Author Topic: Gendered terms  (Read 1892 times)

nebo113

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Re: Gendered terms
« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2019, 05:27:30 AM »
As a higher education tie in, we've had some debates lately about Latin 101 and what to call individual students after they graduate.

We seem to have landed on "alum" will be tolerated if and only if you acknowledge that it's not a real word and you demonstrate you know the definitions of alumnus/alumna/alumni/alumnae and you are intentionally choosing a gender-neutral alternative.

"Alum" is a real word:  a colorless astringent compound that is a hydrated double sulfate of aluminum and potassium, used in solution medicinally and in dyeing and tanning.

venerable_bede

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Re: Gendered terms
« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2019, 09:25:48 AM »

Alumni has been used for so long that I doubt many associate it with men except for Latin purists.


I think Latin "purists" would associate "alumni" with a group of men only, or a group of men and women, since that's how Latin works. A thousand women are alumnæ; a thousand women and one dude are alumni.

Me miserum! Mecum plangite!

venerable_bede

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Re: Gendered terms
« Reply #17 on: December 15, 2019, 09:34:54 AM »
We seem to have landed on "alum" will be tolerated if and only if you acknowledge that it's not a real word and you demonstrate you know the definitions of alumnus/alumna/alumni/alumnae and you are intentionally choosing a gender-neutral alternative.

If boondoggle and googol are "real" words despite having been spontaneously created by a single person, surely something like alum, which has emerged over time as a useful shortened form of alumnus/a, can be a real word too?

Otherwise it's like saying perk or perq isn't a real word because the real one is perquisite.

pgher

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Re: Gendered terms
« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2019, 06:39:28 AM »

Alumni has been used for so long that I doubt many associate it with men except for Latin purists.


I think Latin "purists" would associate "alumni" with a group of men only, or a group of men and women, since that's how Latin works. A thousand women are alumnæ; a thousand women and one dude are alumni.

Me miserum! Mecum plangite!

I think that points to a larger issue. Mixed-gender groups generally have masculine names. Brethren. Guys, as in, "Hey, guys, come here." I'm sure there are others that I can't think of right now. Also terms for professions have masculine endings, like doctor. "Actor" is an interesting case: originally masculine with "actress" as feminine, but I see many women identified as actors these days.