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Semantics

Yesterday I went to see Kirstin Hersch [beautiful music, terrible trousers] play at the Barfly in chalk farm and she was marvellous. So funny! Such a terrific voice! I had a grand time, and now I heart and covet her and want her CDs. She was very entertaining, I liked her stories a lot, especially the one about having a heart attack on the Canadian border.

This morning I had a discussion with my mother in which I took issue with the following phrases

1) The Serb habit of calling a female child, son as a term of tenderness and endearment

2) Using the phrase for my love to entice one to do something for me.
e.g. *please cook yourself healthy snacks for my love*

I took issue with the phrases on the grounds that they were unhealthy and sending negative messaging
about worth and conditional love eg. *do X to earn my affection*, and then my mother took issue with me taking issue etc. and insisted that it wasn't at all what she meant and the phrases are ok to use because they have a loving spirit and I'm hairsplitting.

So, to resolve these burning questions I give you A Poll!

Poll #465343 I say, You say

Do you think *Son* is an appropriate term of endearment for a daughter?

Yes, you hairsplitter!
1(3.4%)
Yes, if it's a beautiful Serb tradition
5(17.2%)
Yes, but only if the daughter is extra good
0(0.0%)
Yes, but only if the daughter is transexual
11(37.9%)
No
7(24.1%)
No, and it is a terrible transgression and you are right to be offended by it
5(17.2%)

Does the phrase *Do X for my love* sound like it has manipulative undertones and negative messages about conditional affection?

Yes, it's full of sinister promise
20(66.7%)
No, it's a beautiful expression
3(10.0%)
I can't answer loaded questions
6(20.0%)
Other [explained in comments]
1(3.3%)

Is it right to take issue with how things are said?

Yes, by all means
16(53.3%)
Only if you wish to aggravate somebody
1(3.3%)
Occasionally valid
13(43.3%)
No, you hairsplitting heathen!
0(0.0%)

Do you think the way things are phrased has the power to influence people's attitudes/subconcious?

Yes
29(96.7%)
No
0(0.0%)
Perhaps
1(3.3%)

Do you habitually think carefully about the things you say?

Yes
5(16.7%)
Yes, for I choose my insults with the utmost consideration
10(33.3%)
Sometimes
12(40.0%)
No
3(10.0%)

Are there any words or phrases you hear that you take issue with?

Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
mooism
Mar. 31st, 2005 03:39 pm (UTC)
What’s the story behind Serbs calling their cherished daughters “son”? Is it the obvious one of patriarchal domination, or were they originally called something else, which mutated until it sounded exactly like “son” and no-one could tell the difference any more, or something else?

Sometimes I think about what I say (and type) too much, and sometimes not enough.
rainsinger
Mar. 31st, 2005 03:53 pm (UTC)
What’s the story behind Serbs calling their cherished daughters “son”? Is it the obvious one of patriarchal domination,

That's what I reckon it is. Because the cherished children are the sons. So cherished daughters may get upgraded to status of *son*
elf_awareness
Apr. 2nd, 2005 06:50 am (UTC)
In spanish a word for children in general is ninos (the second n has a squiggly.) I tend to find this a little unsettling.

If its a group of girls, ninas.

a group of boys, ninos.

a mixed group, also ninos.

and its madre and padre, but the word for parents is padres. Seems to me to be a similar bias. I'm sure english has similar things, its just easier for me to see it in spanish. Somehow your example trumps mine.
mzdt
Mar. 31st, 2005 03:43 pm (UTC)
beautiful music, terrible trousers

well, I've got the trousers, just need to work on the music. I've had an on/off liking for Kirstin Hersh - some Throwing Muses stuff was amazing (Hunkpapa for example) and some not so, the first acoustic album was stunning, but more recent stuff has passed me by.

I suspect most things like the above are said from habit without having any real meaning. I'd take someone up on semantics (particularly if sexist, racist etc and they're not even thinking what they're saying) but be prepared for an uphill struggle.
elethe
Mar. 31st, 2005 03:59 pm (UTC)
My father calls me son all the time. Maybe he is Serbian.
rainsinger
Apr. 5th, 2005 07:50 pm (UTC)
The plot thickens :)
elethe
Apr. 5th, 2005 07:56 pm (UTC)
Of course he also told some people my name was 'Brian' when I was a baby because they had said "oh, what a lovely little boy, what's his name?" and he was too embarrassed to correct them.

He is very odd, my dad.
rainsinger
Apr. 5th, 2005 08:16 pm (UTC)
He is very odd, my dad.

I am starting to think it's a rule that at least one family member must be.

On a completely different note, on BBC2 right now interrogation and brainwashing stuff if you're interested.
dubaiyan
Mar. 31st, 2005 05:58 pm (UTC)
Bengalis call their daughters "mother"
..as a term of endearment.
rainsinger
Apr. 5th, 2005 07:51 pm (UTC)
Re: Bengalis call their daughters "mother"
tsk.
no subtle hints there then.
annasilverlight
Apr. 1st, 2005 05:37 pm (UTC)
I just added you. (I am Rachel, who you will have met through miss_newham and tjej)
This poll is really interesting; I think about these sorts of things quite a lot.
Glad you liked the lovely Kristin Hersh. Have you acquired any of her albums yet.
rainsinger
Apr. 5th, 2005 07:50 pm (UTC)
Hello Rachel!

I haven't acquired any of her albums yet [although i suspect i might when i acquire my next salary]. Are there any particular ones you'd reccomend?

annasilverlight
Apr. 6th, 2005 06:07 pm (UTC)
Well, my favourite Kristin solo album is Strange Angels, closely followed by Sky Motel. At the concert she played a lot from her first album, Hips and Makers, and her fourth Sunny Border Blue, so if you liked the gig you'd like them. The most recent is The Grotto which has more strings and piano on it than the others, and is kind of less immediately accessible - but lovely.
nicbone
Apr. 4th, 2005 11:35 pm (UTC)
I hope you don't mind, but I've added you. We did meet on a tubewalk a while back but I was too hung over to talk to anyone properly and thus too ashamed to add new friends.
rainsinger
Apr. 5th, 2005 07:49 pm (UTC)
Hello! :)

I remember you, you had a great hat. :)
cranycixe
Jul. 21st, 2011 05:26 pm (UTC)
Хороший блог!
Писака давай зачетку Блог Ваш почему-то плохо продвинутый и плохопосещаем. Советуем разрекламировать Ваш ЖЖ с помощью программы XRumer 7 Elite (ХРумер 7 Элите) взять можно тут http://x-rumer.ru/ говорят шикарная программа для продвижения ЖЖ блогов.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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