Nigga, PLEASE!

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Nigga, PLEASE!

Postby Jauss » Fri Jun 13, 2008 12:06 pm UTC

Split from the "sluts" thread in LSR, which I should have done ages ago.

Alexiel wrote:I've always had a problem with the concept of "black people can say nigger and white people can't".


The shit is complicated, yo.

The same words, yes, but it feels different. It's like the difference between a friend of yours coming up and saying "What's up, stupid face?" and some random dude doing it.

(Also, as silly as it may seem, there is generally a difference between "nigga" and "nigger". Lots of black people say "What up, nigga?" or whatever, but not nigger, which is still usually meant to offend among black as well as between races. "Nigga" is more of an all-purpose term.Then again, there are many black people who hate the word in all it's forms (usually boomers or older, but younger people too) who don't use it all except to quote things that were said.

Sometimes latinos are in the "in group" allowed to use it. Some black people are also okay with their white friends saying "nigga" because they roll like that, but others aren't. In either case, you don't say it to someone you don't know. Blah blah blah.)

But really, what's the big deal about being able to say it? It's not some kind of awesome prize or anything. People can argue all they want about "equality" or "logic", but at the end of day thems the breaks. The emotions surrounding the word run deep. If you can't understand that I really don't know what else to say.
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Re: YOUS is sluts!

Postby Philwelch » Fri Jun 13, 2008 3:07 pm UTC

"Nigga" is just a dialectic pronunciation of "nigger". I can't believe these people who try and act like it's a different word.
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Re: YOUS is sluts!

Postby Belial » Fri Jun 13, 2008 3:20 pm UTC

If it's used differently, and it's pronounced differently, and it's spelled differently, it's functionally a different word, captain prescriptive-language.
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Re: YOUS is sluts!

Postby Philwelch » Fri Jun 13, 2008 3:29 pm UTC

It's not pronounced differently: as I said, it's a dialectic pronunciation of "nigger". By and large, I don't think there's anyone who uses "nigger" and "nigga" as distinct words: it's more a difference between different people using the same word with different connotations.

By this standard, any word that's pronounced differently in different dialects is a different word, especially if someone tries spelling it phonetically to match the dialect.

The functional difference isn't even between "nigga" and "nigger". A black person who pronounces it "nigger" isn't going to get any flack; a white person who pronounces it "nigga" is. The difference rests upon the race of the person saying the word, not the pronunciation.

And the next person who calls me a prescriptivist gets a punch to the throat.
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Re: YOUS is sluts!

Postby Alexiel » Fri Jun 13, 2008 3:47 pm UTC

Jauss wrote:
Alexiel wrote:I've always had a problem with the concept of "black people can say nigger and white people can't".


The shit is complicated, yo.

The same words, yes, but it feels different. It's like the difference between a friend of yours coming up and saying "What's up, stupid face?" and some random dude doing it.

(Also, as silly as it may seem, there is generally a difference between "nigga" and "nigger". Lots of black people say "What up, nigga?" or whatever, but not nigger, which is still usually meant to offend among black as well as between races. "Nigga" is more of an all-purpose term.Then again, there are many black people who hate the word in all it's forms (usually boomers or older, but younger people too) who don't use it all except to quote things that were said.

Sometimes latinos are in the "in group" allowed to use it. Some black people are also okay with their white friends saying "nigga" because they roll like that, but others aren't. In either case, you don't say it to someone you don't know. Blah blah blah.)

But really, what's the big deal about being able to say it? It's not some kind of awesome prize or anything. People can argue all they want about "equality" or "logic", but at the end of day thems the breaks. The emotions surrounding the word run deep. If you can't understand that I really don't know what else to say.

Oh, I don't care that I "can't" say the word, it just bothers me that as a culture it was decided that 'the group' is allowed to use nigga/nigger in any way they want, and it's extremely offensive (generally) for anyone else to do so. Now, this is not the greatest of the things that bothers me, but this was apropos.
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Re: YOUS is sluts!

