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pash
10-15-2006, 03:06 AM
Hi, All

What is the semantic prosody* of the word "Eurocentric" for you?

Semantic prosody, also discourse prosody, describes the way in which certain seemingly neutral words can come to carry positive or negative associations through frequently occurring with particular collocations (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collocation).

Lee G.
10-15-2006, 04:08 AM
Hmm... I'll take a stab at this. I guess it has a negative connotation to me because I associate it with imperialism.

maestrowork
10-15-2006, 04:17 AM
The "centric" is the issue here. For me, it carries similar connotation as "egocentric." Self-importance. Center of the universe.

veinglory
10-15-2006, 04:20 AM
Indeed. "Centric" suggests an unjustified emphasis rather than a natural focus.

pash
10-15-2006, 12:35 PM
Thanks, all.

pianoman5
10-16-2006, 03:45 AM
I don't think it quite fits the definition. While it may often turn up in whole sentences that carry a snooty, inward-looking connotation, I can't think of any specific word collocations that turn up frequently enough to justify the term on its own having a negative semantic prosody by general consent.

If "The Professor of Modern Literature at the Sorbonne is a Eurocentric a**hole" were a phrase on everyone's lips, it certainly would qualify.

But until such associations are commonplace, we can only judge its meaning from context. Consider this:

"Its small size coupled with the high cost of setting up and maintaining distant subsidiaries has forced the Belgian company Hercule Poirot et Cie to become exclusively Eurocentric in its focus."

In that context it's not negative, just a neutral statement of fact.

pash
10-16-2006, 01:55 PM
<But until such associations are commonplace, we can only judge its meaning from context.>

But we don't often do that. Many words or expressions seem to carry an out-of-context association of the negative or positive.

Medievalist
10-16-2006, 06:33 PM
Words carry baggage with them, much of it affecting individuals rather than groups.

I have an unreasonable dislike of the phrase "due to." It's perfectly grammatical, usually, when it's used but it's mildly annoying every time I hear it.

I suspect that "due to" annoys me because I initially was exposed to it in a corporate environment, where the prose is deadly and some phrases are over used.

"Due to" almost always heralded bad news "due to unforeseen circumstances, we are releasing our entire suboribital group. You may pick up your checks in payroll after 4 pm."

"Due to inclement weather, tomorrow's hike has been cancelled."

'Due to lack of interest, tomorrow has been cancelled."

CaroGirl
10-16-2006, 06:46 PM
Ah yes. "Due to" and its fiendish, wordy friend, "Due to the fact that". I ask you, whatever happened to good old because? I like because. Direct, to the point. He's not a bad word.

Due to the fact that this expression bugs the hell out of me, because shall be used in its place at all times.

And please don't cancel tomorrow. I have a badly needed hair appointment I don't want to miss.

pash
10-16-2006, 07:12 PM
<Words carry baggage with them, much of it affecting individuals rather than groups.>

How about "Eurocentric"? Does it have negative semantic prosody for you?

pdr
10-17-2006, 03:47 AM
with words using centric that so many of us associate it with Freud and egocentric?

Being egocentric is not usually a good thing so we seem to have a cultural bent to seeing words like Eurocentric as being selfishly and inwardly looking at Europe without considering the rest of the world.

Duncan J Macdonald
10-17-2006, 04:55 AM
<Words carry baggage with them, much of it affecting individuals rather than groups.>

How about "Eurocentric"? Does it have negative semantic prosody for you?To me, the terminology is new enough that it holds no contextual baggage of its own. I would have to see the rest of the context to see what the writer was intending.