Language Change

"Niggardly" is an adjective meaning "stingy" or "miserly", perhaps related to the Old Norse verb nigla = "to fuss about small matters". It is cognate with "niggling", meaning "petty" or "unimportant", as in "the niggling details". 'Niggardly' is sometimes thought to be related to 'nigger', with unfortunate consequences. This is despite the fact that “Niggardly” means parsimonious or stingy and is derived from the Old Norse language. “Niggardly,” as you will thankfully already know or will doubtless be relieved to hear, is not related to the Latin word for black “niger” and thus is in no way connected to the deeply pernicious, pejorative racial epithet known in common parlance as the n-word.   The fact that from the 1950s onwards the word usage has dramatically declined would suggest that it corresponds with the ever increasing use of “political correctness”, the idea that the first five letters of such a word would be deemed a racial slur, often deters the use of it and so it and it’s noun “niggard” rarely exists in written literature nowadays.

The word homosexual brings about not only a change in language but a change in views, opinions and outlooks. Prior to the 19tyh century, no official word existed in the English language to describe a homosexual orientation. Indeed, the whole concept of 'heterosexual bisexual and homosexual' is a relatively new one, because of this, the word wouldn’t have been used often, due to its connotations and the idea that homosexuality, in those times, was something to be condemned. However, nowadays homosexuality is widely viewed and something more ordinary and is rarely seen as something to be embarrassed about and so the usage of the word has increased, showing that the evolution of views and opinions and the portrayal of homosexuality has caused the notion of the word to increase and become a normal everyday word, within everybody’s vocabulary.