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  #181  
Old 07.06.2011, 21:12
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Re: Should the word "Näggr" be used in Swiss German?

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Interestingly enough, I have found that the correct term to refer to someone is Sir or Ma'am or Miss.
Oh ya, it works in English. It doesn't in German and in French, it's far too dangerous to say Ma'am to a Miss (even at advanced age)... so in my world, I must admit that I didn't think of it. Good solution in English though.
  #182  
Old 07.06.2011, 21:31
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Re: Should the word "Näggr" be used in Swiss German?

Good (side)link - I had always wondered what the IC coding was with the police.

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Interestingly enough, I have found that the correct term to refer to someone is Sir or Ma'am or Miss.
Using "Ma'am" might be regarded as a bit weird in the UK; that's how you address the Queen.

Plus I think the term "Miss" has got a bit of baggage with it these days, too, with many women not disclosing their marital status. You might get hissed at with "It's Ms, thank you very much!"
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  #183  
Old 07.06.2011, 23:13
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Re: Should the word "Näggr" be used in Swiss German?

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A few years ago our son was chased by a group of school children, while being called Näggr (which is a swiss german word used to desciribe black person). At that time, my husband (who is also swiss) had made complaints to the school, but they felt it was not a serious issue and was not something they could resolve as they never saw any bullying of our son. They also felt the word was not offensive in their language. Eventually my husband found out the adress of one of the boys in the group and visited their home. He threatened to take the matter up further with the police and have published a story in the newspaper labelling the family as racist. the threat worked and the bullying stopped.

Recently in another school my friends' 5 year old received a homework sheet with a collage of images at the top and a list of words below, which should be paired with the correct image.
On the list was the word Näggr (translates to Nigger in English), with a matching photo of a jet black man with extremly big lips and wild looking eyes. She met with the teacher and complained about it being offensive which was received with surprise, then later followed by an apology.
I since found out that this word is being used in Childrens books and in schools to educate children from as early as pre-school years. Do you think
this is a racist word? It could not be used openly in the rest of the world without causing offence, so why is it accepted by the swiss?
To answer your question, I don't think the word Nigger is that racist these days. Of course it depends on how it is said and on what circumstance. For example, mmh I do like the sweet dark chocolate (from Migros). So when I'm eating them, my colleagues always ask if i get offended if they tell me that I'm eating Negerkuss (dark chocolate). The reason why they ask such a question can be referred to articles like this:

http://www.unrast-verlag.de/unrast,3,0,437.html

I mean who cares! If someone calls me Nigger I dont care since the famous expression goes' black is beautiful'. So to me nigger also means black hence beautiful. Of course this is subject to intense argument by any mankind/womankind. You can also take it from the Negerkuss (dark chocolate) which I could interpret to mean 'beautiful sweet kiss'. So at times there is something great and not to worry about beyond just being called Nigger!
  #184  
Old 07.06.2011, 23:16
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Re: Should the word "Näggr" be used in Swiss German?

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To answer your question, I don't think the word Nigger is that racist these days. Of course it depends on how it is said and on what circumstance. For example, mmh I do like the sweet dark chocolate (from Migros). So when I'm eating them, my colleagues always ask if i get offended if they tell me that I'm eating Negerkuss (dark chocolate). The reason why they ask such a question can be referred to articles like this:

I mean who cares! If someone calls me Nigger I dont care since the famous expression goes' black is beautiful'. So to me nigger also means black hence beautiful. Of course this is subject to intense argument by any mankind/womankind. You can also take it from the Negerkuss (dark chocolate) which I could interpret to mean 'beautiful sweet kiss'. So at times there is something great and not to worry about beyond just being called Nigger!
I'm usually not a fan of these silly pics..but daaaaamn.

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  #185  
Old 07.06.2011, 23:51
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Re: Should the word "Näggr" be used in Swiss German?

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I'm usually not a fan of these silly pics..but daaaaamn.

Hey Lost_inbroad. Whaa nice pics! Thanks.

Cheers, Copfum
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  #186  
Old 08.06.2011, 00:14
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Re: Should the word "Näggr" be used in Swiss German?

