LINGUIST List 9.1595

Thu Nov 12 1998

Qs: Manifest destiny, Derogatory terms

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  1. Lynn Alan Eubank, Textual analysis of manifest destiny
  2. Marnie Petray, Derogatory terms

Message 1: Textual analysis of manifest destiny

Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1998 07:39:33 -0600 (CST)
From: Lynn Alan Eubank <>
Subject: Textual analysis of manifest destiny

- -------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1998 22:55:57 -0600
From: Linda Hudson <>
Subject: Textual analysis of manifest destiny

	I am a Ph.D. student in the UNT History Department and writing
a dissertation under the direction of Mike Campbell with Jim Lee as my
minor professor in Folklore.
	Dr. Lee suggested that I contact you for suggestions as how to
analyze further in another field my conclusion that John L. O'Sullivan
did not write the anonymous article, "Annexation, " in the UNITED
term"Manifest Destiny" was first used. Instead, Jane McManus Storm,
later Cazneau, whose pen name was Cora Montgomery, was his political
editor, and she wrote the expansionist propaganda as well as that
article containing the term manifest destiny.
	The method that I used to verify this conslusion aside from
style, tone, voice, and those other things that signify an author was
to type in the first 300 words of a signed article by O'Sullivan and
Mrs. Storm and "Annexation." I then ran the WordPerfect program
Grammatik that analyzed grammatical errors, and created a statistical
base with which I compared the three articles.

	O'Sullivan, with a master's degree from Columbia University, had no
grammatical errors, but because of such things as big words and other non
grammatical flags, showed a similarity of 41.5 % to "Annexation."
	Mrs. Storm, on the other hand showed a 79.6 % similarity to
"Annexation." with some categories having 100% similarity. Also some
of the letters from O'Sullivan to President Polk were in her
handwriting, but his rambling incoherent style, which would indicate
that she was his secretary or assistant.
	Is there a computer program in Linguistics or grammar that you
know of that would verify what I have concluded from the limited use
of Grammatik. I have used other things beside grammar. For example,
words per sentence, grade level, use of big words, complex sentences,
and O'Sullivan used "We" whereas she used "Our" to describe the policy
of the magazine and to refer to the United States.
	Also, a recent dissertation on O'Sullivan shows that when
Mrs. Storm went to the NEW YORK SUN where she had her signed column on
national politics as Washington correspondent, O'Sullivan then hired a
new political editor, John Bigelow to write the political articles
each month and they changed significantly in tone and voice and
	I may be reached at the oral history office on m-w between
10:00 and 4:00 where I am currently transcribing part-time. 565- 2549
or at my home at other times 817-232-0177.
	Thank you for your consideration and I eagerly await your
response. I am to defend this dissertation on Dec 4., thus would like
to get with you long before that date.


Linda Hudson
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Message 2: Derogatory terms

Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1998 16:13:19 -0500 (EST)
From: Marnie Petray <>
Subject: Derogatory terms

Our literary theory reading group is reading Wray & Newitz's _White
Trash: Race and Class in America_, and we came across an interesting
point relating to linguistics. In the Introduction, the editors
argue, "White trash becomes a term which names what seems unnamable: a
race (white) which is used to code 'wealth' is coupled with an insult
(trash) which means, in this instance, economic waste. Race is
therefore used to 'explain' class, but class stands out as the
principle term here, precisely because whiteness is so rarely
connected to poverty in the U.S. imaginary." (p. 8)

So, we were wondering about cases of epithets in other languages where
the head of the NP is semantically connected to social class, or
another culturally coded category--race, gender, ethnicity. Items
relating to a sub-group within the stereotypical "majority" are of
special interest.

Please post responses to me at the address below. I'll post a summary
to the list.

Marnie Jo Petray
Slippery Rock University of PA
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