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Jun 13, 2008 3:56 pm UTC

Philwelch wrote:A black person who pronounces it "nigger" isn't going to get any flack

What the shit, dude? You were just told a couple posts up that this pronunciation/spelling/meaning *would* offend within race as well as between races. Do you actually have evidence to the contrary, or are you just arguing for the fuck of it?

And like Belial said, it's not just pronunciation. It's spelling, and usage. And if someone personally uses a difference between the two variants, like Jauss just told you some people did, they are two words. I mean, hell, we've got word pairs that are spelled the same and pronounced the same and *still* are different words.
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Re: YOUS is sluts!

Postby Belial » Fri Jun 13, 2008 3:58 pm UTC

Alexiel wrote:Oh, I don't care that I "can't" say the word, it just bothers me that as a culture it was decided that 'the group' is allowed to use nigga/nigger in any way they want, and it's extremely offensive (generally) for anyone else to do so. Now, this is not the greatest of the things that bothers me, but this was apropos


Does the reason why escape you?
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Re: YOUS is sluts!

Postby Alexiel » Fri Jun 13, 2008 4:14 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
Alexiel wrote:Oh, I don't care that I "can't" say the word, it just bothers me that as a culture it was decided that 'the group' is allowed to use nigga/nigger in any way they want, and it's extremely offensive (generally) for anyone else to do so. Now, this is not the greatest of the things that bothers me, but this was apropos


Does the reason why escape you?

No, I just disagree with it.
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Re: YOUS is sluts!

Postby Philwelch » Fri Jun 13, 2008 5:30 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Philwelch wrote:A black person who pronounces it "nigger" isn't going to get any flack

What the shit, dude? You were just told a couple posts up that this pronunciation/spelling/meaning *would* offend within race as well as between races. Do you actually have evidence to the contrary, or are you just arguing for the fuck of it?


To be honest, some people of both races are always going to be offended even if it's a black person pronouncing it "nigga", but let's set that aside for now. As far as I've ever seen, it's the race of the speaker instead of the pronunciation that actually makes the difference. If a white person pronounces it, even in black dialect, it's offensive. If a black person pronounces it in white dialect it may be offensive, but only because the choice of dialect reflects social self-identification, not because they're actually different words.

And no, I'm not going to take your word for it otherwise. If you take personal umbrage at anyone who has the temerity to disagree with you, that's not my problem. No evidence was given the first time around either.

But hey. Just give me a list of people and ideas I'm not allowed to disagree with on here and I'm fine. It's your board.
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Re: YOUS is sluts!

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Jun 13, 2008 5:40 pm UTC

Philwelch wrote:Just give me a list of people and ideas I'm not allowed to disagree with on here and I'm fine. It's your board.

Oh get the hell off your "I'm being oppressed" high horse.

Philwelch wrote:No evidence was given the first time around either.

The first time around, when Jauss said it, was at least based on personal experience. You've given no indication that you even have that much going for your claims.
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Re: YOUS is sluts!

Postby Philwelch » Fri Jun 13, 2008 5:59 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Philwelch wrote:No evidence was given the first time around either.

The first time around, when Jauss said it, was at least based on personal experience. You've given no indication that you even have that much going for your claims.


I don't know Jauss. He may have more personal experience than I do, but I was just speaking from what I've seen.

Anyway, if you're going to keep cussing me out over this, I concede the point. You win the internets.
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Re: YOUS is sluts!

Postby Random832 » Fri Jun 13, 2008 7:25 pm UTC

Philwelch wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
Philwelch wrote:A black person who pronounces it "nigger" isn't going to get any flack

What the shit, dude? You were just told a couple posts up that this pronunciation/spelling/meaning *would* offend within race as well as between races. Do you actually have evidence to the contrary, or are you just arguing for the fuck of it?


To be honest, some people of both races are always going to be offended even if it's a black person pronouncing it "nigga", but let's set that aside for now. As far as I've ever seen, it's the race of the speaker instead of the pronunciation that actually makes the difference. If a white person pronounces it, even in black dialect, it's offensive. If a black person pronounces it in white dialect it may be offensive, but only because the choice of dialect reflects social self-identification, not because they're actually different words.


You're completely neglecting that the *same person* might say each one and mean a different thing by it.

