Author Topic: Language "outrage" in the US  (Read 4532 times)

Shit Good Nose

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Language "outrage" in the US
« on: September 12, 2020, 12:04:20 AM »
This American professor has "stepped away" from his role after ruffling some feathers with a section of a lecture video about words and phrases in Mandarin - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-54107329

This word has come up before over the years (cases mentioned in the story) and Russell Peters (not very famously) got into a spot of bother when he did a bit about it some years back.

Tricky one, and understandable if someone who doesn't know the word takes offence to it - a totally innocuous word in its original language, but with a totally different meaning in English.  As I've mentioned before on here a few times, when I worked for the civil service my equivalent in the Exeter office was called John Schitte (and it was pronounced as "shit" as well).  His parents were German and he was born there, but they fled to this country when that naughty fella with the funny tache started getting a bit arsey.  Schitte over there, of course, being a very common surname with absolutely no awkward connotations.

So - a justified hoo-ha, or an over the top response?

Re: Language "outrage" in the US
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2020, 12:08:32 AM »
A bit fucking stupid you ask me but I'm not in charge of what's acceptable to say.

Still, if you can't even say innocuous foreign words that sound like bad words, that's a bit worrying.

Re: Language "outrage" in the US
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2020, 01:49:12 AM »
CUNTS

Re: Language "outrage" in the US
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2020, 02:12:46 AM »
fart boner poo

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: Language "outrage" in the US
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2020, 02:14:57 AM »
fart boner poo

Which of course means “umm” in Hungarian. I am putting my offence on pause until you clarify which language you were speaking. Thanks.

Re: Language "outrage" in the US
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2020, 02:33:23 AM »
This is obviously a load of horseshit. Dwi'n dysgu cymraeg (I'm a Welsh learner). The plural of ci (dogs) is cwn ("coon") though it is not commonly used and everyone jokes about the welsh of one hundred being cunt (it's actually "cant" but whatever)  and Spanish for black is negro.

I strongly suspect this is the right wing trying to whip up a fake cancelling.

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Re: Language "outrage" in the US
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2020, 02:34:21 AM »
Let’s have a look at the answer prancer...

Re: Language "outrage" in the US
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2020, 02:37:36 AM »
I am about two years into studying Japanese and it has entire alphabet dedicated to word foreign origin loan words so questioned the origin of the word 貧乏 (binbo) to mean poor as I assumed it was a take on our "bimbo". Turns out it was purely coincidence.

Re: Language "outrage" in the US
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2020, 02:52:47 AM »
A bit fucking stupid you ask me but I'm not in charge of what's acceptable to say.

Still, if you can't even say innocuous foreign words that sound like bad words, that's a bit worrying.

If you watch the clip, it doesn't even really sound like the bad word unless you're trying to make it so, and within the context of what he was discussing (in a fucking language and communications class) I'd say it's purely dishonest for someone to pretend otherwise. Glad to hear Chinese students (and others) are pushing back.

I strongly suspect this is the right wing trying to whip up a fake cancelling.

I think that's a bit of a stretch. Having been on USC and UCLA campuses myself, I'm going to go with Occam's Razor on this one.

Re: Language "outrage" in the US
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2020, 02:56:29 AM »
Still, at least the whole thing has reminded me of this quaint little news story from simpler times (NSFW: actually contains the word in question): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vz9Zy2-C_lY

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Re: Language "outrage" in the US
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2020, 07:17:05 AM »
Quote
Enunciated, na-ge sounds like the N-word

Absolutely pathetic infantilism for state news to be using phrases like 'the N word' in the context of this article. Baby speak. 'He who must not be named.'

Paul Calf

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Re: Language "outrage" in the US
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2020, 07:26:10 AM »
If the BBC weren’t afraid to look at things honestly and uncompromisingly, it would not be the BBC.

Paul Calf

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Re: Language "outrage" in the US
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2020, 07:27:21 AM »
But I mean, this is just more evidence that it’s not just the authoritarian right who’ve gone fucking batshit.

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Re: Language "outrage" in the US
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2020, 07:39:48 AM »
and Spanish for black is negro.
That's not a coincidence...

Re: Language "outrage" in the US
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2020, 07:50:14 AM »
When living in Singapore it was useful to know a bit of mandarin but pronunciation is a bit tricky. The mandarin for ‘what?’ Is pronounced sha-ma, but when a middle aged white man says it, it sounds like Michael Jackson saying ‘shamone!’ , however I never got into a fight with paedophile enthusiasts or get ‘cancelled’

Oh and in Sweden, fitter (as in aircraft fitter) means ‘cunt’ the high I found out 2 weeks into an aircraft inspection in linkeoping

So my view is this whole thing is a bit of a pointless tirade to be honest

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Re: Language "outrage" in the US
« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2020, 07:57:58 AM »
MANDARIN IS CANCELLED

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Re: Language "outrage" in the US
« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2020, 08:05:25 AM »
[tag]12 months in Estonia[/tag]

Re: Language "outrage" in the US
« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2020, 08:05:50 AM »
MANDARIN IS CANCELLED

‘Cheese How’ - could offend vegans.

