You seem to care about and understand the English language far more than
all those who refuse to pay any attention to its semantic tradition.
The tradition is very easy to find in the OED (or one can read
linguistics), and I am deeply relieved that you wrote this. I had come
to feel no one cared the slightest for any fact because the semantic
tradition records the generalizing of "man" by grammarians in the 17th
and 18th century after the loss of neutral terms and the development of
the modern meaning of adult male, and many many psychology experiments
have demonstrated that when one sees "man" or "he," one visualizes a
male, regardless of one's own sex. That is another long semantic story,
but it is easy to find.
>>> [log in to unmask] 04/09/06 10:39 AM >>>
I'm new here but I'm jumping in the present topic... Since English isn't
my first language, I'm sorry (in advance) if I make any mistakes etc.
As for the term "man" - I'd like to know what "militant feminism" means
at all? It sounds to me like an absurd term "militant anti-smoker". If
there's no physical violence, it's quite misleading to use the word
"militant" simply because someone is criticizing intolerance. The
question here is not what we mean when we say "man", the proper question
is: which semantic tradition this term originates from and which
semantic surrounding does it bring when being used nowadays? And now the
story goes on with all those arguments which clearly point out that
since there's a man and there's a woman, a man cannot be a generic term,
unless we accept its sexist nature. So why not using the term "human
To say that "this whole political correctness bullshit" is hypocritical
without saying when and in which circumstances is to make a hasty
generalization. The fact that there are some hypocrites out there, does
not imply we shouldn't care about being politically correct.
Why care about language? Because language is a "life form", it's
effecting us on so many levels - we learn not only to speak but to act
and live according to it. And if we cannot try at least not to bring
sexisms within the way we speak, how can we expect them to be removed
from our acts?
Gunnar Jauch <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
for once I feel obliged to take Ken's side. Militant feminism, as your
opinion is based on, is, as any militant movement, simply a boring
aberration and leads to cumbersome terms. What was wrong, e.g., with
Family of Man", the title of Edward Steichen famous photo exhibit?
Same thing with race: What's wrong with negro? Is Afro-American any
How I detest this whole hypocritical political correctness bullshit, an
American wave spreading all over the world, from a country presently
behaving politically far from correct. It will not make things any
it just obfuscates.
And, yes, you may call me vulgar and illiterate.
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