Locals blast crime-hit Sheffield ‘ghetto’ where 6,000 Eastern European immigrants have settled since 2012

I wrote this as a part of my Open University assignment.


Locals blast crime-hit Sheffield ‘ghetto’ where 6,000 Eastern European immigrants have settled since 2012


This headline, similarly to ‘Total Khanage’ uses imagery, metaphors and emotive language.

The term ‘empire’ denotes a domination of Sheffield. ‘Empire’ is a noun, defined as: ‘ a group of nations or peoples ruled over by an emperor, empress, or other powerful sovereign or government: usually a territory of greater extent than a kingdom, as the former British Empire, French Empire, Russian Empire, Byzantine Empire, or Roman Empire.’

Hence, ‘The Roma Empire’ will initially evoke the image of ‘Roman Empire’ in the reader. This image will then be replaced by the image of a ‘ghetto’ , defined as ‘a part of a city in which members of a particular group or race live usually in poor conditions’ or  ‘a section of a city, especially a thickly populated slum area, inhabited predominantly by members of an ethnic or other minority group, often as a result of social or economic restrictions, pressures, or hardships. ’

The Roma’ is, however,  play on words, referring to ‘The Roma.’ This can be seen further in the article when The Sun writes that ‘an estimated 6,000 Roma and other Eastern European immigrants have arrived to live on Sheffield’s Page Hall estate in four years.’

The ‘members of an ethnic or another minority group’ in a ‘ghetto’ could refer to either ‘Roma’ or to the British residents, who reportedly ‘feel like foreigners after influx which they claim has ruined the community’ (following Roma domination perhaps).

Roma or Romani people are an ethnic minority and arrived in Europe from India approximately 700 years ago. All over the world, Roma people face disproportionately high rates of unemployment, poverty, discrimination and instances of forced sterilisation. The Sun and other tabloid newspapers tend to refer to Roma people as ‘Gypsies.’ ‘Gypsy’ is an exonym or a toponym. Toponym is a ‘place name’ or a name derived from a place name. An exonym is an external name for a group of people.  ‘Gypsy’ falsely attributes Roma origin to Egypt, however, Roma people have an Indian origin. The term is a racial slur with negative connotations imposed on the Roma by outsiders. It is fairly unusual for tabloids to refer to Roma using an endonym (or autonym): a name given by members of a group to the group itself.

The word ‘blast’ can be used as a noun, detonating ‘an explosion’ or a verb expressing destruction or annoyance. ‘To have a blast’ is an idiom expressing having fun and is not relevant in this context.

‘Crime-hit’ is a compound adjective in which ‘Hit’ links to ‘blast. ’ ‘Roma’ carries negative connotations of ‘Gypsy’: dirty, lazy and cheating people. It is easy to link ‘crime’ to ‘Gypsy’ as the two terms are used almost synonymously.

The subordinating conjunction ‘where’ is used for  justification or an excuse for the act of ‘blasting.’ The locals are blasting (their?) Sheffield because ‘6,000 Eastern European immigrants have settled (there) since 2012.’ The use of statistics is also a persuasive feature of texts adding factual credibility to the argument.

The collective nouns ‘Roma’, ‘Eastern European’ and ‘immigrants’ are used to indicate feelings towards the groups and to delegitimise and dehumanise the groups. The collective noun ‘locals’ is used to indicate a group mentality and divisions between the ‘locals’ and the ‘other’ groups.

The writer of the headline succeeded in getting the reader to picture a scene of ‘carnage.’ The writer also succeeded in evoking strong negative emotions towards the ‘others’ as well as feelings of outrage at the injustice caused by the others (and by the politicians allowing ‘the invasion’ to happen) and a sense of solidarity towards the ‘locals.’

Roma people are rejected by the mainstream Eastern European societies. It would be interesting to gather the responses of non-ethnic Eastern European readers to being grouped with Roma people.

I’d like to link this article XENO-RACISM AND THE SCOURGE OF SCHOOL EXCLUSION . ‘A radical educationalist Chris Searle examines the response to recent exclusions in the Slovak Roma community in Sheffield in a lecture at the School of Education, University of Birmingham in December 2016.’

This pilot research project ‘FROM SEGREGATION TO INCLUSION Roma pupils in the UK’ is a great contrast to The Sun’s description of Roma. 
part 2

‘Gadzooks! Ye Managers of Fundes seek to start a guild’ is a headline from Financial News (FN) from October 2016. FN is a UK based ‘provider of news, analysis and comment on the Investment Banking, Securities and Fund Management industry.’

The article informs the reader about an endeavour of two former fund management executives to utilize an ancient tradition of setting up a guild for investment managers.

‘Gadzooks’ is an exclamation and a euphemistic shortening of God’s hooks (the nails by which Christ was, according to the Bible, attached to the cross). The cause of euphemistic phrases is a wish to communicate a message without being explicit. Embarrassing, taboo or offensive words are often replaced by euphemisms, which form a central part of the English language. Taboo subjects include body functions about sex and excretion or illness and death. Examples include ‘bun in the oven’, ‘big boned’, lie back and think of England’, ‘Wham bam and thank you ma’am’, ‘batting for the other side’ or ‘kick the bucket.’

‘Minced oaths’ are a subgroup of euphemisms used to avoid swearing. An exclamation such as ‘Oh my God’ to communicate a surprise, shock or annoyance is common. However, unless praying, the use of the word ‘God’ is believed to be blasphemy amongst the devout and is considered to be taboo language in formal situations.

‘Gad’ replaced the word ‘God’ in a similar way that the invented term ‘feck’ is a euphemistic substitute for the obvious more offending word. These terms are also minimal pairs: words that differ in only one sound. Minimal pairs seem like a natural choice of ‘minced oaths.’

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the origin of term ‘gadzooks’ dates to the 17th century. ‘Ye’ is an archaic plural form of ‘thou’ which is, alongside with ‘thee’, an archaic form of the pronoun ‘you.’ ‘Ye’ is also an archaic form of the specific  determiner: the definite article ‘the.’ It is a graphic variant. The old letter ‘y’ was sometimes used to represent the modern ‘th’, hence the ‘Ye Olde XYZ’ signs on British pubs or restaurants pretending to be ancient.

‘Gadzooks! Ye Managers of Fundes seek to start a guild’ can, therefore, be translated as ‘God’s hooks! The Managers of Funds seek to start a guild/union!’ Although, the phrase ‘God’s hooks’ could be further translated as ‘Oh my God!’ or ‘For God’s sake!’

Guilds in the Middle Ages were similar to today’s trade unions. According to FN, the project to set up the guild for investment managers was being led by individuals associated with companies dating back to the Middle Ages (900-year-old Weavers liver company and the Curries livery company that dates back to 1272).  FN manipulated language and used archaic phrases to emphasise these individuals’ connection to the Middle Ages and the archaic tradition of launching guilds.


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