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Re: YOUS is sluts!

Postby Philwelch » Fri Jun 13, 2008 11:19 pm UTC

Random832 wrote:You're completely neglecting that the *same person* might say each one and mean a different thing by it.


That's my whole point: I don't think anyone would do that. I know people have drawn the distinction but I very severely doubt anyone ever uses both words with distinct meanings.

Let me clarify. I don't think anyone *successfully* uses both words with distinct meanings. I remember a well-publicized case awhile ago where a white schoolteacher used the word "nigga" to refer to a black student. Everyone promptly reacted as if he had said "nigger", and his argument that "nigga" was a distinct word without the same racist meaning as "nigger" was, metaphorically speaking, laughed out the room.

I think that case pretty clearly establishes that "nigga" and "nigger" are the same word when a white person says it. Now, I've never heard a black person pronounce it "nigger", always "nigga". But then again, whenever I hear black people use that word (with either pronunciation) they're speaking in a consistently African-American dialect. I've never heard a black person pronounce it "nigger", and I've never heard a black person speaking in a white accent say "nigga" or "nigger".

So yeah. You think I'm just making shit up when I say "nigga" is probably just a dialectical pronunciation of "nigger" and not a different word but really, all that's at play here is that the word has different connotations based on who's saying it, and that dialect is a partial marker of that. Are they different words? In a certain metaphorical sense, but I'd be truly surprised to meet a single person who actually used both words to mean distinct things. If there are two different words here the primary distinction is the race of the speaker, not the pronunciation (which is perhaps a secondary distinction that's socially dictated by the primary).

Edit: And by the way, it takes more than someone with a purple name and a disinclination to politeness to oppress me. If we were on equal terms I would take satisfy myself by simply taking strong exception with being cussed at over an academic disagreement—since we're not, I'm going to take exceptionally strong exception with it.

I don't even mind swearing so much, just that you're using it to attack me. If you're irritated by my arguments then tell me straight up and we'll deal with it. As it stands I think I've explained the way I see and understand things—if that really bothers you than we'll deal with it like honest and straightforward people. I respect the fact that I'm a guest on this board and I'm willing to keep that in mind if it'll help.
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Re: YOUS is sluts!

Postby 4=5 » Sat Jun 14, 2008 6:16 am UTC

well as it stands nigger was originally just a dialect pronunciation of negro

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Re: YOUS is sluts!

Postby Alexiel » Sat Jun 14, 2008 7:12 am UTC

4=5 wrote:well as it stands nigger was originally just a dialect pronunciation of negro

Yes, but I seriously doubt that the people that use it on a day to day basis know this.
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Re: YOUS is sluts!

Postby gmalivuk » Sat Jun 14, 2008 4:19 pm UTC

Philwelch wrote:
Random832 wrote:You're completely neglecting that the *same person* might say each one and mean a different thing by it.


That's my whole point: I don't think anyone would do that. I know people have drawn the distinction but I very severely doubt anyone ever uses both words with distinct meanings.

Really? And Jauss's implication that she actually *has* used them with distinct meanings, or at least observed them being used as such, is irrelevant now, because you have "severe doubts"?

Philwelch wrote:And by the way, it takes more than someone with a purple name and a disinclination to politeness to oppress me. If we were on equal terms I would take satisfy myself by simply taking strong exception with being cussed at over an academic disagreement—since we're not, I'm going to take exceptionally strong exception with it.

The color of my name is irrelevant unless the color of my text is also red, first of all. Second of all, it isn't an academic disagreement. It's you disagreeing with someone who said specifically that the words *are* used differently. As in, she's observed them being used differently. But you continue to be willfully obtuse about it, for no particular reason I can discern.
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Re: YOUS is sluts!

Postby Philwelch » Sat Jun 14, 2008 10:23 pm UTC

I don't know Jauss. I suspect you're reading more implications into what Jauss said than I am, which (along with your disinclination to politeness) is the root of the problem here.
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Re: YOUS is sluts!

Postby gmalivuk » Sat Jun 14, 2008 11:30 pm UTC

Philwelch wrote:I don't know Jauss.

