Author Topic: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language  (Read 10231 times)

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Offline Arachne

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Linguists call it collocation: the likelihood of two words occurring together. If I say “pop”, your mental rolodex will begin whirring away, coming up with candidates for what might follow. “Music”, “song” or “star”, are highly likely. “Sensation” or “diva” a little less so. “Snorkel” very unlikely indeed.

What do you think of when I say the word “rabid”? One option, according to the dictionary publisher Oxford Dictionaries, is “feminist”. The publisher has been criticised for a sexist bias in its illustrations of how certain words are used. “Nagging” is followed by “wife”. “Grating” and “shrill” appear in sentences describing women’s voices, not men’s.


https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jan/27/eight-words-sexism-heart-english-language?CMP=share_btn_fb
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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2016, 02:00:55 PM »
Linguists call it collocation: the likelihood of two words occurring together. If I say “pop”, your mental rolodex will begin whirring away, coming up with candidates for what might follow. “Music”, “song” or “star”, are highly likely. “Sensation” or “diva” a little less so. “Snorkel” very unlikely indeed.

What do you think of when I say the word “rabid”? One option, according to the dictionary publisher Oxford Dictionaries, is “feminist”. The publisher has been criticised for a sexist bias in its illustrations of how certain words are used. “Nagging” is followed by “wife”. “Grating” and “shrill” appear in sentences describing women’s voices, not men’s.


https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jan/27/eight-words-sexism-heart-english-language?CMP=share_btn_fb
Rabid goes with dogs, but not more with feminist than any other seemingly "radical" group.
Nagging can go with wife, but don't worry, "abusive" can go with "husband", so it's not like stereotypes all go one way.
Grating goes with door or a man's voice in my mind, but shrill would go with a woman's voice, it's true, since they hit the high notes better.

I think women are more often victims in society, but that men are victimized much more harshly when it does happen to them. Just think what happens when the Mongols take over your village to both genders.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2016, 02:01:28 PM by rakovsky »
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Offline Arachne

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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2016, 03:19:50 PM »
I think women are more often victims in society, but that men are victimized much more harshly when it does happen to them. Just think what happens when the Mongols take over your village to both genders.

I don't think you're quite getting the point of the article.
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Offline mike

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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2016, 03:27:20 PM »
I think women are more often victims in society, but that men are victimized much more harshly when it does happen to them. Just think what happens when the Mongols take over your village to both genders.

I don't think you're quite getting the point of the article.

The point of the article (language changes has some inentional sinister misogynistic scheme) is mere stupid. I'm pretty sure they could find analogous words offending males if that fit with the thesis of the article.
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Offline Arachne

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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2016, 03:37:47 PM »
I think women are more often victims in society, but that men are victimized much more harshly when it does happen to them. Just think what happens when the Mongols take over your village to both genders.

I don't think you're quite getting the point of the article.

The point of the article (language changes has some inentional sinister misogynistic scheme) is mere stupid. I'm pretty sure they could find analogous words offending males if that fit with the thesis of the article.

Not 'offending'. 'Downgrading from a term denoting female agency into a term suggesting dubious morals', rather.

Feel free to look up examples to your suggestion, regardless.
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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2016, 03:48:44 PM »
Feel free to look up examples to your suggestion, regardless.

Bastard, freak, jerk,
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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2016, 03:55:18 PM »
Feel free to look up examples to your suggestion, regardless.

Bastard, freak, jerk,

How exactly are those exclusively male, or fallen from an older, more positive meaning?
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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2016, 04:19:15 PM »
Part of the problem for me, as an American, is that half these words just aren't used as the author describes, and the other half not used at all. I have never in my life heard 'Madam' used as a derogatory term, nor in connection with prostitution/brothels, at least not in normal life (I can't remember when it comes to fantasy/historical movies); I've only ever heard it used as a formal, respectful word; there is even a network tv show named 'Madam Secretary.' Mistress does often have sexual connotations, but not necessarily of the adulterous variety; 'master' on the other hand, referring to men, has also changed and now is almost exclusively taken in a negative way when used as some kind of title/honorific, something some converts face when asked to call their bishops that. The only time I've ever used tart or heard it used is in situations describing food. Spinster is what I would call Donald Trump, I've not used it or heard it used to refer to unmarried women; I'm not denying that that is a standard definition, just saying that in 37 years on earth I've never heard it used in a normal conversation. Really though that goes for most of the words on this list, leaving me with the impression that this article was an idea the author had, and he then went out looking for examples, but couldn't find any more relevant than a handful you'd mostly find in very old literature. Thus his use of phrases like "From the 17th century onwards" and "From 1887, however..."  He says that: "[F]rom the late 14th century" the meaning of the word 'wench' changed, but besides my never hearing anyone use the word in day to day talk, it's also not usually used in the way he described in movies or tv I've seen either. Maybe these words are all in common use over there in England though, I dunno.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2016, 04:22:27 PM by Asteriktos »

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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2016, 04:25:03 PM »
Feel free to look up examples to your suggestion, regardless.

