omorka: (Literary dragon)
New word! (Sorry I’m so excited; I just don’t run into new words that aren’t tech terms very often.)

“Doppelsprecher” - A person who is a perfect sound-alike for another one, in the same way a doppelganger is a perfect look-alike. (I’m assuming it’s of German origin? Someone correct me on that if I’m wrong!)
omorka: (Religious Left)
Wouldn't normally post to anything at FreeThoughtBlogs, but this post by Crommunist on "political [in]correctness" is the best summary of the issues involved I've yet read.
omorka: (Religious Left)
Wouldn't normally post to anything at FreeThoughtBlogs, but this post by Crommunist on "political [in]correctness" is the best summary of the issues involved I've yet read.
omorka: (Literary dragon)
I have made the observation before, but I was just reminded how similar the questions "What is a language?" and "What is a species?" are.

Ligers exist, as do tiglons, and females are fertile. Dutch is a language and Swiss German isn't. We name things in ways that aren't rigorous and then use the terms as if they have rigor.
omorka: (Literary dragon)
I have made the observation before, but I was just reminded how similar the questions "What is a language?" and "What is a species?" are.

Ligers exist, as do tiglons, and females are fertile. Dutch is a language and Swiss German isn't. We name things in ways that aren't rigorous and then use the terms as if they have rigor.
omorka: (Literary dragon)
Is "hissy," or the long form "had a hissy fit," a regionalism? I don't have a problem putting it in Leonard McCoy's mouth, and I know better than to put it in Ianto Jones's, but would Kirk say it? Peter Venkman? Sheriff Jack Carter? Captain Jack Harkness? Douglas Fargo? Perfect Tommy? Elwood Blues?

My intuition is (starting with Kirk) no, yes, maybe if he was being ironic, maybe if he was being quaint, depends on where he went to grad school, no but he'd understand it if someone else used it, no. That implies that I think it's an East Coast/Southern regionalism and not used in the middle states, but possibly in southern California by transplants. I'm not sure that's right, though.
omorka: (Literary dragon)
Is "hissy," or the long form "had a hissy fit," a regionalism? I don't have a problem putting it in Leonard McCoy's mouth, and I know better than to put it in Ianto Jones's, but would Kirk say it? Peter Venkman? Sheriff Jack Carter? Captain Jack Harkness? Douglas Fargo? Perfect Tommy? Elwood Blues?

My intuition is (starting with Kirk) no, yes, maybe if he was being ironic, maybe if he was being quaint, depends on where he went to grad school, no but he'd understand it if someone else used it, no. That implies that I think it's an East Coast/Southern regionalism and not used in the middle states, but possibly in southern California by transplants. I'm not sure that's right, though.
omorka: (Hungy hungy hobbits)
(Sorry about the friendslist-spamming, y'all. Last one tonight, I promise.)

There is a world of difference between "it was not meant to be" and "it was meant not to be."

An awful lot of people say the former when they actually mean the latter.
omorka: (Hungy hungy hobbits)
(Sorry about the friendslist-spamming, y'all. Last one tonight, I promise.)

There is a world of difference between "it was not meant to be" and "it was meant not to be."

An awful lot of people say the former when they actually mean the latter.

New Word!

Jan. 22nd, 2008 10:12 pm
omorka: (Default)
I stumbled across a new word! (This is a relatively rare phenomenon for me, so I try to journal about it when it happens.)

Propertarians - broadly, those who advocate the legal private ownership of property; more specifically, those who believe that all zero-sum goods can be and should be owned, and that the right of ownership is the most fundamental (or one of the most fundamental) human rights.

This strikes me a much more honest name for it than "libertarianism." It also distinguishes the basic philosophical justification from the larger kludge that is Objectivism, with all the muddiness about perception and reality. (Really, when your capitalism has gotten into your metaphysics that deeply and that many times, it's time to put the lid back on - it really doesn't taste all that great.)

New Word!

Jan. 22nd, 2008 10:12 pm
omorka: (Default)
I stumbled across a new word! (This is a relatively rare phenomenon for me, so I try to journal about it when it happens.)

Propertarians - broadly, those who advocate the legal private ownership of property; more specifically, those who believe that all zero-sum goods can be and should be owned, and that the right of ownership is the most fundamental (or one of the most fundamental) human rights.

This strikes me a much more honest name for it than "libertarianism." It also distinguishes the basic philosophical justification from the larger kludge that is Objectivism, with all the muddiness about perception and reality. (Really, when your capitalism has gotten into your metaphysics that deeply and that many times, it's time to put the lid back on - it really doesn't taste all that great.)
omorka: (Lesbian Tea)
Any excuse for me to think about Proto-Indo-European roots and sex at the same time, right? I mean, we could get some number theory in there and we'd have everything I loved about college going on at once.

