Monday 30th of November 2020

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Feminazi, breastfeeding nazi, grammar nazi. A critical analysis of nazi insults in contemporary media discourses

Geraldine Horan, University College London pdf_icon_30x30

 

g.horan(at)ucl.ac.uk

 

Abstract: Nazi is a well-known political insult in many languages, and since entering the English language, it has spawned a substantial number of expressions, including feminazi, breastfeeding nazi, grammar nazi. The range of expressions and their plentiful use in online and social media suggest that the link between nazi in its historical sense and in its relatively recent metaphorical sense is becoming less apparent. Therefore, a grammar nazi, for example, is arguably not a type of nazi, but rather a “fanatic” or “strict enforcer” of language rules. In this article, I will examine critically the connections between nazi as a historical, political and metaphorical insult. With a particular focus on feminazi, I will argue that its offensiveness as an insult is strongly dependent on its associations with National Socialism. The article will also discuss the interlingual and cross-cultural significance of nazi insults; in particular, the recent trend in German towards employing expressions such as feminazi and Grammatiknazi (“grammar nazi”) in online and social media discourses.

 

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