You...you...Yuon!

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Kuroneko
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Re: You...you...Yuon!

Postby Kuroneko » Thu Jun 05, 2014 5:34 pm

Joon wrote:The word in itself is no more offensive than the word "chick" or "bitch".

It's the intention behind their usage that is offensive.
I think it would be more correct in the above example to equate the use of the word Yuon with "nigger" or "kaffir". For example would you be happy in saying "the word is no more offensive than the word nigger or kaffir"? At this point in time both words are considered offensive irrespective of context. In the past such words to describe Africa Americans and Indigenous South Africans were acceptable, at least to the "white" population. Now they are definitely not acceptable. In the '50's the terms were common. I don’t think the African Americans or Indigenous South Africans at the time particularly liked the respective labels, but there was little they could do about it. Its similar here, the Vietnamese do not like to be called 'Yuon" but being a minority pretty much have to put up with it. I was married to a Vietnamese woman for eight years and was very much part of the Vietnamese community. The term "yuon" was and is seen as offensive and I would no more think of using that term as I would using the word "nigger" to describe an African American.

To argue that a particular because a particular word was inoffensive in the past as a justification for using it in the present is really irrelevant as words change their meaning For example: “kaffir” was used in South Africa as a term for black person In South Africa today, the term is regarded as highly racially offensive, in the same way as "nigger" in the United States and other English-speaking countries. It is seldom used as an isolated insult, but rather is used systematically by openly racist individuals when talking about black people, and as such was very common in the apartheid era. Use of the word has been actionable in South African courts since at least 1976 under the offense of crimen injuria: "the unlawful, intentional and serious violation of the dignity of another. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaffir_(racial_term" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;)
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Re: You...you...Yuon!

Postby LTO » Thu Jun 05, 2014 11:26 pm

OrangeDragon wrote:Ah, as I understood it they were 2 separate cases of demonizing it. One by the KR/LN because they hated the Vietnamese, and one by the Vietnamese after the occupation at least in part because having just unified the country they wanted to ONLY be known as Vietnamese to anyone. Because prior to that there had, in Vietnam, been different names for north/south Vietnamese. Sort of an enforced unity thing. And as a result, while occupying Cambodia (when such declaration was quite fresh) they would also not tolerate usage of any word but "Vietnamese" from the Khmer.

Honestly, either is believable in my opinion. But I wonder how much reach the KR/LN actions would have into Vietnam to make such a thing considered pejorative to the population at large... or how much of a lasting impact it would have to make it pejorative to current generations.
Rather an odd notion - the object of a pejorative word later demonizing it by complaining that it was pejorative. Rather like claiming American blacks demonized the word nigger by complaining that whites used it pejoratively and demanding they stop using it.

I think it is possible that the word became even more pejorative during the occupation, but not because the Vietnamese demonized it, but because of the increased pejorative use by Khmers who were (not unjustifiably) resentful of the Vietnamese occupation.

When exactly it took on these pejorative connotations, and when they became more intense and why, while interesting historical questions, really does not speak to whether the word is in fact pejorative in modern Cambodia as spoken by Cambodians. Trying to justify/defend the word via historical, traditional, etiological arguments (e.g. it is a derivative of their place of origin Yunnan, or a derivative of the Chinese Yeuh Nam, it had benign origins, it is traditional, etc.) misses the point that regardless how it may have been used in the past or why or when it became pejorative, that in Khmer language as it is spoken in Cambodia today, it is a word with a very high potential to carry pejorative connotations. So high that the contexts in which it is not pejorative is probably a much short list than the contexts in which it is. If you are ordering soup or have a earthy conversation with rural folk, yeah, it might not be pejorative, or too pejorative. But in a political context, you can count on it being pejorative about 100% of the time.
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Re: You...you...Yuon!

Postby OrangeDragon » Thu Jun 05, 2014 11:41 pm

LTO wrote:
OrangeDragon wrote:Ah, as I understood it they were 2 separate cases of demonizing it. One by the KR/LN because they hated the Vietnamese, and one by the Vietnamese after the occupation at least in part because having just unified the country they wanted to ONLY be known as Vietnamese to anyone. Because prior to that there had, in Vietnam, been different names for north/south Vietnamese. Sort of an enforced unity thing. And as a result, while occupying Cambodia (when such declaration was quite fresh) they would also not tolerate usage of any word but "Vietnamese" from the Khmer.

Honestly, either is believable in my opinion. But I wonder how much reach the KR/LN actions would have into Vietnam to make such a thing considered pejorative to the population at large... or how much of a lasting impact it would have to make it pejorative to current generations.
Rather an odd notion - the object of a pejorative word later demonizing it by complaining that it was pejorative. Rather like claiming American blacks demonized the word nigger by complaining that whites used it pejoratively and demanding they stop using it.

I think it is possible that the word became even more pejorative during the occupation, but not because the Vietnamese demonized it, but because of the increased pejorative use by Khmers who were (not unjustifiably) resentful of the Vietnamese occupation.

