RUSH: I had this story from Friday and it just never made it to the top of the Stack. Do you remember somebody in the Washington, DC, city government, some function, I forget the office, in a council hearing used the word “niggardly,” which means selfish and tight, cheap — used the word “niggardly,” and they went bonkers and they made the guy practically resign. In fact, I think he did resign, over his poor choice of words. It was n-i-g-g-a-r-d-l-y, niggardly, and this guy just didn’t want to put up with the cacophony of outrage from genuine low-information idiots.
Well, it’s happened again. “A man working for an English language learning center in Utah says he was fired after writing a blog post about homophones, which his boss complained made their school ‘associated with homosexuality.’ Tom Torkildson had worked at the Nomen Global Language Center in Provo for three months when he wrote about homophones.”
Do you know what a homophone is? Well, what did you think a homophone is? (interruption) A gay telephone? You think it’s a gay telephone? A homophone? (interruption) No, no. It’s not a musical instrument.
A homophone is a word that sounds the same but has different meaning. Words that sound alike but have different meaning, like through and threw, t-h-r-o-u-g-h, t-h-r-e-w. Those are homophones. Be and bee, b-e, b-e-e.
“Torkildson wanted the English language learners to grasp this concept early on, and although he told The Salt Lake Tribune that he knew the ‘homo’ part of the word,” could be problematic. Why is it? Because it’s “politically charged.” Can you imagine, so niggardly and homophones are a couple of words that will soon find themselves thrown out of the English language because they offend, even though they have specific meanings.