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To answer your question, I don't think the word Nigger is that racist these days. Of course it depends on how it is said and on what circumstance. For example, mmh I do like the sweet dark chocolate (from Migros). So when I'm eating them, my colleagues always ask if i get offended if they tell me that I'm eating Negerkuss (dark chocolate). The reason why they ask such a question can be referred to articles like this:

http://www.unrast-verlag.de/unrast,3,0,437.html

I mean who cares! If someone calls me Nigger I dont care since the famous expression goes' black is beautiful'. So to me nigger also means black hence beautiful. Of course this is subject to intense argument by any mankind/womankind. You can also take it from the Negerkuss (dark chocolate) which I could interpret to mean 'beautiful sweet kiss'. So at times there is something great and not to worry about beyond just being called Nigger!
Ok, I think what Lib tried to tell you is:

1. Nigger is not the same as Neger. Nigger is always an offensive word and relates to the slavery in the US. If you hear it in a "positive" context, say a US rap song... well, rappers need to provocate and they do so buy using words that offend grannies.

2. Neger used to be ok. Say up to the 1940s did it basically mean "black person". But even then had it usually a negative aspect: Unlike the US did we not have any African immigrants and "Neger" were imagined to be some savages dressed in rugs hunting with spears... we even had shows that displayed imported Africans like zoo animals!


3. Negerkuss is a term from the 1890s. Nobody should call the chocolate like that anymore - there are plenty of alternatives like Schokoküsse or Schaumküsse... If your friends continuously tell you about the old term, they are actually most likely making fun of you... just sayin'
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  #187  
Old 08.06.2011, 00:43
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Re: Should the word "Näggr" be used in Swiss German?

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1. Nigger is not the same as Neger. Nigger is always an offensive word and relates to the slavery in the US. If you hear it in a "positive" context, say a US rap song... well, rappers need to provocate and they do so buy using words that offend grannies.
I Generally agree with you. However, if you hear it in a rap song, it is neither written nor pronounced as "n***er" but rather as "n***a". There is a subtle yet important difference. To me, neither form is acceptable..I just wanted to point out the mistake.

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  #188  
Old 08.06.2011, 06:00
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Re: Should the word "Näggr" be used in Swiss German?

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To answer your question, I don't think the word Nigger is that racist these days. Of course it depends on how it is said and on what circumstance. For example, mmh I do like the sweet dark chocolate (from Migros). So when I'm eating them, my colleagues always ask if i get offended if they tell me that I'm eating Negerkuss (dark chocolate). The reason why they ask such a question can be referred to articles like this:

http://www.unrast-verlag.de/unrast,3,0,437.html

I mean who cares! If someone calls me Nigger I dont care since the famous expression goes' black is beautiful'. So to me nigger also means black hence beautiful. Of course this is subject to intense argument by any mankind/womankind. You can also take it from the Negerkuss (dark chocolate) which I could interpret to mean 'beautiful sweet kiss'. So at times there is something great and not to worry about beyond just being called Nigger!
  #189  
Old 08.06.2011, 08:45
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Re: Should the word "Näggr" be used in Swiss German?

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Interestingly enough, I have found that the correct term to refer to someone is Sir or Ma'am or Miss.

I was taught this lesson by a very good friend of mine who ironically enough was African American. He used to call me sir even though I was two years younger than he. I asked him why he did that and his response was that one never went amiss by referring to others in such a manner that showed that you respected them as human beings.

Believe it or not but this has served me well on the 5 continents that I ha visited.
I agree with this, although we were taught (G.10ish) that "Miss" or "Ma'am" were very politically incorrect and for a female "Ms" is the proper title since it does not assume any marital status.

Just to play the devil's advocate---from my last trip to London, strolling around SOHO calling someone "Sir" or "Ms" wasn't totally clear---or PC.


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Old 08.06.2011, 09:08
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Re: Should the word "Näggr" be used in Swiss German?

Sir/Ma'am strikes me as very American.

Maybe it's my latent socialism, but I never call anybody sir, and hate it when I'm called it. It makes me feel old, and it's usually patronising.

Where I'm from we call everyone "Love" or "Mate", which is also very un-PC in the wrong place.
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  #191  
Old 08.06.2011, 09:14
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Re: Should the word "Näggr" be used in Swiss German?

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Sir/Ma'am strikes me as very American.

Maybe it's my latent socialism, but I never call anybody sir, and hate it when I'm called it. It makes me feel old, and it's usually patronising.

Where I'm from we call everyone "Love" or "Mate", which is also very un-PC in the wrong place.

I always found Sir/Ma'am to sound very British.


I've never had anyone call me Sir, well without being followed by: "You're making a scene" or "Could you please leave".
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  #192  
Old 08.06.2011, 09:37
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Re: Should the word "Näggr" be used in Swiss German?