Bastard, freak, jerk,

How exactly are those exclusively male, or fallen from an older, more positive meaning?

lmgtfy

"illegitimate child," early 13c., from Old French bastard (11c., Modern French bâtard), "acknowledged child of a nobleman by a woman other than his wife," probably from fils de bast "packsaddle son," meaning a child conceived on an improvised bed (saddles often doubled as beds while traveling), with pejorative ending -art (see -ard). Alternative possibly is that the word is from Proto-Germanic *banstiz "barn," equally suggestive of low origin.

Not always regarded as a stigma; the Conqueror is referred to in state documents as "William the Bastard." Figurative sense of "something not pure or genuine" is late 14c.; use as a vulgar term of abuse for a man is attested from 1830. As an adjective from late 14c. Among the "bastard" words in Halliwell-Phillipps' "Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words" are avetrol, chance-bairn, by-blow, harecoppe, horcop, and gimbo ("a bastard's bastard").

From Middle English freke, freike ‎(“a bold man, warrior, man, creature”), from Old English freca ‎(“a bold man, warrior, hero”), from Proto-Germanic *frekô ‎(“an active or eager man, warrior, wolf”), from Proto-Germanic *frekaz ‎(“active, bold, desirous, greedy”), from Proto-Indo-European *pereg-, *spereg- ‎(“to shrug, be quick, twitch, splash, blast”).

Probably from Middle English yerk ‎(“sudden motion”), from Old English ġearc ‎(“ready, active, quick”). Compare Old English ġearcian ‎(“to prepare, make ready, procure, furnish, supply”). Related to yare.

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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2016, 04:30:54 PM »
https://www.theguardian.com/

No surprise there. Vintage Guardian. Self-pitying upper-middle class women writing articles on how sad their lot is. The only surprise is that this article was written by a white knight.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2016, 04:32:50 PM by Cyrillic »

Offline Arachne

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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2016, 04:51:57 PM »
https://www.theguardian.com/

No surprise there. Vintage Guardian. Self-pitying upper-middle class women writing articles on how sad their lot is. The only surprise is that this article was written by a white knight.

Still accurate. :)
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Offline Arachne

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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2016, 04:53:25 PM »
Feel free to look up examples to your suggestion, regardless.

Bastard, freak, jerk,

How exactly are those exclusively male, or fallen from an older, more positive meaning?

lmgtfy

"illegitimate child," early 13c., from Old French bastard (11c., Modern French bâtard), "acknowledged child of a nobleman by a woman other than his wife," probably from fils de bast "packsaddle son," meaning a child conceived on an improvised bed (saddles often doubled as beds while traveling), with pejorative ending -art (see -ard). Alternative possibly is that the word is from Proto-Germanic *banstiz "barn," equally suggestive of low origin.

Not always regarded as a stigma; the Conqueror is referred to in state documents as "William the Bastard." Figurative sense of "something not pure or genuine" is late 14c.; use as a vulgar term of abuse for a man is attested from 1830. As an adjective from late 14c. Among the "bastard" words in Halliwell-Phillipps' "Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words" are avetrol, chance-bairn, by-blow, harecoppe, horcop, and gimbo ("a bastard's bastard").

From Middle English freke, freike ‎(“a bold man, warrior, man, creature”), from Old English freca ‎(“a bold man, warrior, hero”), from Proto-Germanic *frekô ‎(“an active or eager man, warrior, wolf”), from Proto-Germanic *frekaz ‎(“active, bold, desirous, greedy”), from Proto-Indo-European *pereg-, *spereg- ‎(“to shrug, be quick, twitch, splash, blast”).

Probably from Middle English yerk ‎(“sudden motion”), from Old English ġearc ‎(“ready, active, quick”). Compare Old English ġearcian ‎(“to prepare, make ready, procure, furnish, supply”). Related to yare.

So, what are the female counterparts that have retained their original meanings?
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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2016, 05:54:00 PM »
I think women are more often victims in society, but that men are victimized much more harshly when it does happen to them. Just think what happens when the Mongols take over your village to both genders.

I don't think you're quite getting the point of the article.

No I get it.
Think of the Anglo American slogan or phrase "Women and Children first for the liferafts."
Isn't such a phrase downgrading women's place and agency, putting them with children in the same category?

I think so.

And , on the titanic, isn't it better then to be a woman, nor the captain?

So without rejecting the article. I am saying things can work both ways.
I can give more examples.
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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2016, 05:59:39 PM »
I think women are more often victims in society, but that men are victimized much more harshly when it does happen to them. Just think what happens when the Mongols take over your village to both genders.

I don't think you're quite getting the point of the article.

