Tuesday, February 26, 2013

English Language (Part II)

 “As Rivers were to the tribal Indians,
English is our Road through Life.
Choose each word and tone of voice,
to clarify the intended meaning.
And...as always, my Mother advised,
Stop and Look before Crossing the Street!”
(MBK…teacher, advocate of positive thinking)

                                          Words can be loving, kind, inspiring or in jest;
                                          Words can be deceptive, sarcastic, of ridicule or anger.
                                           Sometimes, words are ambiguously misrepresented ~
                                           The results?  Total confusion and misunderstanding.

The world’s most widely used language is English which has 1.8 billion 1st and 2nd 
language users. We are fortunate to live in an English speaking country...  
therefore,  let us use Our Language with discretion!

Feminism...in Today's Vocabulary

In July, 2012, my son sent this essay
which  appropriately follows...English Language (Part I)

The English language used to have the
elegance of a feminine term for certain titles,
of which only a handful survive
in today's common vernacular.

Everyone understands “prince” and “princess. 
It is still common to say “actor” and “actress”.

Many people still understand “waiter” and “waitress”,
but this has been largely replaced by “server”.
Server is one who serves, whereas “waiter” or “waitress”
is one who waits upon ~ which I regard to be a more fitting title.
To serve conjures the feeling of service or gratitude,
I prefer delegating the word “server”
to a computer network server.

A “steward” is one who looks after or tends to the needs of people.
I miss the days when ladies who tended the needs 
of airline passengers were properly titled “stewardess”
and a man of course, was called a “steward”.

It is the curse of this equality having gone too far, which has scrubbed the beauty of womanhood from our culture.  The elegance  and delicacy of femininity has been largely replaced with the civil rights cover of “feminism”.

There is a line in the first book of Anne (with an 'e'), where Anne says to Rachel Lynde, “I shall always regard you as a benefactress.”  At another point in the story, Anne disregards herself as a “poetess”.

The old-fashioned 'ess' terms convey a feeling of feminine grace or elegance in the role and maintains a feminine distinction.

Professions that have been traditionally male, and typically ended with the title 'man' have been changed.  Fireman...is now called “fire fighter”...though I can hardly imagine a woman carrying my temple out of a burning building.

For a while, the term policewoman stuck, but for some strange reason, that was thought to be degenerate, so the term “police officer” emerged (even though “officer” ending in 'er' is a masculine term).  My dive buddy's wife referred to female police officers as “girl cops” ~ a term I much prefer.

A lady who checked parking meters used to be commonly known as a “meter maid”.  Wasn't there some pop song, “Lovely, Rita, “meter-maid”?

There's a little scene in H2O where Zane has reopened a favourite cafe to partner his girlfriend Rikki.  They were hiring some help to wait tables; Rikki wasn't back yet.  Will's very ambitious sister, Sophie, wedged her way in and convinced the other applicants that the position had already been taken.

“Who are you?” asked one of the applicants.
“Who do you think I am?” replied Sophie.
“Well, you're not the manageress!  I know what she looks like,”
angrily said the applicant.

Speaking of H2O, nobody panics over the term “mermaid”.  Is that one of  the few terms using “maid” to survive the duckspeak of the modern vernacular? The term “maid” simply means “girl” and is widely used in the Holy Scriptures, but its common usage in the context of a cleaning lady has caused it to take on a degenerative view.

Even such words as “dame” and “damsel” have been abused to a sad level.

Even as I may endorse the elegance of yesteryear's gender-sensitive terminology, I get confused with those terms that end in X.  My great aunt was involved  in executing somebody's will and she referred to her role as an “executrix”. I suppose the suffix 'ess' becometh 'ix' if there is an “X in the title.

The degeneracy of language is a mere reflection of the degeneracy of the culture.
The price for this abuse of over-equality is a much lower respect for women than we had before.

I've noticed that lady state governors, such as Sarah Palin or Jan Brewer continue to use the title “governor”.  Is there something wrong with “governess”?  Or do they think a governess is a nanny?  A nanny is a child-care giver or a goat.  A governess is a lady who governs.

Words of Wisdom

Problems cannot be solved
by the same level of thinking
that created them.
(Albert Einstein)

Merle Baird-Kerr … written February 9, 2013
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  1. Merle...

    I absolutely loved this wonderful and entertaining prose about our precious English Language...very enlightening on this snowy/slushy day in Canada.
    I feel the same way !


  2. Today...definitely snowy, slushy and icy!
    My son's perception in writing this essay amazed me! Most take our "English vocabulary" for granted, failing to appreciate its beauty as a language!
    Thanks for your comment, Sherrie.