Monday, 18 February 2013

Misogynist, the Language debate

Way back last year Julia Gillard said she wouldn't be lectured on misogyny by Tony Abbott.

Some people then claimed , falsely, she had used the word wrongly.

For over a decade I sat on the board of Robert Menzies College. Apart from learning I was the only person who was a theological conservative I was fortunate to befriend David Blair, an academic, from Macquarie university, in this area.
I remember asking him why people used woman as an adjective when it was clearly a noun.
He told me it was both as that is what the population had made it.

Dictionaries are always catching up with how the population uses a word.

The word bludger originally was a term for a prostitute's pimp. it is now used to describe some-one who is lazy. ( Thanks to Kel Richards on this!)
A Dictionary should carry all meanings of the word i.e. its meanings from its original meaning to its current.
thus we get this from the Oxford dictionary

Definition of bludger


Australian/NZ informal
  • a scrounger: just look at that bludger, can’t get his thieving hands on the cash fast enough
  • an idle or lazy person: I suspect there are far more bludgers in jobs than on the dole


mid 19th century (originally British slang denoting a pimp, specifically one who robbed his prostitute's clients): abbreviation of bludgeoner, from bludgeon

Thus when the head of the Macquarie dictionary said the dictionary would have to carry the present understanding of the word misogynist we can see what she was alluding to.

This is somewhat related.

I have only just read the SMH and see a debate about cheese and the word philistine being used.
This is interesting. In historical context the philistines were a highly cultural and worldly people. In fact it was the Israelites who were the uncultured boors at that time. indeed they attempted to copy many of the neighbouring nation's cultural practices which of course got them into trouble.
Thus we have a word to describe something that is completely opposite to what happened in practice!

Sometimes people can't even read dictionaries when trying to understand what a word means!