[ExI] from quora - laugh of the day

Dan TheBookMan danust2012 at gmail.com
Wed Oct 13 23:29:29 UTC 2021

I’m not sure about what’s considered appropriate in polite French, so I’m not sure how shocking Ravel’s title was then or would be now. I wasn’t the one, though, focusing on ‘tit.’ Reread what I wrote. I was pointing out that ‘breast’ too was an Anglo-Saxon word (or is a close cognate to one). So, if the standard is going to ‘use the Anglo-Saxon word,’ it doesn’t decide the issue here. (I don’t think Anglo-Saxon usage should be the guide anyhow — even if anyone did have a clear guide for it. Given what survived and surmises, I’m not even sure anyone has a clear idea to what the Anglo-Saxon person in the street (when — given that the language was used for several hundred years and wasn’t static? where — given that there were different dialects, so what was the norm in Northumbria might have been weird in Wessex?) would’ve used in the street, at home, at the market, etc.)

The thing with ‘your woman’ is there’s a long history of thinking of women as property or at least as lacking full agency and needing make adult supervision, so the use of ‘your’ here tends to have a different tenor in that context than when saying ‘your friend’ or ‘your gran.’

The ‘gates of hell’ has a long history too. If you recall King Lear has a rant against women in Act IV Scene 6. Sure, your prof might’ve been using it to be polite. A friend of mine told me that in translating Flaubert, the problem is more with English having to choose between medical anatomy terms or vulgarities for parts of the human body. He gave me the idea that in French reference to these same things in ordinary speech wasn’t as danced around as in English. (Modern English usage is heir to Victorian prudishness and the Norman conquest. The former brings an avoidance of many things or topics in ‘polite’ conversation while the latter gave lexical class distinctive, such as the cow being what the cowherd deals with while beef being what the lord of the manor eats. Or so goes the simplified version.)



> On Oct 13, 2021, at 3:13 PM, William Flynn Wallace via extropy-chat <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> 'Your woman' not OK?  How about 'your mate'?  'Your baby'?  'Your squeeze'  - an oldie there.  'Your old woman' definitely out.
> Women are conflicted the way most men aren't about their body parts.  Breasts can be 'puppies'.  Ravel wrote a piece called Les Mammelles de Ste. Teresias.  Vaginas can be 'down there'.  .  An oldtimer psych prof when I started would tell girls to shut 'The Gates of Hell'.  Hundreds of slang terms online.  Reason?   Anxiety.  We somehow cannot stand medical terms even those are usually without anxiety.  bill w
>> On Wed, Oct 13, 2021 at 4:37 PM Dan TheBookMan via extropy-chat <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> On Oct 13, 2021, at 2:15 PM, Ben Zaiboc via extropy-chat <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> > On 13/10/2021 00:03, billw wrote:
>> >> I also tell guys never, ever call your woman's chest 'tits' much less 'titties'.
>> > 
>> > Maybe a cultural thing here, but I need to qualify this: "unless they do".
>> > 
>> > Perhaps the standard Anglo-saxon terms are less acceptable in America than they are in their birthplace.
>> Breast is also of Old English origin. Anyhow, I’m not sure how standard it was a thousand years ago or why that should guide current usage. You probably wouldn’t I trust use ‘girl’ to mean a child of any gender simply because that’s how the word was used even after the Norman conquest.
>> Regards,
>> Dan
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