Paul Calf

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Re: Language "outrage" in the US
« Reply #18 on: September 12, 2020, 08:10:25 AM »
圖書館 Might offend people with one leg.

Better Midlands

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Re: Language "outrage" in the US
« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2020, 08:12:17 AM »
The plural of ci (dogs) is cwn ("coon")

The common Dutch name Koen is pronounced that way too, I had trouble getting my mouth round it when working with someone called that.

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Re: Language "outrage" in the US
« Reply #20 on: September 12, 2020, 08:31:50 AM »
Yeah I had a Taiwanese gf and if here and her friends would chat in Mandarin, it would often sound like they kept saying it. Also happened in public, and though you can explain, it's very hard to stop saying what is a very normal filler word in your own language. The best thing would be if it was more commonly understood, so fewer non-Chinese didn't overhear two China Ladies chatting and assume the were having an incredibly racist conversation.

Re: Language "outrage" in the US
« Reply #21 on: September 12, 2020, 08:48:18 AM »
Genuinely baffling did the students just think he was saying the n-word for a laugh? Or do they think even words said in other languages that sound a bit like a racial slur should all be banned?

Something does seem amiss with this story.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2020, 09:03:56 AM by Thursday »

Paul Calf

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Re: Language "outrage" in the US
« Reply #22 on: September 12, 2020, 08:58:43 AM »
Genuinely baffling did the students just think he was playing the n-word for a laugh? Or do they think even words said in other languages that sound a bit like a racial slur should all be banned?

Something does seem amiss with this story.

To be underservedly fair to them, this is the sort of shit the far right have been doing for years. Who was that tawdry attention-sponge who taught his dog to do Hitlers?

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« Reply #23 on: September 12, 2020, 09:15:55 AM »
Genuinely baffling did the students just think he was saying the n-word for a laugh? Or do they think even words said in other languages that sound a bit like a racial slur should all be banned?

Something does seem amiss with this story.

Yes, it does seem amiss, perhaps what's missing is context. 

If the prof was repeating the word because he understood full well its sound's ability to offend Anglophones, if he was intentionally using that, just being a pissy little edgelord attempting to shock the sensibilities of bourgeoisie or even to garner a few of those sweet sweet I'm-just-telling-it-like-it-is Peterson headlines for his own crown of laurels, he deserves a rocket up the arse.  Fuck it, he deserves ten. 

However, if the ill-judged incident was simply a big mistake, an unintentional faux pas, he deserves a reprimand or worse, because, despite being some sort of language big-wig, he clearly doesn't have any intelligence or understanding of what he's saying and how that affects other people.  Perhaps he should consider retraining as an offensive parrot or something.

The only possible excuse for his actions I can come up with is if that module was designed to point out the ways speakers from one culture can unintentionally offend people from outside.  It worked in that case but maybe he should have used a less cunty example.  Maybe a wise person, a proper grown-up, would've done that.

I say all of this assuming that the professor in question speaks English.

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Re: Language "outrage" in the US
« Reply #24 on: September 12, 2020, 09:20:50 AM »
Forgot About Dre is a very popular lullaby in China.

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Re: These men are idiots, Donny
« Reply #25 on: September 12, 2020, 09:29:38 AM »
Yes, it does seem amiss, perhaps what's missing is context. 
You can watch a bit of the video in the link I believe, for one thing. (To tired to dig it out.)

No idea if his prounounciation is any good, I note, and of course I was primed to hear it as the slur.

Probably could've done with a little bit of a warning as a courtesy, maybe. Absent further context, it doesn't seem it should be career-ending.

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Re: Language "outrage" in the US
« Reply #26 on: September 12, 2020, 09:43:19 AM »
Hmm.  Would you say that if you knew this professor was DangerMan?

Re: Language "outrage" in the US
« Reply #27 on: September 12, 2020, 09:43:42 AM »
Ironically this seems like a particularly egregious bit of cultural imperialism on the part of the young western wokeheads (of a sort that often also rears its head in arguments over cultural appropriation) . But then I'd like to see the substance of their complaints to see if there's some subtlety I'm missing.

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Re: Language "outrage" in the US
« Reply #28 on: September 12, 2020, 09:44:39 AM »
Do we know why he was saying it?  Why it was part of the lesson/lecture/whatevs?

Re: These men are idiots, Donny
« Reply #29 on: September 12, 2020, 09:48:37 AM »
You can watch a bit of the video in the link I believe, for one thing. (To tired to dig it out.)

No idea if his prounounciation is any good, I note, and of course I was primed to hear it as the slur.

Probably could've done with a little bit of a warning as a courtesy, maybe. Absent further context, it doesn't seem it should be career-ending.

His pronunciation is spot on, he even says "Chinese say that, that that" before saying  那个 (nèige) not na-ga na-ga like the BBC says. But no surprise to see people defending his dismissal as if a something is a miss, he is provocative or a far right mole, you'd be right at home in modern USA universities.

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