I do. But I'm still not sure what your point is. Doesn't require that I know her to be able to read from her post that she's talking about something she actually knows about. While you clearly aren't.
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Re: YOUS is sluts!

Postby Philwelch » Sun Jun 15, 2008 2:18 am UTC

And clearly the appropriate response to me trying to make sense out of all of this is to cuss me out.

4=5 wrote:well as it stands nigger was originally just a dialect pronunciation of negro


Yeah, and maybe by now "nigga" has differentiated into a separate word. Though if it has, it's a relatively recent change, and it still makes more sense to me to think that pronouncing it "nigger" is only offensive because it imitates white dialect and thus the connotation of a white person saying it, not because it's a separate word.

In all my experience in the English language, I've heard black people pronounce it "nigga" in a positive sense, black people pronounce it "nigga" in a negative sense, and white people pronounce it "nigger" in a negative sense. I've never even heard a black person pronounce it "nigger", though from what Jauss says it would have a negative connotation. So given all this, please forgive me for concluding that the context of what's being said and the race of the speaker are the primary determinants of connotation here. Clearly it's beyond my mental powers to reason this all out and I should just shut up the minute someone cusses at me.
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Re: YOUS is sluts!

Postby Random832 » Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:18 am UTC

Philwelch wrote:In all my experience in the English language, I've heard black people pronounce it "nigga" in a positive sense, black people pronounce it "nigga" in a negative sense


The argument is that the positive and negative "sense" are in fact two different words, and the latter is conventionally spelled with "-er", no matter HOW they're pronounced.

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Re: YOUS is sluts!

Postby Philwelch » Sun Jun 15, 2008 4:17 am UTC

That seems like an arbitrary convention that you're just making up to support your own argument about them being separate words. There are tons of words that, according to context, could have both positive and negative connotations.
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Re: YOUS is sluts!

Postby Jauss » Sun Jun 15, 2008 10:41 am UTC

*Sigh*
Philwelch wrote:By and large, I don't think there's anyone who uses "nigger" and "nigga" as distinct words

Well, there are. I'm not gonna claim it's the majority or anything, but there's a significant amount of people for whom saying "nigga" is akin to saying "brotha". "Nigger" is not used that way as far as I have heard.
Philwelch wrote:A black person who pronounces it "nigger" isn't going to get any flack.

Again, in most circumstances, I would beg to differ.
Philwelch wrote:To be honest, some people of both races are always going to be offended even if it's a black person pronouncing it "nigga", but let's set that aside for now.

You're right and I said as much. Once again, it's complicated. There are no hard and fast rules that apply to everyone, all the time.
As far as I've ever seen, it's the race of the speaker instead of the pronunciation that actually makes the difference. If a white person pronounces it, even in black dialect, it's offensive.

First off, I have to say it's a pet peeve of mine when people talk about "white dialect" or "black dialect" as if white and black people only speak one way and if they speak another way they're somehow outside the perimeters of their race. This kind of thinking leads to the whole "acting white/acting black/race traitor" business, which is something I hate with a fiery passion. Yes, race often correlates to how people speak and act, but that's actually a cultural/regional/economic class thing. (Also, there is no singular "black culture", there are many.) There are many white kids who grow up speaking AAVE (which is quite similar to Southern English) and many black kids who don't. There are people of all races who speak both. Anyway...
If a black person pronounces it in white dialect it may be offensive, but only because the choice of dialect reflects social self-identification, not because they're actually different words.

Again, no. It would be because it is used differently and feels different. Now to be fair, I guess I hadn't been clear enough when I said that "nigga" is an all purpose word. It can be (and most definitely is) used negatively as well as positively. I didn't mean to give the impression that it was always a good thing when used by black people. Like "bad" or "shit" or "fuck" it can be used in just about any goddamn way. "You mah nigga!" Positive, affectionate. "Man, these niggas don't know!" Neutral, disparaging. "Who that nigga be?" Neutral, inquistive. "Fuck y'all niggas!/You ain't nothing but niggas." Negative, angry, demeaning. You could substitute "nigger" in the latter, but not the others. To me there is a definite difference between "He's my nigga" and "He's my nigger", if only because I don't think people would/could say them in the same way or even think to exchange one for the other. The first speaks of friendship or having something in common, the second is like saying "He's my bitch."

