Mind and Language 35 (2):156-182 (2020)

Authors
Robert Stainton
Western University
Chang Liu
Peking University
Abstract
Most theories of slurs fall into one of two families: those which understand slurring terms to involve special descriptive/informational content (however conveyed), and those which understand them to encode special emotive/expressive content. Our view is that both offer essential insights, but that part of what sets slurs apart is use-theoretic content. In particular, we urge that slurring words belong at the intersection of a number of categories in a sociolinguistic register taxonomy, one that usually includes [+slang] and [+vulgar] and always includes [-polite] and [+derogatory]. Thus, e.g., what distinguishes ‘Chinese’ from ‘chink’ is neither a peculiar sort of descriptive nor emotional content, but rather the fact that ‘chink’ is lexically marked as belonging to different registers than ‘Chinese’. It is, moreover, partly such facts which makes slurring ethically unacceptable.
Keywords meaning pluralism  pragmatics  semantics  slurs  sociolinguistic register  use‐theoretic meanings
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Reprint years 2019, 2020
DOI 10.1111/mila.12236
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References found in this work BETA

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The Social Life of Slurs.Geoffrey Nunberg - 2018 - In Daniel Fogal, Daniel Harris & Matt Moss (eds.), New Work on Speech Acts. Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

What is a Slur?Justina Diaz-Legaspe - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (5):1399-1422.
Multiculturalism, Autonomy, and Language Preservation.Ethan Nowak - 2019 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 6.
Slurs, Stereotypes and Insults.Eleonora Orlando & Andrés Saab - 2020 - Acta Analytica 35 (4):599-621.

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