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Ok, I think what Lib tried to tell you is:

1. Nigger is not the same as Neger. Nigger is always an offensive word and relates to the slavery in the US. If you hear it in a "positive" context, say a US rap song... well, rappers need to provocate and they do so buy using words that offend grannies.

2. Neger used to be ok. Say up to the 1940s did it basically mean "black person". But even then had it usually a negative aspect: Unlike the US did we not have any African immigrants and "Neger" were imagined to be some savages dressed in rugs hunting with spears... we even had shows that displayed imported Africans like zoo animals!


3. Negerkuss is a term from the 1890s. Nobody should call the chocolate like that anymore - there are plenty of alternatives like Schokoküsse or Schaumküsse... If your friends continuously tell you about the old term, they are actually most likely making fun of you... just sayin'
Thanks Treverus. I do respect your point of view as far as the history of Nigger and its diverse forms of how it is written. To any intellect, there is however no significant difference in meaning in its different forms of spelling. I had known this before i posted my post and thus why on my post I wrote that my point of view is subject to vigorous argument by many.

I beg to differ though that my colleagues make fun of me when they use the term Negerkuss. The fact that they do ask for my opinion before hand shows that they do understand the unfortunate history sensitivity of the word itself, hence they do respect me. Remember that 'Action speaks louder than words' hence one can easily tell what the other want to communicate (good/bad) even without opening the mouth to say the word Nigger. I do have a wide and deeper experience and knowledge in this from my exposure to diverse societies and cultures. cheers
  #193  
Old 08.06.2011, 09:49
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Re: Should the word "Näggr" be used in Swiss German?

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I'd say you would be pc using the term 'Mitbürger schwarzer Hautfarbe'. I cannot think of any official form that would ask for ethnicity but instead whether someone has a 'Migrationshintergrund' (immigrant background).
True, and I've seen both those terms being thrown as insults (or at least used in conversation by people who considered themselves witty and in a context that definitely wasn't PC). So where does that take us?
  #194  
Old 08.06.2011, 10:01
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Re: Should the word "Näggr" be used in Swiss German?

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Thanks Treverus. I do respect your point of view as far as the history of Nigger and its diverse forms of how it is written. To any intellect, there is however no significant difference in meaning in its different forms of spelling. I had known this before i posted my post and thus why on my post I wrote that my point of view is subject to vigorous argument by many.
Sorry Copfum, that is just linguistically not true.

The words are in different languages and so you can't draw any conclusions about them just because the spellings are similar. None at all.

Two words with similar spellings might equally well:
  • mean exactly the same thing with the same connotation (English hand, German Hand.)
  • mean the same thing, but with different connotation or register, e.g. German Ross which is directly related to English horse - but Ross is a much fancier, more literary word, more like English steed. (The ordinary word for horse in German is Pferd - cognate as it happens with a very archaic English word, palfrey.) Another example is Hund vs. hound: in English, the word "hound" can refer to any kind of dog but it doesn't usually. It does in German: so while most people would not call a poodle a "hound", it is definitely a "Hund".
  • be etymologically related but mean different things nowadays (e.g. piano which is a musical instrument in English but just means "quiet" in Italian)
  • mean two different, totally unrelated things (e.g. bean which is a vegetable in English and a woman in Irish)
There is no way to tell which of these possibilities applies. Even if you've deduced that they apply to the same thing, the connotations can be different. You won't know without examining what the connotations actually are, i.e. how the words are actually used, in each language separately.
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  #195  
Old 08.06.2011, 10:22
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Re: Should the word "Näggr" be used in Swiss German?

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Thanks Treverus. I do respect your point of view as far as the history of Nigger and its diverse forms of how it is written. To any intellect, there is however no significant difference in meaning in its different forms of spelling. I had known this before i posted my post and thus why on my post I wrote that my point of view is subject to vigorous argument by many.

I beg to differ though that my colleagues make fun of me when they use the term Negerkuss. The fact that they do ask for my opinion before hand shows that they do understand the unfortunate history sensitivity of the word itself, hence they do respect me. Remember that 'Action speaks louder than words' hence one can easily tell what the other want to communicate (good/bad) even without opening the mouth to say the word Nigger. I do have a wide and deeper experience and knowledge in this from my exposure to diverse societies and cultures. cheers
I tried... I really tried.

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  #196  
Old 08.06.2011, 11:14
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Re: Should the word "Näggr" be used in Swiss German?

