definite articles

The columnist J. Grant Swank, Jr. writes:

Now that the Spanish have decided to take over our national anthem, watch out, America. This is just the start.

The Spanish? As in tapas-eating, sangria-drinking, Gaudi-loving Spanish? It’s almost like a Horatio Hornblower novel, with their talk of “frogs” and “dagos” and 9-pounders.

The more plausible explanation is that we are entering a new era in which “the Spanish” is like “the gay.” Although I’ve only heard of “the gay” in an snide putting-down-homophobes context.

Or maybe conservative commentators are getting hip to internet slang. The National Review will complain about Democratic proposals being “teh suck” and No Child Left Behind as “teh r0xx0r.”

We need a semidefinite article to provide a middle ground between the indefinite and definite. The question is, how would such a semidefinite article look? [There’s a certain answer I’m half-expecting…]


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