It's not like I think they are two completely unrelated words, but they're not the same either. They're siblings.
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Re: YOUS is sluts!

Postby Philwelch » Sun Jun 15, 2008 11:09 am UTC

Jauss wrote:First off, I have to say it's a pet peeve of mine when people talk about "white dialect" or "black dialect" as if white and black people only speak one way and if they speak another way they're somehow outside the perimeters of their race. This kind of thinking leads to the whole "acting white/acting black/race traitor" business, which is something I hate with a fiery passion. Yes, race often correlates to how people speak and act, but that's actually a cultural/regional/economic class thing. (Also, there is no singular "black culture", there are many.) There are many white kids who grow up speaking AAVE (which is quite similar to Southern English) and many black kids who don't. There are people of all races who speak both.


You're right and I should have been more selective in my usage. I was indeed referring to the distinction between AAVE and to the (multiple) other dialects of American English, primarily the "standard" midwestern dialect.

Jauss wrote:Again, no. It would be because it is used differently and feels different. Now to be fair, I guess I hadn't been clear enough when I said that "nigga" is an all purpose word. It can be (and most definitely is) used negatively as well as positively. I didn't mean to give the impression that it was always a good thing when used by black people. Like "bad" or "shit" or "fuck" it can be used in just about any goddamn way. "You mah nigga!" Positive, affectionate. "Man, these niggas don't know!" Neutral, disparaging. "Who that nigga be?" Neutral, inquistive. "Fuck y'all niggas!/You ain't nothing but niggas." Negative, angry, demeaning. You could substitute "nigger" in the latter, but not the others. To me there is a definite difference between "He's my nigga" and "He's my nigger", if only because I don't think people would/could say them in the same way or even think to exchange one for the other. The first speaks of friendship or having something in common, the second is like saying "He's my bitch."

It's not like I think they are two completely unrelated words, but they're not the same either. They're siblings.


Fair enough. On taxonomic grounds I'd think of them as different usages of the same word but in substance I don't have any disagreement with that.
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Re: YOUS is sluts!

Postby 4=5 » Sun Jun 15, 2008 7:25 pm UTC

nit pick here
but midwest isn't "standard" anymore they've been doing really funky things with their vowels over the last 50 years

and good to know the disagreement is over :)

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Re: YOUS is sluts!

Postby Philwelch » Sun Jun 15, 2008 7:51 pm UTC

4=5 wrote:nit pick here
but midwest isn't "standard" anymore they've been doing really funky things with their vowels over the last 50 years


According to Wikipedia the standard American dialect is still spoken in places like Omaha. The vowel shift seems like more of a Minnesota/Wisconsin/Chicago/Michigan thing.
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Re: YOUS is sluts!

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Jun 15, 2008 9:08 pm UTC

Philwelch wrote:Yeah, and maybe by now "nigga" has differentiated into a separate word. Though if it has, it's a relatively recent change, and it still makes more sense to me to think that pronouncing it "nigger" is only offensive because it imitates white dialect and thus the connotation of a white person saying it, not because it's a separate word.

Being a recent change makes it no less a change. And why does it matter *why* the connotation is different with the different pronunciation? If the connotation is different, the meaning is different, as connotation is part of meaning.
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Re: YOUS is sluts!

Postby Random832 » Sun Jun 15, 2008 9:12 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Philwelch wrote:Yeah, and maybe by now "nigga" has differentiated into a separate word. Though if it has, it's a relatively recent change, and it still makes more sense to me to think that pronouncing it "nigger" is only offensive because it imitates white dialect and thus the connotation of a white person saying it, not because it's a separate word.

Being a recent change makes it no less a change. And why does it matter *why* the connotation is different with the different pronunciation? If the connotation is different, the meaning is different, as connotation is part of meaning.


Also, arguably the denotation is also different, since (to some) the 'positive' meaning does not imply that the person being referred to is black.

