Date: Wed, 26 Oct 1994 01:25:24 -0500 From: Charles F Juengling Subject: Re: offending idioms Does anyone know when the word 'nigger' became derogatory in meaning in the US? Kluge reports that the term has been in America since the end of the 18th century. There are (at least) two words in German for 'Black person'-- 'Schwarze', which is an adjectival noun formed from the German word meaning 'black'; and 'Neger'. What's interesting is that 'Neger' carries with it absolutely no negative connotations whatsoever. (Many of my students don't believe this and refuse to say the word). The word 'Neger' has been German since at least the beginning of the 17th century and came from French. Given the Spanish meaning and that the German has no negative connotation, it seems that the derogatory meaning developed in ?American? English, and rather late at that. Can anyone shed any light on this? Fritz Juengling