Linguistic putterings in Eros's courtyard behind the cut )
omorka: (Lesbian Tea)
Any excuse for me to think about Proto-Indo-European roots and sex at the same time, right? I mean, we could get some number theory in there and we'd have everything I loved about college going on at once.

Linguistic putterings in Eros's courtyard behind the cut )
omorka: (Scientology Pervert)
With all respect to George Clinton (and, for that matter, En Vogue), free your ass and your mind will follow. Good, hot sex that breaks a taboo is the best mind-expanding trip there is. Even better than sleep deprivation, caffeine, and too much sucrose, good as that is.

So someone said in an IM conversation:

It was very hard to be pro sex when I was surrounded by so many stories of women who couldn't enjoy themselves anymore. Or never could.


Of course, that precise situation is why I am rabidly pro-sex. The myriad tiny sexual assaults that every woman experiences every day, and the larger sexual assaults that so many of us are scarred by, are not what I mean by sex. Sex is a duet (or trio or quartet or . . .), an activity that can be merely as fluffy fun as a game of Scrabble or badminton, as simultaneously wild and structured as a jazz improv group, or as transcendent as the interaction between worshippers and their God/dess/e/s. But it is a verb, an action, and it requires multiple participants. One person using another as a sex toy is not sex, although it may be masturbation if the user successfully gets off on it and isn't just using it for the power thrill. And the best way to combat that is to promote good sex in all its forms. (Note, by the way, that I'm not in any way anti-masturbation; I'm opposed to using people.)

Sex is not an object, any more than dance is an object or jogging is an object. It is certainly not something that women 'own' and men can take by force, or even something that women give to men or men give to women or lesbians give to each other. Making sex an object seems very clearly related to making women objects, especially since the worst historical patriarchal cultures seem to associate women with nothing except sex and its consequences.

We need a better word, though. Cut to spare anyone who's at work from a large number of vulgarities and euphemisms )

This is the oppressor's language. These are the master's tools. Yet I refuse to believe that we cannot use them to dismantle the master's house; a hammer is a hammer is a hammer, morning or evening. Is there a word we can use? We have a few already - polyamory, polyfidelity, compersion - that the Down-Presser-Man's language didn't have before. Can we come up with a good one, an equal one, for sex-as-a-verb?


Footnote for the first cut )
omorka: (Scientology Pervert)
With all respect to George Clinton (and, for that matter, En Vogue), free your ass and your mind will follow. Good, hot sex that breaks a taboo is the best mind-expanding trip there is. Even better than sleep deprivation, caffeine, and too much sucrose, good as that is.

So someone said in an IM conversation:

It was very hard to be pro sex when I was surrounded by so many stories of women who couldn't enjoy themselves anymore. Or never could.


Of course, that precise situation is why I am rabidly pro-sex. The myriad tiny sexual assaults that every woman experiences every day, and the larger sexual assaults that so many of us are scarred by, are not what I mean by sex. Sex is a duet (or trio or quartet or . . .), an activity that can be merely as fluffy fun as a game of Scrabble or badminton, as simultaneously wild and structured as a jazz improv group, or as transcendent as the interaction between worshippers and their God/dess/e/s. But it is a verb, an action, and it requires multiple participants. One person using another as a sex toy is not sex, although it may be masturbation if the user successfully gets off on it and isn't just using it for the power thrill. And the best way to combat that is to promote good sex in all its forms. (Note, by the way, that I'm not in any way anti-masturbation; I'm opposed to using people.)

Sex is not an object, any more than dance is an object or jogging is an object. It is certainly not something that women 'own' and men can take by force, or even something that women give to men or men give to women or lesbians give to each other. Making sex an object seems very clearly related to making women objects, especially since the worst historical patriarchal cultures seem to associate women with nothing except sex and its consequences.

We need a better word, though. Cut to spare anyone who's at work from a large number of vulgarities and euphemisms )

This is the oppressor's language. These are the master's tools. Yet I refuse to believe that we cannot use them to dismantle the master's house; a hammer is a hammer is a hammer, morning or evening. Is there a word we can use? We have a few already - polyamory, polyfidelity, compersion - that the Down-Presser-Man's language didn't have before. Can we come up with a good one, an equal one, for sex-as-a-verb?


Footnote for the first cut )
omorka: (Yue & Toya)
I don't remember the contex in which this came up, but during the course of spending the afternoon hanging out at [livejournal.com profile] memeslayer's house with most of his social group, someone ([livejournal.com profile] cheshirebast, I think?) came up with the concept of "Kawaiinoqatsi" - "Life of cuteness."

Gods help us, we're mashing together Japanese and Hopi now . . .
omorka: (Yue & Toya)
I don't remember the contex in which this came up, but during the course of spending the afternoon hanging out at [livejournal.com profile] memeslayer's house with most of his social group, someone ([livejournal.com profile] cheshirebast, I think?) came up with the concept of "Kawaiinoqatsi" - "Life of cuteness."