When exactly it took on these pejorative connotations, and when they became more intense and why, while interesting historical questions, really does not speak to whether the word is in fact pejorative in modern Cambodia as spoken by Cambodians. Trying to justify/defend the word via historical, traditional, etiological arguments (e.g. it is a derivative of their place of origin Yunnan, or a derivative of the Chinese Yeuh Nam, it had benign origins, it is traditional, etc.) misses the point that regardless how it may have been used in the past or why or when it became pejorative, that in Khmer language as it is spoken in Cambodia today, it is a word with a very high potential to carry pejorative connotations. So high that the contexts in which it is not pejorative is a much short list that the contexts in which it is. If you are ordering soup or have a earthy conversation with rural folk, yeah, it might not be pejorative, or too pejorative. But in a political context, you can count on it being pejorative about 100% of the time.
I agree with this, but I think that the last bits about both political context and the assumption that it has a high potential to carry pejorative connotations are askew and tied to one another. Anecdotally, I've seen it frequently used in the provinces by my family (who have no ill will towards vietnam or the vietnamese and interact with them regularly) as just "what they call it". They're very near to the Vietnamese border, and the tone used in their conversations (I'm far from fluent enough to know exactly what was said, but can tell a significant amount from the few surrounding words i get and their facial expressions which I've become quite familiar with) never seems in any way negative while using it. It's just "what they call it". Now, I suppose they could be exceptions... but I highly doubt it. I think as you get away from the cosmopolitan regions around major cities (Svay Rieng is far from what I'd qualify as a major city) you'd find it's common, yet non pejorative, use increase.

That said, if this in fact holds true, then any political candidate trying to speak to them with his message is best off using the term as well... as it's one they are familiar with and will be more likely to understand. This is in fact what SR has claimed as his reasoning for it's usage in his Khmer speeches, and I've not heard any examples of his English language speeches use it (like those intentionally using it as a pejorative tend to do, mixing it into their English despite Vietnamese being the English word). Even the article JB posted in here regarding Sokah the mixing of "youn" and English is done by a translator or journalist, not by the original speaker. I think in most cases in Khmer language where you hear it ANY word referring to the Vietnamese would be considered a pejorative based on the context IF "youn" is being used as one.

Just like there's a major difference between "did you see a black guy walk by here just now?" and "did you see that black bastard walk by here just now?" In that example the word "black" is only pejorative based on surrounding context, but in any other normal everyday descriptive usage it wouldn't be considered such.
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Re: You...you...Yuon!

Postby vladimir » Fri Jun 06, 2014 5:45 am

What we really need to do is ask some Vietnamese people...

Otherwise it's like a whole bunch of honkies discussing what it's like to be black.
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Re: You...you...Yuon!

Postby Bac Ho Bro » Fri Jun 06, 2014 9:18 am

vladimir wrote:What we really need to do is ask some Vietnamese people...

Otherwise it's like a whole bunch of honkies discussing what it's like to be black.
Hi,
Like most up here I'm also just a honky.
But I've lived in Vietnam for 10 years and Cambodia for 2 years prior and feel generally qualified to speak on behalf of the Viets.
I invite any Khmer or Honky to visit Vietnam and bandy the word Youn about and see the reaction you receive.
One can intellectualize and dig up whatever "academic" research on the word you like, but it's derogatory pure and simple.
Most dealings I've had with Khmer have been the urban Khmer and I can say where they're concerned, the word is used in a derogatory way. If not I found they used the word Vietnam.
Good luck with the new forum btw.
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Re: You...you...Yuon!

Postby FreeSocrates! » Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:26 am

vladimir wrote:What we really need to do is ask some Vietnamese people...

Otherwise it's like a whole bunch of honkies discussing what it's like to be black.
:plus1:
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Re: You...you...Yuon!

Postby Jaap N. » Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:38 am

Bac Ho Bro wrote:
vladimir wrote:What we really need to do is ask some Vietnamese people...

Otherwise it's like a whole bunch of honkies discussing what it's like to be black.
Hi,
Like most up here I'm also just a honky.
But I've lived in Vietnam for 10 years and Cambodia for 2 years prior and feel generally qualified to speak on behalf of the Viets.
I invite any Khmer or Honky to visit Vietnam and bandy the word Youn about and see the reaction you receive.
One can intellectualize and dig up whatever "academic" research on the word you like, but it's derogatory pure and simple.
Most dealings I've had with Khmer have been the urban Khmer and I can say where they're concerned, the word is used in a derogatory way. If not I found they used the word Vietnam.
Good luck with the new forum btw.
vlad, +1
I liked Bac Ho Bro's down-to-earth response. :thumb:
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Re: You...you...Yuon!

Postby Kuroneko » Fri Jun 06, 2014 12:07 pm

vladimir wrote:What we really need to do is ask some Vietnamese people...

Otherwise it's like a whole bunch of honkies discussing what it's like to be black.
Exactly what I said in my above post
Kuroneko wrote:the Vietnamese do not like to be called 'Yuon" but being a minority pretty much have to put up with it. I was married to a Vietnamese woman for eight years and was very much part of the Vietnamese community. The term "yuon" was and is seen as offensive and I would no more think of using that term as I would using the word "nigger" to describe an African American.
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Re: You...you...Yuon!

Postby OrangeDragon » Fri Jun 06, 2014 12:53 pm

But I've heard some pretty conflicting view on that... apparently some Vietnamese don't really mind it at all and see it as just a part of the Khmer language. Seems to be inconsistent. If you look for it there are even whole online conversations between English speaking Khmer and Vietnamese on the subject.
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Re: You...you...Yuon!

Postby JBTrain » Fri Jun 06, 2014 1:22 pm

OrangeDragon wrote:But I've heard some pretty conflicting view on that... apparently some Vietnamese don't really mind it at all and see it as just a part of the Khmer language. Seems to be inconsistent. If you look for it there are even whole online conversations between English speaking Khmer and Vietnamese on the subject.
Conflicting like climate scientists?

There are black Republicans too but as was suggested I would love to see you walk into a Viet bar or tea shop and start throwing yuon around.

Anyway here's a good discussion among some big names in Cambodian studies

http://www.lib.washington.edu/SouthEast ... 0Mien.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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