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First they came for the language

First they came for the language

Language is destiny, and we have lost the language

First came the smear that the perfectly descriptive and race neutral terms “illegal alien” or “illegal immigrant” were racist, as part of an open-borders effort to redefine the meaning of our immigration laws and those who break them as merely a paperwork problem.

Then came the capitulation by the Associated Press.

Now comes the capitulation by USA Today (h/t Byron York):

The term illegal immigration is acceptable, but do not label people as illegal immigrants, except in direct quotes. Undocumented immigrant, undocumented worker and unauthorized immigrant are acceptable terms — depending on accuracy, clarity and context — for foreign nationals who are in the country illegally. An alternative is to use a phrase such as “people who entered the U.S. illegally” or “living in the country without legal permission.”

Avoid using the word alien to refer to immigrants, except in quoted matter or official government designations. Do not use illegal or illegals as a noun. It is considered pejorative by most immigrants. Migrant can be used instead of immigrant in a tight space.

It’s not just a “culture” war, it’s a language war. And we have lost the language.

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Comments

moonstone716 | April 11, 2013 at 8:47 am

Sorry, Professor, but “we” haven’t lost anything. Maybe you are dictated to by the likes of AP and USA Today, but they mean nothing in my life, or in the lives of 90% of the people that I know. I think my 80 year old great-uncle reads USA Today. Sometimes.

How about we balance this out by referring to people who have come here without using the proper channels as guerrilla residents? Okay, okay, too much? How about Undocumented Federal Trespassers?

Why stand pat… if they want to water down the language, I want it to be more concentrated.

Fight back. Tell USA Today what you think of their idiocy. Boycott them.

Professor:

You said, “It’s not just a “culture” war, it’s a language war. And we have lost the language.”

Thanks for reminding us, again. We don’t need to accept “their” PC language. I keep saying, “developing baby” not “fetus.” I don’t believe we should let “them” determine the “proper” vocabulary of the discussions or we have lost the language war.

We need to keep pushing back against attempts to tell us what words are correct to use in which situations.

“Do not use illegal or illegals as a noun. It is considered pejorative by most immigrants.”

I say that is a lie.

“Most immigrants” would include LEGAL immigrants, who I doubt consider “ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT” at all pejorative.

It would ALSO include a lot of rational ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS who know who and what they are, and don’t mind people clearly identifying them.

Who I bet DO find it a pejorative is ILLEGAL ALIEN activists and their fellow travelers.

And screw them.

What happens when “migrant” becomes a bridge too far? I’m sure LaRaza will be only too willing to give them pointers.

These people are SUCH idiots, it is stupefying.

    TugboatPhil in reply to herm2416. | April 11, 2013 at 10:18 am

    I was listening to a podcast from a San Fransisco radio show about a year ago. They normally edit out the top of the hour news, but part of it was in there.

    The reader was doing a story about some illegal immigrants and called them “travelers” of some kind. It was so PC-sickening that I almost hurled. And she read the story as though that was the most obvious way of referring to them.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | April 11, 2013 at 9:37 am

Related to language, but off topic.

Earlier this week, one of the assistants to Kermit Gosnell, the abortionist on trial for murdering babies, testified that on one occasion after a “specimen” was removed from the mother’s body they put it in a pile to be disposed of later. Then one of the other assistants testified she heard the “specimen” make a shrieking sound. She expounded on it and said it sounded like a “little alien”.

If we use their language, wouldn’t it have been more appropriate to say the shrieking was the mother’s “reproductive rights” sounding off? Or the sound of “women’s health”?

If we’re gong to pervert the language to rationalize abortion, then let’s be consistent about it.

Midwest Rhino | April 11, 2013 at 10:20 am

The twisted language of “Newspeak” helps identify these outlets as Orwellian servants of the socialists, which they have always been.

Bill Ayers and the subversives long ago figured the way to destroy our country was by co-opting the institutions, instead of blowing them up. I would expect the body of evidence against them would, at some point, reveal their Alinsky tactics.

Obama/Soros feel invincible now … running ads to say the children belong to the state. That insanity, after assaulting our institution of marriage, and our right to defend ourselves with real weapons, obligation to provide unlimited medical care for all, etc. This is their blitzkrieg war.

Now even foreigners have U.S. rights, to force us to pay for their care, and they have a special right to not be “insulted” by Americans revealing their illegal alien status. As in “1984”, the point seems to be to make us give up on any hope for logic or real fairness.

They own the big screen of hate, but we must say NO, 2+2 still equals 4. At least home-schoolers and some of the private school kids still learn to count.

DINORightMarie | April 11, 2013 at 10:21 am

I’ve been saying this for a LONG time!! He who controls the language wins the arguments – because the terms are re-defined. Just as in a competitive game (basketball, baseball, etc.), if the rules are changed mid-stream, as you play the game, then the one controlling AND changing the rules will ALWAYS win.

It all goes back to the Frankfort School. PC. Control the language, the culture. Destroy it from within, by taking over the entertainment industry, the media, the school systems.

How many “terms” have been allowed to be re-defined?! Cool? Straight? Feminist? One good example, that seemed so innocuous: GAY. The word traditionally meant, “happy, effervescent, giddy.” etc. The word was then taken by leftists and homosexuals and re-defined to mean “men who are homosexual; may also include lesbians.” (I paraphrase these definitions, of course.) The term is used, pushed, eventually accepted; soon it is even put into the dictionary as “slang”. Then it “evolves” till today that, if you choose to say “That’s so gay!” and use the word in YOUR OWN re-defined way (meaning, of course, “lame, stupid” etc.), then, “YOU ARE A HATER, HATING HOMOPHOBE!! They even have a government radio ad on this!!! (Listen to Rush, Hannity, Mark Levin – you can’t miss it!)

Who are the PC word police that say, “We can re-define the word GAY, but you can’t – if you DARE to try, you are a HATER!!!!” Culture, you say? Who defines the culture, and controls it? Breitbart, how I miss you!!!!

Really, though, it’s nothing new – in fact, how many of you can remember playing a game on the schoolyard or playing with friends and they change the rules as you play? Or make the call “The ball was out!!” and you reply, “No, it wasn’t!!” till you get bullied into accepting their call. Or you stand up and either get your way, or you walk away and quit the game. Bullies don’t change their tactics, you see.

Same thing. But this time it’s the COUNTRY at stake, not a kid’s game.

Just another tactic used by progressives. Old and busted.

“nazi” means right wing conservatives, “democracy” replaces Republic. Southern racists were really republicans. Civil Rights spearheaded by democrats, Jim Crow–still highly favored by every single white republican.

The list goes on…

The Great Lie continues unabated.

Rags made a great point yesterday referencing the Mellisa Harris-Perry thread:

4. “We do live in a nation where the government snatched American Indian children from their families and “re-educated” them by forbidding them to speak their language and practice their traditions.”

Can you say, “Progressive Era”…??? I KNEW you could…!!!

Use the actual historical actions of the marxist/progressives, attribute them to traditional American conservatism to demonstrate the need for marxism/progressive/communism/socialism.

The greatest of lies?

These marxists don’t just deny being marxists, they publicly get offended if you even refer to the word “social ist”.

I think “Asshole Press” is a more fitting name for the AP these days, and you can quote me with or without direct quotes!

Language is part of culture, and we have not lost the war.

When we consent to calling homosexuals ‘gays’ and refuse to talk about Islamists; when we consent to having our lexicon curtailed by the Communist rabble, then we will have lost the war.

Some of the GOPE have lost the war because they accept the Communists’ premises about Conservatives and rush to distance themselves from us. To them, I say this: bugger off!

    Browndog in reply to Juba Doobai!. | April 11, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Language is how humans communicate with other humans.

    Abruptly changing language/word definitions leads only to confusion among the populace, and communication is thwarted.

    Ever hear an inner-city, public school trained minority try to speak fluent English, and communicate their thoughts?

    It’s no accident.

    Progress…

      Juba Doobai! in reply to Browndog. | April 11, 2013 at 10:43 pm

      As I said, language is part of culture.

      The culture of inner city minorities is heavily biased against sounding educated because they have allowed the ignorantti amongst them to define what is acceptable language use and whether or not to be educated is something worthy. Toeing that line prevents the ignorami from feeling ignorant.