No I get it.
Think of the Anglo American slogan or phrase "Women and Children first for the liferafts."
Isn't such a phrase downgrading women's place and agency, putting them with children in the same category?

I think so.

And , on the titanic, isn't it better then to be a woman, nor the captain?

So without rejecting the article. I am saying things can work both ways.
I can give more examples.

Nope, you're still not getting it.

The article is about how language shifts to reflect social bias in general - and how terms that started as feminine equivalents of positions of authority end up as derogatories or outright slurs in particular.

In your example, 'woman' was never an equivalent of 'captain'. More examples of the same would still be off the mark.
'Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against stupid. That might actually make a difference.'~Harry Dresden

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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2016, 06:22:35 PM »
Well, someone needs a job at the Guardian.
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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2016, 06:27:09 PM »
I found interesting the inclusion of "mistress." The author's assertion may be true in vernacular speak, but the first thing that came to my mind was the way it is used in the English translation of of our hymnography, for example the Theotokion:

 "O Mistress, accept the supplications of thy servants, and deliver them from all want and grief!"

Where it retains it's original elevated meaning.

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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #16 on: October 17, 2016, 06:36:58 PM »
There is currently a bill before the Legislative Assembly of Ontario that will deal with this by doing away with "mother" and "father". There will be "birth parent" and "parent". Strangely, "biological father" does put in a brief appearance. Let's just change the language and all our problems will go away.

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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #17 on: October 17, 2016, 06:40:26 PM »
I found interesting the inclusion of "mistress." The author's assertion may be true in vernacular speak, but the first thing that came to my mind was the way it is used in the English translation of of our hymnography, for example the Theotokion:

 "O Mistress, accept the supplications of thy servants, and deliver them from all want and grief!"

Where it retains it's original elevated meaning.

The change in 'mistress' is, compared to others on the list, very recent. Until the 1780s at least, 'Mrs So-and-So' was the term of address for any woman, regardless of marital status. Naturally, any older text would retain the original meaning.
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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #18 on: October 17, 2016, 06:49:46 PM »
I think women are more often victims in society, but that men are victimized much more harshly when it does happen to them. Just think what happens when the Mongols take over your village to both genders.

I don't think you're quite getting the point of the article.

No I get it.
Think of the Anglo American slogan or phrase "Women and Children first for the liferafts."
Isn't such a phrase downgrading women's place and agency, putting them with children in the same category?

I think so.

And , on the titanic, isn't it better then to be a woman, nor the captain?

So without rejecting the article. I am saying things can work both ways.
I can give more examples.

Nope, you're still not getting it.

The article is about how language shifts to reflect social bias in general - and how terms that started as feminine equivalents of positions of authority end up as derogatories or outright slurs in particular.

In your example, 'woman' was never an equivalent of 'captain'. More examples of the same would still be off the mark.

I get that this is the article's point and that there are social biases.

My point is that these kinds of biases can cut both ways, the place of women on the titanic being one such example.
A captain connotes a male empowered as the ship's commander, but on the titanic, the implications of male agency have different results. Responsibility brings a range of consequences and risks.
The ocean, infinite to men, and the worlds beyond it, are directed by the same ordinances of the Lord. ~ I Clement 20

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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #19 on: October 17, 2016, 06:51:44 PM »
I think women are more often victims in society, but that men are victimized much more harshly when it does happen to them. Just think what happens when the Mongols take over your village to both genders.

I don't think you're quite getting the point of the article.

No I get it.
Think of the Anglo American slogan or phrase "Women and Children first for the liferafts."
Isn't such a phrase downgrading women's place and agency, putting them with children in the same category?

I think so.

And , on the titanic, isn't it better then to be a woman, nor the captain?

So without rejecting the article. I am saying things can work both ways.
I can give more examples.

Nope, you're still not getting it.

The article is about how language shifts to reflect social bias in general - and how terms that started as feminine equivalents of positions of authority end up as derogatories or outright slurs in particular.

In your example, 'woman' was never an equivalent of 'captain'. More examples of the same would still be off the mark.

I get that this is the article's point and that there are social biases.

My point is that these kinds of biases can cut both ways, the place of women on the titanic being one such example.
A captain connotes a male empowered as the ship's commander, but on the titanic, the implications of male agency have different results. Responsibility brings a range of consequences and risks.

In other words, you just want to bypass the article's point and be off topic. Got it.
'Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against stupid. That might actually make a difference.'~Harry Dresden

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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #20 on: October 17, 2016, 07:07:10 PM »
I think women are more often victims in society, but that men are victimized much more harshly when it does happen to them. Just think what happens when the Mongols take over your village to both genders.

I don't think you're quite getting the point of the article.

No I get it.
Think of the Anglo American slogan or phrase "Women and Children first for the liferafts."
Isn't such a phrase downgrading women's place and agency, putting them with children in the same category?

I think so.

And , on the titanic, isn't it better then to be a woman, nor the captain?

