Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Steve Evans: Language Usage 19-20, Etymology 14-16, and Neologism 7-8

Headline in Johnson City Press, Monday July 20, 2009, page 8A (in the OpEd section) [OpEd is a neologism for Opinion - Editorial; entry no. 7]:

Are Latinos ethnic or a racial minority? (19)

An interesting question pertaining to language usage here. Is it a question related to semantics only? The article, however, argues that Latinos are not a racial minority, but, rather, are ethnic, while the African-American is, indeed, a racial minority. And this conclusion is based soley on the slavery issue and discrimination!

Part of the article reads: As the American generations move away from their foreign origins, the old culture tends to rest more in recipes and less in the sense of being different from co-workers who root for the same football team. That combo platter of identity, rather than race, is what makes Latinos seem ethnic - and many middle-class blacks, as well. (20)

Here are some etymologies related to the artcle:

"Latin inhabitant of the United States," 1946, Amer.Eng., from Amer.Sp., shortening of Latinoamericano "Latin-American." As an adj., attested from 1974. [This is also a neologism - entry no. 8] (14)

c.1375, from Scottish, "heathen, pagan," and having that sense first in Eng., from Gk. ta ethne, used in Septuagint translation to render Heb. goyim, pl. of goy "nation," especially of non-Israelites, hence "Gentile nation." Ta ethne is from Gk. ethnos "band of people living together, nation, people," prop. “people of one's own kind,” from PIE *swedh-no-, suffixed form of base *s(w)e- (see idiom). Sense of "peculiar to a race or nation" is 1851, return to the word's original meaning; that of "different cultural groups" is 1935; and that of "racial, cultural or national minority group" is Amer.Eng. 1945. Ethnicity is from 1953; ethnic cleansing is from 1991. (15)

1533, "condition of being smaller," from M.L. minoritatem (nom. minoritas), from L. minor (see minor). Meaning "state of being under legal age" is from 1547; that of "smaller number or part" is from 1736. The meaning "group of people separated from the rest of a community by race, religion, language, etc." is from 1921. (16)

No comments: