Misuse of the word "ethnic"

  • Kazachok

    Posts: 415

    Dec 09, 2013 6:57 PM GMT
    Recently it has come to my attention that the word "ethnic" is being misused quite a lot. It is being used as a synonym for foreign (ethnic food) and as a synonym for nonwhite.
    Ethnic really just pertains to "ethnos," a people, folk, or race. All (or most) food is ethnic, because it comes from a certain ethnicity.
    And I belong to an ethnicity too.
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    Dec 09, 2013 7:01 PM GMT
    True - but it's not as misused as the word "racist."
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    Dec 09, 2013 7:03 PM GMT
    JohnSpotter saidTrue - but it's not as misused as the word "racist."


    or 'preference' icon_lol.gif
  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    Dec 09, 2013 7:22 PM GMT
    Sometimes I think "ethnic" is a particularly divisive word. We have real differences, but some of these divisions are just totally superficial and unnecessary.
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    Dec 09, 2013 8:38 PM GMT
    Kazachok saidRecently it has come to my attention that the word "ethnic" is being misused quite a lot. It is being used as a synonym for foreign (ethnic food) and as a synonym for nonwhite.

    English is an interesting language - used in the states, Canada, the UK and India, and it seems to be different in each place. The meaning of ethnic you are writing about certainly exists in the US - I wonder how the word is used in the UK or Canada. As to misuse - languages change, and the meanings of word evolve over time. A modern linguist would probably say that a word means what users of the word intend by it. Ethnic has definitely acquired in the US the meanings you disparage, but that is because people use the word to mean such. If we were talking about a French word, the Academie could prescribe correct meanings. We don't have the equivalent of the French Academie in the US or UK.
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    Dec 09, 2013 8:41 PM GMT
    JohnSpotter saidTrue - but it's not as misused as the word "racist."



    Good luck explaining that to TroyAsslete.