Last modified on 20 December 2014, at 13:30


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Although entry indicates this term is offensive, Richard Clayderman, pianist, uses it postively. —This comment was unsigned.

pragmatics - might want to look into that. JamesjiaoTC 00:48, 3 March 2014 (UTC)
I commented on this word the other day. If we can find a reference noting that some German-speaking Romanis use Zigeuner positively, we can add a note to that effect to the entry. A French pianist is not a credible reference regarding the offensiveness or inoffensiveness of a German word for "Romani". - -sche (discuss) 01:13, 3 March 2014 (UTC)
Zigeuner make great schnitzels. —Stephen (Talk) 11:34, 3 March 2014 (UTC)
@-sche: I wonder if the "offensive" label is prescriptive here? As far as I remember it wasn't only about 20 years ago. What about Gypsy songs? Do you call them "Romalieder" instead of "Zigeunerlieader" now? BTW, in Russian цыга́н (cygán) is not considered offensive but Russia lags behind in political correctness. I think someone has removed translations such as цыга́н (cygán) from Roma. They belong there, as derivatives from "Roma" may not be even known well or used in some languages. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 14:46, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
@Anatoli; apologies for taking so long to reply to you —
Given the usage notes, the "offensive" label is definitely warranted. In turn, the usage notes say what I was able to find support (published references) for saying. I did allow myself to cite a wholly unreliable/irrelevant-looking book (the cover is a blonde girl finger-painting a wall) at the end to support the statement that some people, even some Romanis, do still use the term, because I know that to be true... but I do not think the notes should go much further without reliable sources to back them up.
Zigeuner in German is similar to Gypsy and darkey in English. Some people find it very offensive. Other (often older, less educated, more conservative) people are not aware that the first group of people find it offensive, or think that they should not find it offensive. However:
  1. That doesn't reduce the offensiveness of the term. If I accidentally or playfully punch someone, and they wince and say "ow! that really hurt", it wouldn't be sensible or sensitive for me to say "no it didn't. I didn't mean to hurt you, so you shouldn't feel hurt". Instead, I should say "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you, and I didn't realise that what I did would hurt. I won't do it again."
  2. Whereas the neutral use of Gypsy in English is well-documented, I was not able to find documentation (aside from the blonde girl finger-painting a wall) saying Zigeuner can be used neutrally, and I don't think it would be appropriate to counter a well-referenced claim (that Zigeuner is offensive) with OR.
Re Zigeunerlieder: proper nouns are often retained even when events overtake them, hence the Americans still have a "National Association for the Advancement of Colored People" even though "colored people" is dated and possibly offensive outside of the phrase. I looked at the first 40 and last 40 of the 231 Google Books that use "Zigeunerlieder": 85% are English-language books using it as a proper noun, the name of a set of musical works, and the rest are German-language books (often from before 1930) using it the same way; none of the books used it as a common noun, the way some books use "Lieder der Roma". - -sche (discuss) 20:13, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

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