So without rejecting the article. I am saying things can work both ways.
I can give more examples.

Nope, you're still not getting it.

The article is about how language shifts to reflect social bias in general - and how terms that started as feminine equivalents of positions of authority end up as derogatories or outright slurs in particular.

In your example, 'woman' was never an equivalent of 'captain'. More examples of the same would still be off the mark.

I get that this is the article's point and that there are social biases.

My point is that these kinds of biases can cut both ways, the place of women on the titanic being one such example.
A captain connotes a male empowered as the ship's commander, but on the titanic, the implications of male agency have different results. Responsibility brings a range of consequences and risks.

In other words, you just want to bypass the article's point and be off topic. Got it.

Arachne, meet rakovsky. 
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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #21 on: October 17, 2016, 07:41:13 PM »
I think women are more often victims in society, but that men are victimized much more harshly when it does happen to them. Just think what happens when the Mongols take over your village to both genders.

I don't think you're quite getting the point of the article.

No I get it.
Think of the Anglo American slogan or phrase "Women and Children first for the liferafts."
Isn't such a phrase downgrading women's place and agency, putting them with children in the same category?

I think so.

And , on the titanic, isn't it better then to be a woman, nor the captain?

So without rejecting the article. I am saying things can work both ways.
I can give more examples.

Nope, you're still not getting it.

The article is about how language shifts to reflect social bias in general - and how terms that started as feminine equivalents of positions of authority end up as derogatories or outright slurs in particular.

In your example, 'woman' was never an equivalent of 'captain'. More examples of the same would still be off the mark.

I get that this is the article's point and that there are social biases.

My point is that these kinds of biases can cut both ways, the place of women on the titanic being one such example.
A captain connotes a male empowered as the ship's commander, but on the titanic, the implications of male agency have different results. Responsibility brings a range of consequences and risks.

In other words, you just want to bypass the article's point and be off topic. Got it.
I think you have done a good job summarizing the article's point about how words shift in meaning, reflecting social biases, like madam changing from a figure of authority to one in a negative status.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2016, 07:41:52 PM by rakovsky »
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Offline Svartzorn

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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #22 on: October 17, 2016, 09:51:41 PM »
The feminists are at it again proposing newspeak and respect  muh antipatriarchal pronouns.
Not enough to patrol people's vocabulary.
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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #23 on: October 17, 2016, 10:23:17 PM »
The feminists are at it again proposing newspeak and respect  muh antipatriarchal pronouns.
Not enough to patrol people's vocabulary.

And when they do it, isn't it so shrill?

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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #24 on: October 18, 2016, 02:17:14 AM »
The feminists are at it again proposing newspeak and respect  muh antipatriarchal pronouns understanding the text you're reading.

Shocking, innit?
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Offline FinnJames

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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #25 on: October 18, 2016, 04:44:29 AM »
I used to teach a unit on the 'sexism' of Enlish and the sort of government new-speak that goes on in reporting wars ("our brave forces made a tactical retreat; the cowardly enemy ran away"; "one (wo)man's terrorist is another (wo)man's freedom fighter" sort of thing) as a part of a sociolinguistics course.  Students, both female and male, used to enjoy the exercises tremendously.

But in an ironic comment at the end of reply #16 above, Genesisone put their finger on the problem in thinking that underlies what has been called the feminist linguistics project: "Let's just change the language and all our problems will go away." The real problem lies not in the English language itself, but rather in the fuzzy thinking of its speakers. On the other hand, maybe there is a point to articles like that in the Guardian if it causes readers to pause and think a bit before they speak/write -- which to judge from the number of replies in this thread is what it has done.

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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #26 on: October 18, 2016, 06:52:41 AM »
https://www.theguardian.com/

No surprise there. Vintage Guardian. Self-pitying upper-middle class women writing articles on how sad their lot is. The only surprise is that this article was written by a white knight.

+1

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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #27 on: October 18, 2016, 09:40:41 AM »
The feminists are at it again proposing newspeak and respect  muh antipatriarchal pronouns understanding the text you're reading.

Shocking, innit?

No, they're not.
They're just instrumentalizing the language to control people's heads.
It happens in portuguese too, I've seen it. Except that it is far more ridiculous than in english - probably because they're trying to import this globalist garbage to a reality that is resistant to it.

(I didn't even need to read th thread before opening it to know it was you again.)
« Last Edit: October 18, 2016, 09:41:21 AM by Svartzorn »
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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #28 on: October 18, 2016, 09:51:02 AM »
(I didn't even need to read th thread before opening it to know it was you again.)

Congratulations, you learned to see topic starters on the thread list. :P
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Offline genesisone

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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #29 on: October 18, 2016, 02:51:12 PM »
I used to teach a unit on the 'sexism' of Enlish and the sort of government new-speak that goes on in reporting wars ("our brave forces made a tactical retreat; the cowardly enemy ran away"; "one (wo)man's terrorist is another (wo)man's freedom fighter" sort of thing) as a part of a sociolinguistics course.  Students, both female and male, used to enjoy the exercises tremendously.

