Monday, May 07, 2007


Today's must read (to borrow a phrase): Most readers of this blog know Maledicta: The international journal of verbal aggression. It was once a rite of passage for many linguists to publish there, as some Madison faculty did. (Anybody doing fieldwork on a less known language or dialect had an easy paper: "Cursing in [name of language here]".

Maledicta's founder and editor (and the author of many contributions), Reinhold Aman, has just guestposted a long piece to Language Log. It's Aman at his best — he's talking details of the gross mistranslations of the phrase that got Imus fired.


The Ridger, FCD said...

I was quite surprised myself that "jigaboo" wasn't the word people ran mad over. It seems much worse to me. I wonder, a little, if people couldn't bring themselves to keep repeating that one so they focused on the one they could stand to say? At any rate, the whole conversation was contemptible, including the "wannabe" remark about the pretty players at UT.

Ben Zimmer said...

I believe it was Bernard McGuirk, the show's executive producer, who made the "jigaboos vs. wannabes" comment. And not that it makes the remark any more palatable, but it was a reference to the Spike Lee movie School Daze. See Jesse Jackson's description of the exchange between Imus and McGuirk here.

The Ridger, FCD said...

Ah well - another pop culture remark that passed me right by. But that does explain it. Thanks!