      Refusing to toe that line will force change in the culture. Therefore, I do not use words like “gays,” “non-documented workers,” and other such idiocies. A proper and efficient use of language involves using one word to express yourself clearly and concisely. So, “gay” is not an appropriate substitute for “homosexual” and neither is “N-DW” acceptable for “illegal alien.”

I will now be using “illegal resident”.

It is, perhaps, even more accurate, as it includes those who overstayed visas allowing legal entry.

“Migrant” means moving around from place to place without being settled in a particular place, and is not a synonym for “immigrant” or “emigrant”.

DINORightMarie | April 11, 2013 at 11:40 am

Here is a great example of “the war on language:”

Conservativism means “restricting personal freedoms” according to public school crossword ….from Wisconsin – but it could be ANYWHERE in ANY public school.

And probably is…..

And for God’s sake stop using the “G-marriage” term. It’s a civil union. If other than between one man and one woman, then a union is NOT a marriage.

Semantic games is not innovative. It is selective. We have not lost the language, but its free use. We are semantic slaves.

Sometimes abortion is indiscriminately labeled as babykilling. There are politicians who tell me that family values do not stop at the Rio Grande (while their agribusiness backers profit from Americans yielding jobs to illegal aliens).

What’s the gripe that Real Conservatives™ have about Orwellian manipulation of the language: that it’s unethical, or that their adversaries are better at it?

    Ragspierre in reply to gs. | April 11, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Really…???

    You can’t distinguish between a polemical use of language (i.e., “babykilling” which it arguably IS) and the purposeful
    and institutional corruption of language as we’re discussing here?

    Or are you just driven to keep picking at conservatives with whom you disagree?

      ignore him, hes not worth responding to.

      1. You can’t distinguish between a polemical use of language…

      Afaic it’s not always polemical. Somebody who throws out that term is not interested in finding common ground or serious discussion.

      …(i.e., “babykilling” which it arguably IS)…

      The key word there is ‘arguably’. Whether, when, and under what conditions abortion is infanticide is the issue under debate. Throwing around terms like ‘babykilling’ is counterproductive wrt the undecided part of the audience.

      …and the purposeful and institutional corruption of language as we’re discussing here?

      “Family values do not stop at the Rio Grande” is an attempt at such manipulation of the language.

      Or are you just driven to keep picking at conservatives with whom you disagree?

      I am driven to keep picking at conservatives whose behavior, I fear, will put the likes of Elizabeth Warren or Hillary Clinton in the White House if it continues.

      2. I have suspected that our host underestimates the seriousness of the conservative predicament. If so, the pessimistic tone of the present post is actually encouraging in a contrarian sense.

        Ragspierre in reply to gs. | April 12, 2013 at 10:52 am

        Throwing around terms like ‘babykilling’ is counterproductive wrt the undecided part of the audience.
        ——————————————-

        Perhaps. In your opinion. But…objectively…it is not the same or even similar to an institutional, designed corruption of “illegal aliens”.

        You are simply wrong. And I think you know it.

          Players across the political spectrum try to manipulate the language for partisan purposes. The Democrats are more successful at it than the Republicans are.

          Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | April 13, 2013 at 8:21 am

          Conservatives call illegal aliens what they are.

          We call abortion “abortion”.

          We call gun-grabbers “gun grabbers”.

          & etc.

          So I reject your premise.

” Do not use illegal or illegals as a noun. It is considered pejorative by most immigrants.”

What is the greater offense? Entering the country illegally and staying illegally or using accurate words to describe an illegal alien?

    ThomasD in reply to Sanddog. | April 11, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    It is pejorative.

    That is entirely the point of any pejorative – identifying negative and/or criminal behavior as, and for what it is.

    That legal immigrants recognize that a distinction is being drawn between their own status, and that of the usurpers, is not a bug it is a feature.

    That is why the lefists hate it so much and it must not be sacrificed on the altar of PC.

There’s a lot to learn from this ‘regular guy” linguist:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYhyOqUNieE

Taxes are revenue enhancements.

Spending is investment.

A minute decrease of the increase in government spending is a drastic cut.

We have indeed lost the language to the charlatans of the left.

Noam Chomsky campaign 2 subvert USA? socialists won

[…] First they came for the language Language is destiny, and we have lost the language […]

[…] Jacobson over at Legal Insurrection has a recent post on how “language is destiny, and we have lost the language.” Indeed, […]

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