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Sorry Copfum, that is just linguistically not true.

The words are in different languages and so you can't draw any conclusions about them just because the spellings are similar. None at all.

Two words with similar spellings might equally well:
  • mean exactly the same thing with the same connotation (English hand, German Hand.)
  • mean the same thing, but with different connotation or register, e.g. German Ross which is directly related to English horse - but Ross is a much fancier, more literary word, more like English steed. (The ordinary word for horse in German is Pferd - cognate as it happens with a very archaic English word, palfrey.) Another example is Hund vs. hound: in English, the word "hound" can refer to any kind of dog but it doesn't usually. It does in German: so while most people would not call a poodle a "hound", it is definitely a "Hund".
  • be etymologically related but mean different things nowadays (e.g. piano which is a musical instrument in English but just means "quiet" in Italian)
  • mean two different, totally unrelated things (e.g. bean which is a vegetable in English and a woman in Irish)
There is no way to tell which of these possibilities applies. Even if you've deduced that they apply to the same thing, the connotations can be different. You won't know without examining what the connotations actually are, i.e. how the words are actually used, in each language separately.
Thanks MathNut. We're just talking about a word which is racial historically driven and not linguistically driven (though it can mean both). Nigger and its cosmetic versions is driven by racial historical causes hence embods similar meaning in those cosmetic versions be they in different languages.

Of course the other words you put forward are understandable in their different meanings since they are linguistically driven (and not racial).
  #197  
Old 08.06.2011, 11:15
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Re: Should the word "Näggr" be used in Swiss German?

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I tried... I really tried.
Not only have we tried, but this is becoming trying.

I think those who offend will have to accept that certain words are no longer politically correct and we should not use them under any circumstances.
Those who have regrettably been offended must perhaps accept that not all of us are up to date in these matters. The meanings of words have changed. They have meant different things in different areas of the world. Not all of us who have offended in the past meant to do so.

Fortunately, for once I'm not guilty as the people I know who don't have blotchy pink skins like me have names and are referred to by them.
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Old 08.06.2011, 11:31
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Re: Should the word "Näggr" be used in Swiss German?

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Thanks MathNut. We're just talking about a word which is racial historically driven and not linguistically driven (though it can mean both). Nigger and its cosmetic versions is driven by racial historical causes hence embods similar meaning in those cosmetic versions be they in different languages.

Of course the other words you put forward are understandable in their different meanings since they are linguistically driven (and not racial).
Nope. Words mean whatever they are, or have been, used to mean.

Whether a particular word's usage is "racial historically driven" or some other way, the fact that it is used to mean thus-and-so (for whatever reasons) is a linguistic phenomenon and affects its meaning.

Just because the "same word" appears in two different languages, it does not follow that speakers of both those languages must use it in the exact same way. See my example above: "hound" vs. "Hund." Those are recognizably the "same word" (to the extent the concept means anything at all when discussing separate languages) but they don't mean the same thing in both languages. Why not? Because speakers of English and speakers of German use them to mean different things.

Meaning is an accretion of usage. If a word appears in two languages, and speakers of both do use it the same way, then we say the word has the same meaning in both languages. If they use it differently then we say the word has a different meaning.

Whether the particular usage in question is racially, historically or any other way motivated has no bearing on this.


Here's a thought experiment for you: what if "stop" turned out to be a horribly offensive racial epithet in Kazakh? Do you think that would affect the word's usability in English, which is a completely different language? Or is a word's meaning in English determined by what English speakers mean when they say the word?

I'm not arguing for or against the use of the German word in question, just saying that you can't presume to define German words by their English cognates or vice versa.
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Old 08.06.2011, 11:37
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Re: Should the word "Näggr" be used in Swiss German?

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I always found Sir/Madam to sound very British.
Fixed that for you. In English (correct English that is, i.e. British ) you would pronounce the "d". Unless you are in the forces and speaking to a superior officer, in which case the sound would be more like "Marm", as in marmalade.

HTH
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Old 08.06.2011, 11:40
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Re: Should the word "Näggr" be used in Swiss German?

Off-topic but might help to make something (goodness know what) clearer.

In English - in my youth at least
Hello - a casual greeting for good morning/afternoon/evening
Hoi - hey, you there, what do you think you are doing?

In Swiss German around here these days
Hoi - is used for a casual good morning/afternoon/evening
Hello - hey, you there, what do you think you are doing?

Same words, different time, different place, different language, different meanings?
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