But in an ironic comment at the end of reply #16 above, Genesisone put their his finger on the problem in thinking that underlies what has been called the feminist linguistics project: "Let's just change the language and all our problems will go away." The real problem lies not in the English language itself, but rather in the fuzzy thinking of its speakers. On the other hand, maybe there is a point to articles like that in the Guardian if it causes readers to pause and think a bit before they speak/write -- which to judge from the number of replies in this thread is what it has done.
fify  ;)

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #30 on: October 18, 2016, 03:12:54 PM »
Linguists call it collocation: the likelihood of two words occurring together. If I say “pop”, your mental rolodex will begin whirring away, coming up with candidates for what might follow. “Music”, “song” or “star”, are highly likely. “Sensation” or “diva” a little less so. “Snorkel” very unlikely indeed.

What do you think of when I say the word “rabid”? One option, according to the dictionary publisher Oxford Dictionaries, is “feminist”. The publisher has been criticised for a sexist bias in its illustrations of how certain words are used. “Nagging” is followed by “wife”. “Grating” and “shrill” appear in sentences describing women’s voices, not men’s.


https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jan/27/eight-words-sexism-heart-english-language?CMP=share_btn_fb
So?

Facts are facts.
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #31 on: October 18, 2016, 03:18:38 PM »
https://www.theguardian.com/

No surprise there. Vintage Guardian. Self-pitying upper-middle class women writing articles on how sad their lot is. The only surprise is that this article was written by a white knight.

Still accurate. :)
Oh?

I thought y'all were poo-pooing all that. ;)
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #32 on: October 18, 2016, 03:20:17 PM »
I used to teach a unit on the 'sexism' of Enlish and the sort of government new-speak that goes on in reporting wars ("our brave forces made a tactical retreat; the cowardly enemy ran away"; "one (wo)man's terrorist is another (wo)man's freedom fighter" sort of thing) as a part of a sociolinguistics course.  Students, both female and male, used to enjoy the exercises tremendously.

But in an ironic comment at the end of reply #16 above, Genesisone put their finger on the problem in thinking that underlies what has been called the feminist linguistics project: "Let's just change the language and all our problems will go away." The real problem lies not in the English language itself, but rather in the fuzzy thinking of its speakers. On the other hand, maybe there is a point to articles like that in the Guardian if it causes readers to pause and think a bit before they speak/write -- which to judge from the number of replies in this thread is what it has done.
The language warriors have yet to explain how the lack of gender in Persian has preserved the status of women in Iran.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
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                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #33 on: October 18, 2016, 03:35:45 PM »
Feel free to look up examples to your suggestion, regardless.

Bastard, freak, jerk,

How exactly are those exclusively male, or fallen from an older, more positive meaning?

lmgtfy

"illegitimate child," early 13c., from Old French bastard (11c., Modern French bâtard), "acknowledged child of a nobleman by a woman other than his wife," probably from fils de bast "packsaddle son," meaning a child conceived on an improvised bed (saddles often doubled as beds while traveling), with pejorative ending -art (see -ard). Alternative possibly is that the word is from Proto-Germanic *banstiz "barn," equally suggestive of low origin.

Not always regarded as a stigma; the Conqueror is referred to in state documents as "William the Bastard." Figurative sense of "something not pure or genuine" is late 14c.; use as a vulgar term of abuse for a man is attested from 1830. As an adjective from late 14c. Among the "bastard" words in Halliwell-Phillipps' "Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words" are avetrol, chance-bairn, by-blow, harecoppe, horcop, and gimbo ("a bastard's bastard").
Quote
The bend sinister and its diminutives such as the Baton sinister are rare as an independent motif; they occur more often as marks of distinction, added to another coat to denote bastardy. For example, Arthur Plantagenet, 1st Viscount Lisle (d.1542), illegitimate son of Edward IV of England, bore the arms of the House of York with a bendlet sinister overall.
In French blazon a bend sinister is called a barre. Sir Walter Scott is credited with giving literature the macaronic phrase bar sinister, which has become a metonymic term for bastardy. In English blazon a bar is a horizontal stripe, symmetric with respect to sinister and dexter. (Bar and barre are pronounced alike.)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bend_(heraldry)#Bend_sinister_and_.22bar_sinister.22
From Middle English freke, freike ‎(“a bold man, warrior, man, creature”), from Old English freca ‎(“a bold man, warrior, hero”), from Proto-Germanic *frekô ‎(“an active or eager man, warrior, wolf”), from Proto-Germanic *frekaz ‎(“active, bold, desirous, greedy”), from Proto-Indo-European *pereg-, *spereg- ‎(“to shrug, be quick, twitch, splash, blast”).
Quote
From Old Norse berserkr (Icelandic berserkur, Swedish bärsärk), probably from bjǫrn ‎(“bear”) + serkr ‎(“coat”). Compare sark. N. A crazed Norse warrior who fought in a frenzy; a berserker. Adj. Injuriously, maniacally, or furiously violent or out of control.
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/berserk

I have to compliment you again on your grasp of English.