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Re: YOUS is sluts!

Postby Philwelch » Sun Jun 15, 2008 10:08 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Philwelch wrote:Yeah, and maybe by now "nigga" has differentiated into a separate word. Though if it has, it's a relatively recent change, and it still makes more sense to me to think that pronouncing it "nigger" is only offensive because it imitates white dialect and thus the connotation of a white person saying it, not because it's a separate word.

Being a recent change makes it no less a change.


It insults my intelligence that you imply I wouldn't realize this. In fact, I was making a conscious and deliberate concession, albeit with reservations. I shouldn't expect you to notice this though, since you seem to interpret every fucking thing I say the least charitable way possible.

gmalivuk wrote:And why does it matter *why* the connotation is different with the different pronunciation? If the connotation is different, the meaning is different, as connotation is part of meaning.


There are tons of examples where the exact same word has different connotations based upon context. And in a wide sense, the social status of the speaker is part of the context. This is an unusual situation where it's hard to apply general rules, but I don't think the variation in connotation is any more significant than other single words.
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Re: Nigga, PLEASE!

Postby greeniguana00 » Sun Jun 15, 2008 11:28 pm UTC

Let's look at the difference between the words "Dayumn" and "Damn". "Damn" can be used in many scenarios like:

"We had a damn good time."
"He is damned to hell."
"Damn, that was fun. Let's do it again."
"Damn! I stubbed my toe"
"Damn! Did you see that bitch die?"

You can also use "Dayumn" like this, "Dayumn! Did you see that bitch die?" and possibly like this, "Dayumn, that was fun. Let's do it again". You would never, however, say "We had a dayumn good time" or "Dayumn! I stubbed my toe" (unless you weren't angry about it) or "He is dayumned to hell."

"Damn" usually has a connotation of anger, while "dayumn" has a connotation of disbelief and cannot carry a connotation of anger. Yet, I do not view these as separate words. They are the same, just used differently in different contexts. Just as you would be screaming "Damn!" when you stubbed your toe instead of speaking sternly like while saying "He's damned to hell", you would speak it differently when saying "Dayumn!" to express disbelief.
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Re: Nigga, PLEASE!

Postby Philwelch » Mon Jun 16, 2008 12:19 am UTC

That was amazing. Thanks for giving an example there.

Substantially, I agree that there are differences in usage and so forth. At this point the only remaining disagreement is a disagreement of taxonomy, which is really a judgment call.
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Re: Nigga, PLEASE!

Postby Jauss » Mon Jun 16, 2008 2:33 am UTC

greeniguana00 wrote:"He is dayumned to hell."

This almost made me spit out what I was drinking. :D

Good examples. I will agree that whether or not they are separate words or a simple variation is really a matter of view. (I'll leave that battle to the linguists.) I was only out to argue with the statement that they were used in the same exact way and that one was only [always] offensive because it was "white talk".
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Re: Nigga, PLEASE!

Postby Phlebas » Mon Jun 16, 2008 5:01 pm UTC

Hi Guys, I'm Mister Pragmatics, and I would like to welcome you to my house, the house of Pragmatics, so to speak.

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Re: Nigga, PLEASE!

Postby ave_matthew » Mon Jun 16, 2008 6:42 pm UTC

could one argue that in standard English they are the same word, but are only different words in AAVE and the surrounding dialect groups?
**The best way to know is to ask, speakers of a language can usually tell if two words are the same, note that a word can have different definitions that in the minds of the speakers are closely enough linked to allow them to be one word.

Experiment, assuming that it would not turn out violent

Ask people from different dialect groups, and ages and gender.
List the results (one word vs two) by dialectal distance from AAVE and by age and gender, you may find that there is one or more dialects where they are two words, and some where they are one. there are enough variations between AAVE and standard that some consider it another language. Spanish and Italian are almost mutually intelligible.
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Re: Nigga, PLEASE!

Postby Phlebas » Tue Jun 17, 2008 6:51 pm UTC

As a linguistics grad student, I'm not sure if I should react to all this or not. It's weird to see you guys discussing this kind of thing without any (or minimal) knowledge of linguistics, or at least knowledge of current linguistic trends and theories. I imagine it's like watching some people try to solve a really easy equation as a math grad.

