Sunday, January 3, 2010

Talking about people who aren't your everyday cracker

"Cracker" is a word for white people that some white people don't like, but usually they just deal with because white people don't have it so bad. Ideally, they like to be called "Caucasian" or "Anglo-Saxon," although I don't think the Angles or Saxons exist anymore.

I realized the feat in the title of this post was tricky in my Chinese class, when my teacher translated a Chinese sentences as "He gave the money to the Mexican," and it made my whole class giggle.

This is an incredibly complicated issue, so I won't write a thesis or anything, just give some basic tips.

My teacher's problem was that he used another nationality as a noun with an article (an article is something like "the" or "a"). There is something rude about making a nationality into a noun in contemporary English. Instead, it is better to use the nationality as an adjective with "man" or "woman" after it.

No nos - these commit the former error, and also use offensive terminology
Chinaman (but Chinese man is ok)

There are more but those are the most common.

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