I'll add, to make this more international, "Knechtschaft," the German cognate to Knightship, which means "slavery, servitude, serfdom (the very opposite of its meaning in English)."
« Last Edit: October 18, 2016, 03:40:07 PM by ialmisry »
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
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If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #34 on: October 18, 2016, 03:44:20 PM »
Feel free to look up examples to your suggestion, regardless.

Bastard, freak, jerk,

How exactly are those exclusively male, or fallen from an older, more positive meaning?

lmgtfy

"illegitimate child," early 13c., from Old French bastard (11c., Modern French bâtard), "acknowledged child of a nobleman by a woman other than his wife," probably from fils de bast "packsaddle son," meaning a child conceived on an improvised bed (saddles often doubled as beds while traveling), with pejorative ending -art (see -ard). Alternative possibly is that the word is from Proto-Germanic *banstiz "barn," equally suggestive of low origin.

Not always regarded as a stigma; the Conqueror is referred to in state documents as "William the Bastard." Figurative sense of "something not pure or genuine" is late 14c.; use as a vulgar term of abuse for a man is attested from 1830. As an adjective from late 14c. Among the "bastard" words in Halliwell-Phillipps' "Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words" are avetrol, chance-bairn, by-blow, harecoppe, horcop, and gimbo ("a bastard's bastard").

From Middle English freke, freike ‎(“a bold man, warrior, man, creature”), from Old English freca ‎(“a bold man, warrior, hero”), from Proto-Germanic *frekô ‎(“an active or eager man, warrior, wolf”), from Proto-Germanic *frekaz ‎(“active, bold, desirous, greedy”), from Proto-Indo-European *pereg-, *spereg- ‎(“to shrug, be quick, twitch, splash, blast”).

Probably from Middle English yerk ‎(“sudden motion”), from Old English ġearc ‎(“ready, active, quick”). Compare Old English ġearcian ‎(“to prepare, make ready, procure, furnish, supply”). Related to yare.

So, what are the female counterparts that have retained their original meanings?
mother

lady

maid

damsel.

I'd add "virgin," but the Guardian ilk has made that perjorative.

Btw, "queen" has moved in the opposite direction in English, from woman, to wife, to powerful woman.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #35 on: October 18, 2016, 03:45:53 PM »
I think women are more often victims in society, but that men are victimized much more harshly when it does happen to them. Just think what happens when the Mongols take over your village to both genders.

I don't think you're quite getting the point of the article.

No I get it.
Think of the Anglo American slogan or phrase "Women and Children first for the liferafts."
Isn't such a phrase downgrading women's place and agency, putting them with children in the same category?

I think so.

And , on the titanic, isn't it better then to be a woman, nor the captain?

So without rejecting the article. I am saying things can work both ways.
I can give more examples.

Nope, you're still not getting it.

The article is about how language shifts to reflect social bias in general - and how terms that started as feminine equivalents of positions of authority end up as derogatories or outright slurs in particular.

In your example, 'woman' was never an equivalent of 'captain'. More examples of the same would still be off the mark.

I get that this is the article's point and that there are social biases.

My point is that these kinds of biases can cut both ways, the place of women on the titanic being one such example.
A captain connotes a male empowered as the ship's commander, but on the titanic, the implications of male agency have different results. Responsibility brings a range of consequences and risks.

In other words, you just want to bypass the article's point and be off topic. Got it.
IOW, don't mess with the narrative.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline hecma925

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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #36 on: October 18, 2016, 03:49:12 PM »
Feel free to look up examples to your suggestion, regardless.

Bastard, freak, jerk,

How exactly are those exclusively male, or fallen from an older, more positive meaning?

lmgtfy

"illegitimate child," early 13c., from Old French bastard (11c., Modern French bâtard), "acknowledged child of a nobleman by a woman other than his wife," probably from fils de bast "packsaddle son," meaning a child conceived on an improvised bed (saddles often doubled as beds while traveling), with pejorative ending -art (see -ard). Alternative possibly is that the word is from Proto-Germanic *banstiz "barn," equally suggestive of low origin.

Not always regarded as a stigma; the Conqueror is referred to in state documents as "William the Bastard." Figurative sense of "something not pure or genuine" is late 14c.; use as a vulgar term of abuse for a man is attested from 1830. As an adjective from late 14c. Among the "bastard" words in Halliwell-Phillipps' "Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words" are avetrol, chance-bairn, by-blow, harecoppe, horcop, and gimbo ("a bastard's bastard").

