The ambivalent distaff relationship with slang
Posted: 01 December 2019 07:04 AM   [ Ignore ]
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A footling treatment of Jonathon Green’s new book about this in the Grauniad. It sounds interesting. Did Betty Boop use flapper slang? There must be a lot of sapphisms men don’t know in the book.

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Posted: 01 December 2019 09:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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This article misses some very important points. If this article is representative of Green’s book, I would be disappointed in him. (I suspect the reporter is getting a lot wrong here.)

It’s widely accepted by linguists that women are more likely to be language innovators than men. This isn’t surprising in the least for those that seriously study language. If there has been a lack of female-created slang in dictionaries, it’s most likely because traditionally men have controlled the publishing industry, and the slang that gets recorded is male-oriented or male-mediated. The phenomenon of female slang is nothing new, just more visible nowadays that women are in control of their own publishing outlets.

That a particular slang should develop among a particular internet group is also not surprising. Virtually every internet group has its own in-slang. Mumsnet is interesting in its own right, but there are no new insights into slang in general here.

And several of the terms they discuss, such as OTOH and FWIW, are hardly unique to Mumsnet. They’re in general use.

Also, sapphism refers to lesbians, not women in general. I don’t think a parenting website would have much lesbian slang. (Not that lesbians aren’t parents too, just that the topics of discussion on a parenting website are unlikely to be queer-oriented.)

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Posted: 01 December 2019 02:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Why would initialisms be referred to as slang? OTOH and FWIW are initialisms representing, on the other hand, for what it’s worth. Those are not slang expressions. I’m obviously confused.

I must be in the minority here, but I’m not an aficionado of initialisms, or texting for that matter. Unfortunately it’s indispensable in today’s world of technology.

I received a text from someone the other day who wrote the initialism. Ttyl, (without capitalizations) I had no idea what it meant. I tried in vain to decipher its meaning until I finally acquiesced and googled it; it means, talk to you later. I’ve occasionally used initialisms on this forum, but it’s not my thing.

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Posted: 02 December 2019 07:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Logophile - 01 December 2019 02:36 PM

Why would initialisms be referred to as slang? OTOH and FWIW are initialisms representing, on the other hand, for what it’s worth. Those are not slang expressions. I’m obviously confused.

In some cases the initialisms have made it into conversation.  For instance: “double-u tee eff” is fairly common (probably because it’s more polite to sensitive ears).  Might they be considered slang in those cases, a la “fubar” or “bohica”?

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Posted: 10 December 2019 01:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Dave, by sapphisms (a word I made up) I meant slang lesbians use which would be necessarily unknown to almost all males. I was speculating that Green would have been able to research it as an important part of his book about which we currently know little.

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Posted: 10 December 2019 02:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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venomousbede - 10 December 2019 01:50 AM

Dave, by sapphisms (a word I made up) I meant slang lesbians use which would be necessarily unknown to almost all males. I was speculating that Green would have been able to research it as an important part of his book about which we currently know little.

It’s possible to talk to lesbians.

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