Author Topic: In the New Yorker...  (Read 715018 times)

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1270 on: September 22, 2015, 01:26:04 pm »
However, the article contains one of their more egregious examples of the New Yorker's refusal to put an attribution verb before the subject and creating incredibly awkward writing as a result [ellipses mine]:

"You could count the number of women ... on one hand," Elizabeth Semel, who met Clarke during this period and now runs the death-penalty clinic at the University of California-Berkeley School of Law, recalls.

Yeah, that one's a lulu.
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1271 on: September 22, 2015, 10:57:37 pm »
Yeah, that one's a lulu.

 :laugh:

Would you go so far as a doozy?



Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1272 on: September 23, 2015, 09:25:26 am »
:laugh:

Would you go so far as a doozy?

 :laugh:  You bet!
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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1273 on: September 27, 2015, 02:26:34 pm »
So I'm reading the Bethenny Frankel article (Sept. 21) (Heaven knows why   ::) ) and I see the adjective blond used to describe a woman (p. 61). My first reaction was, Oh, another mistake, probably by a copy editor who doesn't know the difference between blond and blonde. Then I got to thinking, Maybe it isn't a mistake. Maybe TNY is no longer observing the distinction between blond and blonde. And then I realized, I've never really noticed; maybe it never did.  ???

That got me to thinking about other uses that go beyond TNY. I'm pretty sure, for example, that Amy Schumer is a comedian, not a comedienne. Maybe actress, even, is falling into disuse?  ??? Are women who host things now hosts, or are they still hostesses?  ???

Are other formerly "masculine" nouns now considered gender neutral?  ???
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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1274 on: September 27, 2015, 02:48:48 pm »
Yes. I'm pretty sure the recent piece on Julianne Moore refers to her as an actor.
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1275 on: September 27, 2015, 03:08:07 pm »
Yes, I've seen the move toward actor, and have mixed feelings about it. It sounds more jarring (wait, she's a woman -- oh yeah) than the move to comedian from comedienne, which sounds dated. But also, why not call both genders actresses? The move is always toward the masculine. And yes, I can understand the reasons -- if you think calling Julianne Moore an actor is odd, imagine calling Sean Penn an actress. But still, it seems like yet another subtle form of linguistic sexism in a way. Sexism often involves thinking of men as people and women as women, and this assumption that the masculine form is standard seems like a variation on that.

That said, I have seen male coffee-servers referred to as baristas on a number of occasions (not in TNY, as far as I know). But I've chalked that up less to equal opportunity than to people who don't understand how Italian works.

I was in Italy once with a friend who attempted to repel some overaggressive female gypsies (is that an offensive term, BTW? If so, sorry) following us across a square by calling them sporko, which she had heard to be some kind of Italian insult (I thought it meant pig, but not according to Google Translate, which also says it's actually Basque). The women rolled their eyes and corrected her: sporka.

Actually, with two of them, it should have been sporki, I think. In any case, it was hilarious.






Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1276 on: September 27, 2015, 03:38:10 pm »
Yes, I've seen the move toward actor, and have mixed feelings about it. It sounds more jarring (wait, she's a woman -- oh yeah) than the move to comedian from comedienne, which sounds dated. But also, why not call both genders actresses? The move is always toward the masculine. And yes, I can understand the reasons -- if you think calling Julianne Moore an actor is odd, imagine calling Sean Penn an actress. But still, it seems like yet another subtle form of linguistic sexism in a way. Sexism often involves thinking of men as people and women as women, and this assumption that the masculine form is standard seems like a variation on that.

That's more or less what was in the back of my mind.

I guess performer could be considered gender neutral, but it's not really specific enough to acting. A performer could be someone who spins plates, or balances something on the end of his or her nose.

I guess singers, at least, are usually just singers, regardless of gender.

Quote
That said, I have seen male coffee-servers referred to as baristas on a number of occasions (not in TNY, as far as I know). But I've chalked that up less to equal opportunity than to people who don't understand how Italian works.

I think I have seen barista used in TNY, but I can't prove it so won't swear to it. In any case, I didn't know it was Italian. For no good reason, I thought it was Spanish. Are you saying that barista is a feminine form? I've never heard servers at hoity-toity coffee shops referred to as anything other than baristas.

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Offline southendmd

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1277 on: September 27, 2015, 06:17:58 pm »
Barista means "bartender" in Italian, and can be male or female (i.e. there is no "baristo").  However, in the plural, two men are baristi and two women are bariste. 

As for the actor thing, the corollary is the continued use of "male model" and "male nurse".

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1278 on: September 27, 2015, 08:01:53 pm »
As for the actor thing, the corollary is the continued use of "male model" and "male nurse".

Interesting point, although I'm not a hunnerd percent persuaded here because there might be situations where the gender descriptor is useful--though clearly there are situations, maybe even the majority of situations, where the gender descriptor is entirely unnecessary.

BTW, thanks for the explanation of barista.
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1279 on: September 28, 2015, 05:34:55 pm »
Barista means "bartender" in Italian, and can be male or female (i.e. there is no "baristo").  However, in the plural, two men are baristi and two women are bariste. 

Hunh! I guess I'm the one who doesn't know how language works.  ::) It seems to be irregular, though. Found this list of general rules online. It's clear there are exceptions, and apparently barista is one of them.

The basic rule is that masculine singular nouns end with -o, feminine singular nouns end with -a. Most words follow this form, but this is not always the case.

    Masculine singular nouns can end in -a (rare)
    Feminine singular nouns can end in -o (rare)
    Both masculine and feminine nouns can end with -e
    Nouns ending in - are always feminine
    Nouns ending in - are always masculine
    Nouns ending in -i and in - are usually feminine
    Nouns ending in -ione are usually feminine
    Nouns ending in -mma are usually Greek in origin and masculine


https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Italian/Nouns

Quote
As for the actor thing, the corollary is the continued use of "male model" and "male nurse".

I guess that is sort of the corollary, if the underlying assumption for actor, comedian, etc., is that those jobs acquired feminine forms when they stopped being performed exclusively by men.

Many jobs that are sometimes masculinized also have gender-neutral titles: postal carrier, police officer, firefighter, flight attendant, Congressional representative, server (or, as we used to call it when I was in the biz, "waitron").

As a writer, I've had trouble from time to time with "fisherman." The gender-neutral equivalent is supposed to be "angler," but who says that in ordinary conversation??

Of course, the big question in the gender-language challenge in English is pronouns for indeterminate people nouns. Like, is it the traditional "When a student finishes his classwork" or "When a student finishes his or her classwork ..." or do you alternate back and forth, or do you go with "their/they/them"? The last is my personally preferred approach (though I don't use it in professional writing) -- I think we should just bite the bullet and adopt it, but it makes some people shudder.