Gods help us, we're mashing together Japanese and Hopi now . . .
omorka: (Literary dragon)
I hate it when the language codes sexist assumptions (which it does all the time).

Today's irritant:

Consider the two sentences "She mothered the child" and "He fathered the child." These should be exactly parallel sentences, right? The only thing that changes is the gender of the subject, right?

But the first sentence describes what the subject is doing. She is behaving towards the child as a caretaker - perhaps cuddling the child, feeding hir, putting hir to bed, or even being overly protective of hir welfare. The sentence also implies that the subject is not actually the child's mother - it would be really odd for the child's birth mother to be described in this way, although it's not an impossible construction; we assume that the child's actual mother will behave this way, and it doesn't need a verb. In fact, the sentence "He mothered the child" is a little strange, but perfectly intelligible - a male (related or not) can feed, comfort, etc. a child well enough.

The second sentence describes the physical relationship between the subject and the child. It means that the subject is the genetic begetter of the child, and that's it. It says nothing about the subject's behavior towards the child. And no one would ever use this sentence about anyone other than the child's begetter (except in error); the sentence "She fathered the child" is so bizarre as to require SF to explain it (the parents are lesbians who had a pair of eggs fused in a lab, and she's the one who didn't carry the pregnancy).

This is (a) blatantly sexist and (b) not very fair to fathers who actually do (to use the gender-neutral term) parent their children, genetic or not.
omorka: (Literary dragon)
I hate it when the language codes sexist assumptions (which it does all the time).

Today's irritant:

Consider the two sentences "She mothered the child" and "He fathered the child." These should be exactly parallel sentences, right? The only thing that changes is the gender of the subject, right?

But the first sentence describes what the subject is doing. She is behaving towards the child as a caretaker - perhaps cuddling the child, feeding hir, putting hir to bed, or even being overly protective of hir welfare. The sentence also implies that the subject is not actually the child's mother - it would be really odd for the child's birth mother to be described in this way, although it's not an impossible construction; we assume that the child's actual mother will behave this way, and it doesn't need a verb. In fact, the sentence "He mothered the child" is a little strange, but perfectly intelligible - a male (related or not) can feed, comfort, etc. a child well enough.

The second sentence describes the physical relationship between the subject and the child. It means that the subject is the genetic begetter of the child, and that's it. It says nothing about the subject's behavior towards the child. And no one would ever use this sentence about anyone other than the child's begetter (except in error); the sentence "She fathered the child" is so bizarre as to require SF to explain it (the parents are lesbians who had a pair of eggs fused in a lab, and she's the one who didn't carry the pregnancy).

This is (a) blatantly sexist and (b) not very fair to fathers who actually do (to use the gender-neutral term) parent their children, genetic or not.
omorka: (Default)
There is, or at least used to be, a movement that went by the name of General Semantics. They're a quirky little group with politics somewhere just to the left of the Objectivists, among other things. But their big idea is that they're against inductive reasoning; it's deductive reasoning or nothing. For that reason, they're also against metaphorical thinking and language, to the point that the consider the word "is" harmful.

While I don't find the GS people's theories themselves to be particularly palatable (needless, I hope, to say, as I personally find metaphor to be one of my most powerful tools for dealing with the world), I am finding the meta-idea of critiquing the memetic structures embedded in and unconsciously transmitted by the structure of our language to be particularly instructive today. I suppose another way to say it is that I'm in a Whorfian mood.

Oh, right, my particular gripe. Sorry about that.

I happened to run into the (obvious) observation that "ownership" is (merely, although I should know better than to use that word) a social construct, not a natural fact about things in two separate places recently. It then collided with my previous complaint about the reification of sex, which is itself mixed up with ownership. When the dust settled, I was left with the realization that we force the possessive form, in English, to do all sorts of work that has nothing to do with "ownership" - but because we use the possessive to do it, the idea of ownership gets all mixed up with these other uses.

In particular, we use "mine" (or "your," or "their," or . . .) to denote a state of relationship. Now, in some cases - "my child," "his wife" - the relationship has historically been pretty close to ownership. But there are plenty of cases where that historical context does not apply: "your friend," "her boss," "my father," "my king," "my god." But as long as we use that language, there is an ownership-meme embedded in the very terms we use to describe relationship-between-people - which is, in my way of thinking at least, the farthest thing possible from ownership. This is one of the reasons I try to say "the Spouse" rather than "my spouse" or, worse, "my husband." However, doing this all the time sounds stilted at best, and it's not always applicable.

Arrrgh . . .

This is aside from my growing conviction that ownership is a pernicious meme in and of itself, especially as applied to things that are not individual nonliving physical objects, seeing how it appears to be the source of a great deal of bizarre and harmful thinking. I think I'll have to go into that later, though.

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