Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 07:49:21 -0500


Subject: Re: PC Dictionaries?

Eric Pertridge's Usage and Abusage, sold well into the 1980's,has this

entry:"nigger belongs only, and then in contempt or fun, to the

dark-skinned African races and their descendants in America and the West

Indies. Its application to the native people of India is ignorant and


Burchfield describes at length (in Unlocking the English

Language,1989, p.113) his problems over citing the word jew used as a

verb, as in "to jew down" in the OED Supplement. The answer of course is

to list the word, and mark it as derogatory or offensive or whatever. On

Mon, 27 Oct 1997, Dennis Baron wrote:

Actually I did a local interview on one of the tv stations and I mentioned exactly what Jesse

said, that all the major dictionaries had the same definitions, and all had appropriate usage

warnings and labels. The furor started when an article in the Sept. issue of Emerge magazine,

which I haven't seen yet, said that the m-w collegiate defined the word as black person and gave

nothing to indicate it was a derogatory usage. This decontextualized reference to the def. then




Dennis Baron, Acting Head italic phone: /italic 217-333-2390

Department of English italic fax: /italic 217-333-4321

University of Illinois italic email: /italic debaron[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

608 S. Wright Street

Urbana, IL 61801