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Why is Jap disparaging while Japanese ok?

When we talk about a person living in America and coming from Japan, the following are usual:

He is Japanese.
He is a Japanese man.

But when we say

He's a Jap.
He's a Japanman.

we intend to be pejorative.


For learning: English
Base language: English
Category: Culture



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    Best Answer - Chosen by the Asker
    Hello, Zeus:

    As you know, the United States has many races.

    In the past, people used many words to describe the different races.

    Today, however, people are very careful to use only certain words.

    So you need to learn the words that are currently accepted.

    For example, Chinese people are now referred to as "Asians."

    When I was young (I am 76), it was OK to refer to Chinese people as "Orientals."

    Today, it is considered offensive.

    And, of course, it is SUPER offensive to use the word "Chinaman." But it IS OK to use the words "Englishman" or "Frenchman." Languages are very strange, aren't they!

    The abbreviation of a friends name is often a sign of familiarity, or friendship.

    However, the abbreviation of the title of a whole country of people is a gross generalisation. it is presumptive to assume the right to refer to a whole race of people by a moniker, unless they have chosen it themselves.

    In this case, the name jap is associated with World War II, during which it iwas common to de-humanise the enemy. Therefore, to think of, or refer to a person as a jap, has a connotation that you think it is ok to hate them. It's origin is from a usage where it was considered ok to kill them (due to being on the other side of a war). Such things happen in war, but we need to put this hatred aside afterwards. Thus, it is taboo, except for those who still carry this hatred.

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