Discriminative Dictionary

Dictionary of Discriminative* Sayings, Proverbs, and Idioms in Turkish

(*Sexist, Racist, Xenophobic etc.)

“The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare upon the brains of the living.” (Karl Marx)

“Language is not neutral. It is not merely a vehicle, which carries ideas. It is itself a shaper of ideas.” (Dale Spender)

The specters of the past are haunting us. The generations of the present, anxious and hesitant about their future, are clutching onto the legacy of their ancestors, believing that they can exist in the modern world, whose salient and permanent characteristic is obscurity and volatility, only under its shadow. Since they are afraid of facing themselves right here and right now, they identify the present with its past, thus reproduce it under its shadow.  They prefer to repeat, as they are not used to create in exactly the same way that they are forced to become stereotypes, as they “cannot” think. This legacy, reproduced every day by the ordinary language, is not totally innocent. It contains not only wisdom, discretion, and reason; but also centuries-long social hysterias, prejudices, and obsessions. Language is not a neutral means of communication; it is the very instant reproduction of the present power relations and of the domination of one gender, religion, sect, race, and class over the other(s). Language creates others. The other of the present, through language, is thrown next to the others of the past. At the end, the fears of our ancestors have turned into our nightmares, their prejudices into our obsessions, and their passions into our hysteria.

While Turkish Linguistic Society has begun to erase, in a hurry, the discriminative idioms and proverbs in the dictionaries; we aim to collect and assemble them not only to analyze the reproduction of discrimination via daily language, but also to expose and condemn them as hate crimes against society and humanity. Our objective is to problematize, rather than neglect, the discriminative language. We call for your contribution to this collective study.


Discriminative Dictionary in the Press:


– Interview by Bugün TV (Turkish): youtube.com

News and Articles:

1. Interview by GIT-North America (English): gitamerica.blogspot.com

2. Interview by CNN Türk (Turkish): cnnturk.com

3. Interview by HaberTürk (Turkish): haberturk.com

4. Article in AGOS (Turkish): picasaweb.google.com

5. Topic in Ekşi Sözlük (Turkish): eksisozluk.com

Discriminative Dictionary

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