnes to 'butter' as it goes from the British, aspirated 't' form to an almost completely lenited form in rapid spoken varieties of AmerEng, leaving, in my speech, for example, something that sounds like 'buhr.' Assume lenition on the 'g' of the racist term, and the mishearing is clear. Dennis (the lenitor, or is it leniter?) Preston > >Watching the local news last week here in Central Kentucky I heard >Senator Wendell Ford jump all over a caller. Senator Ford was hosting a >talk radio show and was answering callers had regarding politics and >where Senator Ford stood. A caller was complaining about the a tax >proposal that the Senator was endorsing. The caller said, "I ain't near >rich as you." The Senator angrily replied, "I ain't nigger rich >either." This of course was the political blunder of the week here in >Kentucky. Senator Ford later apologized to 04 that he may have >offended, which in this state isn't many. He said he was only >reprimanding the caller for what he thought was said. Being from >Detroit and then moving to Kentucky I have heard numerous racial slurs >but this one is one I never heard. Is there such a slur? What does it >mean? The only guess I have is one that once owned numerous slaves was >"nigger rich." I imagine it wouldn't be hard to trace Senator Ford's roots.