From Middle English freke, freike ‎(“a bold man, warrior, man, creature”), from Old English freca ‎(“a bold man, warrior, hero”), from Proto-Germanic *frekô ‎(“an active or eager man, warrior, wolf”), from Proto-Germanic *frekaz ‎(“active, bold, desirous, greedy”), from Proto-Indo-European *pereg-, *spereg- ‎(“to shrug, be quick, twitch, splash, blast”).

Probably from Middle English yerk ‎(“sudden motion”), from Old English ġearc ‎(“ready, active, quick”). Compare Old English ġearcian ‎(“to prepare, make ready, procure, furnish, supply”). Related to yare.

So, what are the female counterparts that have retained their original meanings?
mother

lady

maid

damsel.

I'd add "virgin," but the Guardian ilk has made that perjorative.

Btw, "queen" has moved in the opposite direction in English, from woman, to wife, to powerful woman.

Or a shrill gay.
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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #37 on: October 18, 2016, 04:23:09 PM »
Linguists call it collocation: the likelihood of two words occurring together. If I say “pop”, your mental rolodex will begin whirring away, coming up with candidates for what might follow. “Music”, “song” or “star”, are highly likely. “Sensation” or “diva” a little less so. “Snorkel” very unlikely indeed.

What do you think of when I say the word “rabid”? One option, according to the dictionary publisher Oxford Dictionaries, is “feminist”. The publisher has been criticised for a sexist bias in its illustrations of how certain words are used. “Nagging” is followed by “wife”. “Grating” and “shrill” appear in sentences describing women’s voices, not men’s.


https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jan/27/eight-words-sexism-heart-english-language?CMP=share_btn_fb
So?

Facts are facts.

Indeed. And I'm interested in their process of becoming such.
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Offline Luke

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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #38 on: October 18, 2016, 04:59:01 PM »
Is this article going to change anyone's taste for pop-tarts? :P

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #39 on: October 18, 2016, 05:11:30 PM »
Linguists call it collocation: the likelihood of two words occurring together. If I say “pop”, your mental rolodex will begin whirring away, coming up with candidates for what might follow. “Music”, “song” or “star”, are highly likely. “Sensation” or “diva” a little less so. “Snorkel” very unlikely indeed.

What do you think of when I say the word “rabid”? One option, according to the dictionary publisher Oxford Dictionaries, is “feminist”. The publisher has been criticised for a sexist bias in its illustrations of how certain words are used. “Nagging” is followed by “wife”. “Grating” and “shrill” appear in sentences describing women’s voices, not men’s.


https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jan/27/eight-words-sexism-heart-english-language?CMP=share_btn_fb
So?

Facts are facts.

Indeed. And I'm interested in their process of becoming such.
The gravitation of reality.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #40 on: October 18, 2016, 05:13:34 PM »
Feel free to look up examples to your suggestion, regardless.

Bastard, freak, jerk,

How exactly are those exclusively male, or fallen from an older, more positive meaning?

lmgtfy

"illegitimate child," early 13c., from Old French bastard (11c., Modern French bâtard), "acknowledged child of a nobleman by a woman other than his wife," probably from fils de bast "packsaddle son," meaning a child conceived on an improvised bed (saddles often doubled as beds while traveling), with pejorative ending -art (see -ard). Alternative possibly is that the word is from Proto-Germanic *banstiz "barn," equally suggestive of low origin.

Not always regarded as a stigma; the Conqueror is referred to in state documents as "William the Bastard." Figurative sense of "something not pure or genuine" is late 14c.; use as a vulgar term of abuse for a man is attested from 1830. As an adjective from late 14c. Among the "bastard" words in Halliwell-Phillipps' "Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words" are avetrol, chance-bairn, by-blow, harecoppe, horcop, and gimbo ("a bastard's bastard").

From Middle English freke, freike ‎(“a bold man, warrior, man, creature”), from Old English freca ‎(“a bold man, warrior, hero”), from Proto-Germanic *frekô ‎(“an active or eager man, warrior, wolf”), from Proto-Germanic *frekaz ‎(“active, bold, desirous, greedy”), from Proto-Indo-European *pereg-, *spereg- ‎(“to shrug, be quick, twitch, splash, blast”).

Probably from Middle English yerk ‎(“sudden motion”), from Old English ġearc ‎(“ready, active, quick”). Compare Old English ġearcian ‎(“to prepare, make ready, procure, furnish, supply”). Related to yare.

So, what are the female counterparts that have retained their original meanings?
mother

lady

maid

damsel.

I'd add "virgin," but the Guardian ilk has made that perjorative.

So which one was a feminine equivalent of 'bastard', 'freak' or 'jerk'?

Btw, "queen" has moved in the opposite direction in English, from woman, to wife, to powerful woman.

About that.

