Linguist, lexicographer, radio host, public speaker

Tíu litlir negrastrákar

A bit of a brouhaha is taking place in Iceland over the question of whether the word negri, meaning “negro,” is pejorative.

Tolerating Intolerance. “In most of the western world, a book called ‘Ten Little Negro Boys’ would not make it past the agent’s desk, let alone down onto the presses and onwards into most bookshops in the land. And once in the shops, this book would not usually go straight to the top of the best sellers list. But that is exactly what has happened in Iceland over the last week or two.”

And then there were…. “The Icelandic lexicographer Mördur Árnason has however argued that the Icelandic word negri (‘negro’) in itself is not pejorative, though it has on occasion had a negative meaning applied to it. But, I would still be interested to know the reason why so many people find the book worthy of purchase.”

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Grant Barrett