LINGUIST List 6.1080

Fri Aug 11 1995

Disc: Sex/Lang, re: 1077, Uniformitarian, re: 1078

Editor for this issue: T. Daniel Seely <>


  1. , Re: Disc: Sex/Lang, Re: 1077
  2. Ormsby Lowry Harold-CELE, Re: 6.1078, Uniformitarian principle

Message 1: Re: Disc: Sex/Lang, Re: 1077

Date: Fri, 11 Aug 1995 15:49:21 Re: Disc: Sex/Lang, Re: 1077
From: <>
Subject: Re: Disc: Sex/Lang, Re: 1077

(continuing discussion)

Hi Alexis,
I did not call you or anybody else a misandrist or use any other bad word
about you personally. For you to think so is surprising to me.

Do I sum up your position about sex-related language and society? -- that it
is senseless to discuss particular matters of sex, gender, and language
outside the context of the nearly universal historical dominance of females
by males and the concomitant male-dominance-determined sex-roles? (Further
fortified by the European slavery experience?)

This is NOT the common view. It is a widely held view in some parts of
academia, but we must not make the mistake of thinking that our political
correctness in our small circle of friends is from God's mouth to our ears.
It's been said that the "male-oppression" theme has been raised to nearly a
religious tenet, and for it having achieved that status, is considered by
many of its proponents to require no explanation, i.e., it's held as a matter
of faith.

But I am not a believer, and my intellectual challenge to you goes
unanswered. I think that we owe it, not to the true believers in our
particular domains, but to the fence sitters, to state clearly what we

I want to talk about language and you seem to fall back on your "acceptance
of the common view that almost all or perhaps all societies are in some
important sense male-dominated... and [have] done us little or any good" --
and we have to talk about this before we talk about language. OK, let's talk.

>SO what it all boils down to, again, is that I maintain that
>it makes no sense whatever to discuss the origin of the
>epicene he phenomenon in the context of the story of
>English prescriptive grammar, but only in the context of
>the way in which perceptions of sex roles have informed
>the structure of language (as of any other institution).

OK, please "discuss the way in which perceptions of sex roles have informed
the structure of language". Please discuss, or am I missing something?
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Message 2: Re: 6.1078, Uniformitarian principle

Date: Fri, 11 Aug 1995 19:20:44 Re: 6.1078, Uniformitarian principle
From: Ormsby Lowry Harold-CELE <>
Subject: Re: 6.1078, Uniformitarian principle

Would A.M.R. (or anyone else) please give us some basic biblio on the
uniformitarian principle? I'd like to read up on it before deciding to
abide by or flush it.
Harold Ormsby L.
Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores
en Antropologia Social (CIESAS)
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