I just don't know where to begin.

Look up Pragmatics. Oh, and words are defined by their sounds. That's basically what a word is, a sound. Consequently, "nigga" and "nigger" are different words. / d ae m n / and /d ei shwa m/ are different words.

But anyway, structural, generative linguistics has nothing meaningful to say in this matter, so asking whether they are "different words" or whatever is meaningless anyway. Good luck!

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Re: Nigga, PLEASE!

Postby Belial » Tue Jun 17, 2008 8:02 pm UTC

Phlebas wrote:As a linguistics grad student, I'm not sure if I should react to all this or not. It's weird to see you guys discussing this kind of thing without any (or minimal) knowledge of linguistics, or at least knowledge of current linguistic trends and theories. I imagine it's like watching some people try to solve a really easy equation as a math grad.


I'll admit that I left off at de Saussure, because that's where it stopped being *entirely* relevant to deconstructionist literary analysis....

Was there anything stunningly significant after that point that I should read up on, or is his General Course still pretty much defining things?
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Re: Nigga, PLEASE!

Postby SPsnow02 » Tue Jun 17, 2008 8:13 pm UTC

This past month at my school, a white teacher was talking to his class about how when walking to his classroom in the hall he had heard multiple people using "nigga", and how it was rude and unacceptable to use it, and he quoted what one of them had said, including the "nigga" part. He's now on leave, possibly getting fired, and isn't allowed to talk to any of the students currently at our school... >.<, and he was right, EVERY DAY, I hear black people calling each other "nigga" in the lunch line, and I can't believe how little they care then, but how much they care to complain when a teacher is telling them it's wrong and quotes them..
Rawr!

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Re: Nigga, PLEASE!

Postby Philwelch » Tue Jun 17, 2008 8:29 pm UTC

Phlebas wrote:As a linguistics grad student, I'm not sure if I should react to all this or not. It's weird to see you guys discussing this kind of thing without any (or minimal) knowledge of linguistics, or at least knowledge of current linguistic trends and theories. I imagine it's like watching some people try to solve a really easy equation as a math grad.

I just don't know where to begin.

Look up Pragmatics. Oh, and words are defined by their sounds. That's basically what a word is, a sound. Consequently, "nigga" and "nigger" are different words. / d ae m n / and /d ei shwa m/ are different words.

But anyway, structural, generative linguistics has nothing meaningful to say in this matter, so asking whether they are "different words" or whatever is meaningless anyway. Good luck!


To be fair, it's not entirely like watching people try to solve a really easy equation: algebra is indisputably correct (at least on its own terms) and is immune from things like "current trends and theories". Hell, even in newer fields of mathematics, my understanding is that until you have a proof, "current trends and theories" are nothing more than "popular places to go looking for a proof these days".

That said, linguistics is pretty neat, so don't think I'm down on it.
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Re: Nigga, PLEASE!

Postby 4=5 » Tue Jun 17, 2008 9:40 pm UTC

Phlebas wrote: words are defined by their sounds. That's basically what a word is, a sound. Consequently, "nigga" and "nigger" are different words. / d ae m n / and /d ei shwa m/ are different words.\

This seems slightly wrong to me.
It would lead to the view that homophones are the same word. And different pronunciations of tomato mean that grocery stores have to buy more price tags.

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Re: Nigga, PLEASE!

Postby ave_matthew » Wed Jun 18, 2008 1:30 am UTC

Phlebas wrote:Look up Pragmatics. Oh, and words are defined by their sounds. That's basically what a word is, a sound. Consequently, "nigga" and "nigger" are different words. / d ae m n / and /d ei shwa m/ are different words.

yeah, I second 4=5 that's a generalization, what about assimilation
is ten in ten kids different from ten in ten boys?
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Re: Nigga, PLEASE!

Postby Philwelch » Wed Jun 18, 2008 7:10 am UTC

Yeah, my call is that what he's saying is right in certain restricted technical usages, but not necessarily in the sense we're concerned about.
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