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query: distorted languages?

From:Yoon Ha Lee <yl112@...>
Date:Wednesday, August 30, 2000, 2:05
WWII in Europe lecture was interesting today--the prof did an overview of
topics, and one thing he mentioned was that some British literary critic
(George Steiner?  he didn't write the name on the board so I'm guessing
here) said (no sources mentioned either) that after WWII, German was
"distorted and crippled" due to the use of formerly "normal" and fairly
inoffensive words for ideologically-charged activities.  Examples he gave
from Steiner (presumably) were "judenrein" and "Gleischaltung."

I was puzzled--the prof didn't get around to saying how much *he* agreed
with this, but the argument was apparently that German was severely
crippled by the "loss" of such words due to newly acquired and highly
unpleasant Nazi connotations.  I kept thinking, Then how can I be taking
a German class this semester?  It seemed to me that maybe people would
stop using particular ideologically-charged words (I have a 1960's German
grammar and I know every time *I* see "Fuehrer" for "taxi driver" I
jump), but wouldn't people just damp down those connotations over time,
or shift to alternate vocabulary?  (I should've stayed after class and
asked for details, but I had to run to, well, German class.)  German
seems pretty darn alive to me.  <shrug>

ObConLang: have any of y'all incorporated that sort of pejoration
process?  It honestly hadn't been something I'd thought about, though if
I pattern the eastern horsemen after the Mongols, I may borrow the
Mongols' habit of executing people of noble blood by rolling 'em up in
carpets and kicking 'em to death, and maybe the loan of "carpet" from
that language would mean "to kill."  <rueful look>