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#4374 07/29/00 07:01 PM
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>I still think it is a rude response to a request for information

Speaking of rudeness one of the worst is RTFM -Read The Fantastic Manual-.
As you can think this is used mainly by charitable people.

Juan Maria.

#4375 07/29/00 07:44 PM
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juanmaria,
what do you do when people start using your new word in a pejorative way?
i think we look for new words to escape from the fact that we want to express something cleanly even though we haven't really changed our ideas at all.
history is long. it's pure arrogance that makes us think we're in the driver's seat now more than any time in the past. people were as smart as us 50, 500, or 5000 years ago, and they talked about the same things.
and they invented new words, just like us. and strangely, these words haven't changed a single aspect of our characters yet. we still use them to hurt no matter how free of these associations they seemed at the time of their installation.
this doesn't mean i don't think language should change - i'm not a conservative at all. but a word is just a sound to describe something. its use is up to many more people than its inventor could dream of.



#4376 07/29/00 10:03 PM
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>history is long. it's pure arrogance that makes us think we're in the driver's seat now more than any time in the past. people were as smart as us 50, 500, or 5000 years ago, and they talked about the same things.
and they invented new words, just like us. and strangely, these words haven't changed a single aspect of our characters yet. we still use them to hurt no matter how free of these associations they seemed at the time of their installation.<

Sadly, yes, the 'bad' parts of the human character are still here - but so are the good ones. Juanmaria's example is a case of hope that things might improve and an attempt to make a fresh start (at least that's how it appears to me).
The world is hard enough as it is - if we all stopped hoping it could be better and trying to do something about it, how much worse it would be!


#4377 07/29/00 10:09 PM
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>>Modern PC usage, mainly in administration, is forcing us to use the cumbersome termination “-os/as” instead of the old “-os”. So when writing a school program a teacher must write “Los alumnos/as, los niños/as, los profesores/as”. <<

Look on the bright side, JM. It could be worse: "Lo/as alumno/as, " etc ad nauseum.


#4378 07/29/00 10:17 PM
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>I believe that we are all racist (though I am sure that there are many of you who will deny this to the death) but some of us are simply more tolerant or accepting than others.<

'Brick, I think this relates to the point (only about racism, not sexism) that I was trying to get at in my first post on this thread.

It's very easy to change our intellectual, uninvolved opinions on a subject and decide what we think.
It's much harder (close to impossible) to change our attitudes and what, in our deepest subconscious, we feel.
Unfortunately actions are more often driven by feeling than by thinking. In this context, speaking and choice of words is an action. 'PC-ness' is good in that it might encourage us to think about some of those unconscious attitude and feeling-driven choices. Unfortunately it doesn't necessarily encourage us to do that especially once it has been taken to extremes that enable us just to mock it rather than think about why anyone cared in the first place.

It's all part of that battle between what we think we 'ought' to be and what we actually are!



#4379 08/01/00 09:39 AM
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the theme for this month's kids classes is "colours".
the colours i have in my crayon box include one described as "hadairo", skin colour.
it doesn't look much like skin to me, more like pale candle wax.
i've heard that saying skin colour is "out" because of the many different possible colours this could mean but doesn't.
what's the new word?


#4380 08/01/00 01:07 PM
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>>i've heard that saying skin colour is "out" because of the many different possible colours this could mean<<

Yes, that happened here, with the giant Crayola crayon
company. Up until just a few years ago, one of their colors was labeled "flesh". Of course it was pink-toned.
Now the label reads "peach". This goes to show what has
already been said, about how such a seemingly insignificant
term can have such far-reaching impact. Since Americans are so strongly influenced by advertising, maybe a marketing change could actually help change attitudes?


#4381 08/01/00 01:17 PM
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from the Crayola Crayon Chronology (YCLIU), submitted without comment:

Prussian Blue - name changed to "midnight blue" in 1958 in response to teachers' requests

flesh - name voluntarily changed to "peach" in 1962, partially as a result of the U. S. Civil Rights Movement.

Indian Red - renamed Chestnut in 1999 because of educators who felt some children wrongly perceived the crayon color was intended to represent the skin color of Native Americans. The name originally was from a reddish-brown pigment found near India commonly used in fine artist oil paint.

24 new colors added in 1998, including "Pig Pink"...


#4382 08/01/00 01:21 PM
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Ah, the tsunami strikes again!


#4383 08/01/00 05:42 PM
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>This is definitely cumbersome but the alternative is definitely sexist so we are waiting for some ingenious invention that can solve this problem.

Juan Maria:

I disagree; the use of -os to describe a group is not in and of itself sexist. That's an evil fiction that has been visited upon us by people who are just too darned sensitive for their own good (and ours). Certainly there are words that are sexist, such as calling the lady who works down the hall "honey" because the obvious intent is to denigrate her, to make her less of a person thanthe male speaker, to relegate her to a subordinate position. But to say, and pardon me if I get the Spanish wrong, los profesoros to refer to a faculty group that could be all male or part male part female, is simply using language to communicate.

I have not separated the males from the females, so I have not made the women of lesser stature than men. Granted, if I say las profesoras, I have designated a group of faculty that is all female. But unless I have done so in a way that devalues them, I have simply been descriptive.

The counter-argument is that if the person hearing my communication PERCEIVES that I have denigrated women in some way, then I have indeed done so. I reject that. If in the totality of what I say there is a pervasive aura of sexism, then I would indeed be guilty. But if I have been only descriptive of a group or subgroup without assigning value judgments, then it is purely communication.

There do exist words that are now considered so racist as to be beyond the pale, even though they were ostensibly not racist 200 or even a hundred years ago. Mark Twain's use of "nigger" is frequently cited in this regard. Somewhat paradoxically, I reject the idea that this was not racist. It was. Regardless of what many people now say, Twain's use of the word was not desciptive, it was categorizing into a group that had a lesser stature and was definitely pejorative in usage. Mind you, I still think Twain's stuff is great literature, but to say that he was not racist is to ignore the entire culture of the period during which Twain wrote.

I have seen attempts to change he and she to (s)he. I have seen people take his and hers and change them to hirs. These are grotesqueries that deserve all the abomination we can heap upon them. When I write regulations, training manuals, articles, whatever, I routinely alternate between the masculine and feminine pronouns. But it would not bother me a bit to use she and her and hers exclusively if that would stop the language Nazis from carping. Though milder grotesqueries, I avoid saying "his or her" or "she and he" because they clog up sentences with unnecessary junk. I've never succeeded in making a sentence flow properly with these constructions.

It's time, my friends, to reclaim our language from the clutches of those who would gut it to the point of absurdity. And that applies to other languages. I have to admit that I'm a bit surprised that political correctness has struck Spanish. I'd love to know if the French have paid any attention to political correctness.

Thud!

Ted jumps down off the soapbox





TEd
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