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democrat vs. democratic
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2010/12/18
3:02pm
galileosmiles
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May I offer a point that I have yet to hear in this discussion. The only way anyone can justify the usage of Democrat Party in everyday speech is if they are also willing to convert the Republican Party to the Republic Party. But since federalism and state's rights lies so low on the political landscape that the distinction doesn't carry the same semantic message strength as it once did, no one seems to look at it from that perspective. It is not the fault of the Democratic Party that the noun used to describe their constituents is a vagary of English and lends itself to rationalize the more ideological construction. Just ask a grammarian or a pedant.

2010/12/19
12:19pm
Bob Bridges
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That would be Glenn or me, respectively :-).

2010/12/20
8:28am
Glenn
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I'm no grammarian. I can't even find Grammaria on a map. Besides, aren't they still engaged in a nasty civil war over how many official languages to have, and which ones to include?

2010/12/20
11:55pm
tunawrites
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You've never been to Grammaria? The beaches and the countryside are lovely; the architecture and arts are a bore. A fine place to visit, maybe to call "home," but I wouldn't recommend sole-citizenship.

That said, I was at first taken aback by the astoundingly concerted effort by the Republican Party to re-brand the Democratic Party the "Democrat Party." But I can hardly blame them. The word republican does not retain the same popular meaning of representation of different peoples that it once had; however, democratic still embodies the idea of the voice of the people. The "Republicans" were suffering a loss due to shifting meaning. Don't get me wrong, the "Democratic" Party cowed to this label with the same limp resistance they cow to every Republican re-labeling, but it seems like little of a loss now. After all, each party would say the name of the other as though it were some kind of pejorative, irrespective of the name.

As for what it means, well, I have no idea.

2010/12/21
1:29am
Ron Draney
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What always bugged me about "Democrat Party" was that the Republicans who insisted on using seemed utterly oblivious to the fact that it sounded pejorative. The closest thing in tone I can think of is, deliberate or not, "Jew" as an adjective.

2010/12/21
7:45am
Bob Bridges
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So you're saying "Jew" (as a noun, not an adjective) sounds pejorative to you, Ron?

2010/12/21
1:27pm
Ron Draney
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Just the opposite. Perfectly fine (unless there's some known subtext for the person using it) as a noun; vilely anti-Semitic as an adjective.

2010/12/21
6:03pm
Bob Bridges
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First, I put a smiley in front of that sentence, but it didn't take; I wasn't being serious. And second, I see you meant what you said—adjective, not noun—which I missed the first time.

Interesting. "The Jews", no problem. "A Jewish point of view", no problem. But "A Jew church…", I see what you mean. I wonder why.

2010/12/21
9:38pm
tunawrites
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While I agree that "Jew" used as a noun is not offensive (though I'm sure it could be said in derisive way by some who intend offense by it), I have heard people who are offended by it. I suppose that depends on whether the speaker is one of the tribe, though, because my wife and many of my friends use it without meaning any offense (to themselves). Even so, unwieldy as "Jewish people" instead of "Jews" as a noun might be, I generally say that way; I would just rather say it the former way anyway, lest I, as one of the goyim, offend a family member.

2010/12/22
7:03am
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Growing up in the rural Ozarks, I only new "Jew" as a verb, meaning "to negotiate" or "to dicker" often with the word "down". It would be used like this, "He asked $100 for the chainsaw, but I jewed him down to $50."

It does not seem in such widespread usage now. I myself use "worked", as in, "My buddy offered to sell me a John Deere garden tractor for salvage after it burned and he received the insurance settlement; I offered him $100, but he worked me down to $60." In that case, he did not have to work too hard. :-)

Emmett

2010/12/22
3:48pm
Bob Bridges
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Same with "gypped", and I'm sure it's for the the same reason that it's fallen out of use.

I'm still considering whether to eradicate those two usages from my vocabulary. I don't mean any racial epithet by it, and it isn't clear to me that it has to be defamatory ("I jewed him down" is a brag, not a confession), but I'm thinking about it nonetheless.

2010/12/24
10:51am
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Man, I haven't heard anyone say "gypped" in years. I too suspect it's fallen out of use. Seems like a lot of those pejorative terms kinda died out in the 60s, when (at least American) society became more sensitive to matters of race and ethnicity. I rarely hear "jewed," but it seems to still be in use in some circles.

I think some of this stuff is baggage from WW2. When was the last time you heard the term "Jap" or "Kraut" or ? (I forget what they called the Italians under Mussolini). During a war, it seems we need to have those pejorative terms for anyone who is considered the enemy. In Nam, it was the "slants." What does this say about the human condition, that we so easily fall into that linguistic trap?

2010/12/25
7:48am
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I wondered at the caller's seeming oblivious to the fact that if the Democratic Party (whose official name he seems to be unaware of, which seems unlikely) can be accused of coopting for itself the notion of "democracy", the same could be said of the GOP coopting the fact that the USA is a republic…

And we all remember those GOP ads where "rat" appears semi-subliminally when the word "Democrat" appears on the screen.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/americas/2000/us_elections/election_news/923335.stm

2010/12/30
9:15am
New River, AZ, USA
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Marc: Seems similar to how the anti-abortionist crowd co-opted the "Pro-Life" label, forcing the implication that their opponents were "Pro-Death" even though they opted for "Pro-Choice." I never caught that subliminal ad you refer to, but found it not surprising. Thanks for the link.

Going back to my previous post, I found several online slang collections and answered my own question. The pejorative term for Italians was "wops" which derives from the immigration process and is an abbreviation of "without papers." Seems many Italian immigrants arrived without proper documentation (for whatever reason). What surprised me was the claim, seen in two online locations, that Italians did not find the term offensive. I'm not sure if I buy that claim, as I know from my childhood in the 50s that many "native" Americans did indeed use it in a pejorative sense.

2012/03/08
11:04am
Bob Bridges
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Could be simply a delay factor, Heimhenge.  If "WOP" originally meant "without papers", then it starts out as simply descriptive, like "immigrant" today.  Then if a lot of Merkins start using "wop" with contempt in their voice, eventually those who hear it will start to mistake the word itself as contemptuous—but it'll take a while for those who grew up thinking of it as simple description to change their minds or die off.  When I learned the word, it was already firmly established as contemptuous, so that's how it sounds to me; but it pleases me to learn that it didn't start out that way.

We see this sort of thing happening today too.  Long before I was born, "nigger" was just a corruption of "nigra", the southern pronunciation of "negro", but you'll find few people now who are willing to believe it.  Some people started using "colored" to get around the problem, but once that took hold then those who held contempt for colored people said it with contempt (of course), so nowadays you're not allowed to use that word either.  In the '60s black became beautiful, but, predictably, pretty soon they backed off that word too.  For a while they tried "African-American", which is still around.  I've heard recently that "negro" itself, forsooth, is held offensive by some.  But the one certainty is that whatever word becomes current, it will be spoken with contempt by those who have contempt, and pretty soon that word too will become useless, if we allow it.

2012/03/17
2:35pm
WellSpokedFelloe
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galileosmiles said:

"The only way anyone can justify the usage of Democrat Party in everyday speech is if they are also willing to convert the Republican Party to the Republic Party."

 

If I am a Republican, my party is the party of Republicans, the Republican Party.  If I am a Democrat, my party is one of Democrats, so why not the Democrat Party?  One party is no more democratic than the other.  If we were to apply your coversion rule to Libertarians, we'd have to call them the Libertary Party, right?

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