Robert J. Hansen
rjh at sixdemonbag.org
Thu Sep 6 20:54:37 CEST 2007
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John Clizbe wrote:
> The *only* way to get the pejorative connotation you refer to is to
> conflate cryppy with the homophone you cite, crippie - something that
> is a bit difficult to do via written text.
Or even in conversational speech. The contexts in which cryppies are
talked about tend not to be the contexts in which crippies are talked
about. This seems like a non-issue to me.
English is full of homophonic collisions. Some people think the phrase
"let's call a spade a spade" is racist, based on the word 'spade' being
a racist epithet for people of a particular skin hue. This is despite
the fact the phrase is a bad translation of a Greek proverb: "call a
bowl a bowl".
People have lost their jobs for describing their tendency towards
parsimony as 'niggardly'. That phrase is of Old Norse origin, "hnøggr",
meaning "stingy". It's in no way connected to an epithet.
And so on, and so on, and so on. English takes words and proverbs from
many different sources and conflates them all into one bizarre,
counterintuitive, contralogical, colliding whole. (Consider that many
consider it bad form to split an infinitive, but the word 'to' has as
much relation to an infinitive as 'the' has to a nominative; so why is
"to boldly go" considered verboten, while "the red car" is acceptable?)
While I'm generally all in favor of being mindful of one's environment
when selecting words, listeners have an equal obligation to be mindful
of the flexibilities of language when deciding whether they ought be
offended. So yeah, I'm with John: this is a nonissue.
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