A pejorative or slur is a word or grammatical form expressing a negative connotation, a low opinion, or a lack of respect toward someone or something. It is also used to express criticism, hostility, or disregard. Sometimes, a term is regarded as pejorative in some social or ethnic groups but not in others, or may be originally pejorative but later adopt a non-pejorative sense (or vice versa) in some or all contexts.
Definition and etymology
When a term begins as pejorative and eventually is adopted in a non-pejorative sense, this is called "melioration" in historical linguistics. It may also be called amelioration, reclaiming, or semantic change. An example is queer, which was reclaimed by activists and academics starting in the early 1990s.
- "Pejorative | Define Pejorative at Dictionary.com". Dictionary.reference.com. Retrieved 2012-04-25.
- "Pejorative (adj.)". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved October 16, 2016.
- Brontsema, Robin (2004-06-01). "A Queer Revolution: Reconceptualizing the Debate Over Linguistic Reclamation". Colorado Research in Linguistics. 17 (1). doi:10.25810/dky3-zq57. ISSN 1937-7029.
Linguistic reclamation, also known as linguistic resignification or reappropriation, refers to the appropriation of a pejorative epithet by its target(s).
- "Power grab: reclaiming words can be such a bitch". the Guardian. 2015-10-30. Retrieved 2020-06-15.
- Croom, Adam M. (2011). "Slurs". Language Sciences. 33 (3): 343–358. doi:10.1016/j.langsci.2010.11.005.
- Croom, Adam M. (2014). "Remarks on 'The Semantics of Racial Slurs'". Linguistic and Philosophical Investigations. 13 (1). pp. 11–32.
- Croom, Adam M. (January 2014). "The Semantics of Slurs: A Refutation of Pure Expressivism". Language Sciences. 41, Part B. pp. 227–242. doi:10.1016/j.langsci.2013.07.003.
- Henderson, Anita (Spring 2003). "What's in a Slur?". American Speech. 78 (1). Project MUSE. pp. 52–74.
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