Quote
[Middle English quene, from Old English cwēn; see gwen- in Indo-European roots.]
Word History: On paper, a queen and a quean are easily distinguished. In speech, however, it is easy to imagine how the complete homophony of the two words, both referring to female persons, could lead to embarrassing double-entendres—a fact which has probably contributed to a decline in use of the word quean in modern times. How did this troubling homophony come about? Queen comes from Old English cwēn, pronounced (kwān) and meaning "queen, wife of a king." The Old English word descends from Germanic *kwēn-iz, "woman, wife, queen," a derivative of the Germanic root *kwen-, "woman." Modern English quean, on the other hand, descends from another Old English word, cwene, pronounced (kwĕn′ə) and meaning "woman, female, female serf." The Germanic source of cwene is *kwen-ōn-, "woman, wife." This Germanic word is a derivative of the same root *kwen-, "woman, wife," that is the source of Modern English queen. From the eleventh century onward, qwen, the Middle English descendant of Old English cwene, "woman, female serf," and ancestor of Modern English quean, was also used to mean "prostitute." Once established, this pejorative sense of quean drove out its neutral senses, and especially in the 16th and 17th centuries, the word was used almost solely to refer to prostitutes. Around the same time, in many English dialects the pronunciation of queen and quean became identical, leading to the obsolescence of the latter term outside of a few regions. The Germanic root *kwen-, "woman," comes by Grimm's Law from the Indo-European root *gwen-, "woman," which appears in at least two other English words borrowed from elsewhere in the Indo-European family. One is gynecology, from Greek gunē, "woman." Another, less obvious, one is banshee, "woman of the fairies," the wailing female spirit attendant on a death, from Old Irish ben, "woman."

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/queen
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Offline Svartzorn

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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #41 on: October 18, 2016, 05:39:13 PM »
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Offline biro

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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #42 on: October 18, 2016, 06:01:22 PM »
It's hilarious to see the fellers come out of the woodwork and post things that prove the point of the OP.
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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #43 on: October 18, 2016, 06:26:06 PM »
It's hilarious to see the fellers come out of the woodwork and post things that prove the point of the OP.

Speaking of sexism.
Please don't project meta-debates onto me.

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Re: Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language
« Reply #44 on: October 18, 2016, 09:11:54 PM »
Feel free to look up examples to your suggestion, regardless.

Bastard, freak, jerk,

How exactly are those exclusively male, or fallen from an older, more positive meaning?

lmgtfy

"illegitimate child," early 13c., from Old French bastard (11c., Modern French bâtard), "acknowledged child of a nobleman by a woman other than his wife," probably from fils de bast "packsaddle son," meaning a child conceived on an improvised bed (saddles often doubled as beds while traveling), with pejorative ending -art (see -ard). Alternative possibly is that the word is from Proto-Germanic *banstiz "barn," equally suggestive of low origin.

Not always regarded as a stigma; the Conqueror is referred to in state documents as "William the Bastard." Figurative sense of "something not pure or genuine" is late 14c.; use as a vulgar term of abuse for a man is attested from 1830. As an adjective from late 14c. Among the "bastard" words in Halliwell-Phillipps' "Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words" are avetrol, chance-bairn, by-blow, harecoppe, horcop, and gimbo ("a bastard's bastard").
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The bend sinister and its diminutives such as the Baton sinister are rare as an independent motif; they occur more often as marks of distinction, added to another coat to denote bastardy. For example, Arthur Plantagenet, 1st Viscount Lisle (d.1542), illegitimate son of Edward IV of England, bore the arms of the House of York with a bendlet sinister overall.
In French blazon a bend sinister is called a barre. Sir Walter Scott is credited with giving literature the macaronic phrase bar sinister, which has become a metonymic term for bastardy. In English blazon a bar is a horizontal stripe, symmetric with respect to sinister and dexter. (Bar and barre are pronounced alike.)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bend_(heraldry)#Bend_sinister_and_.22bar_sinister.22
From Middle English freke, freike ‎(“a bold man, warrior, man, creature”), from Old English freca ‎(“a bold man, warrior, hero”), from Proto-Germanic *frekô ‎(“an active or eager man, warrior, wolf”), from Proto-Germanic *frekaz ‎(“active, bold, desirous, greedy”), from Proto-Indo-European *pereg-, *spereg- ‎(“to shrug, be quick, twitch, splash, blast”).
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From Old Norse berserkr (Icelandic berserkur, Swedish bärsärk), probably from bjǫrn ‎(“bear”) + serkr ‎(“coat”). Compare sark. N. A crazed Norse warrior who fought in a frenzy; a berserker. Adj. Injuriously, maniacally, or furiously violent or out of control.
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/berserk

I have to compliment you again on your grasp of English.

I'll add, to make this more international, "Knechtschaft," the German cognate to Knightship, which means "slavery, servitude, serfdom (the very opposite of its meaning in English)."
Krepost in Russian is fort. Fort Law is what Russians call serfdom.
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