Author Topic: Semantics.  (Read 1278 times)

Online zetlander

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Semantics.
« on: Tuesday 01 September 20 11:08 BST (UK) »
talking about our family history with my niece I explained how my grandmother had a child before she married.
My niece then asked who grandmother had had an 'affair' with.  Then niece referred to this child as 'love child.'
Uncle Walter (1880-1959) was homosexual - not a secret - lived with his valet. Today he would be described as 'gay.'

Is it right to use modern terminology when describing things of the past i.e. should we talk about grandmother's 'affair' or about Uncle W being 'gay' because those terms were not around in their time?


Online IgorStrav

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Re: Semantics.
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday 01 September 20 11:13 BST (UK) »
I think you use the terminology that is familiar to the listener, and add what words might have been used at the time you're talking about.

This then may convey the difference between 'love child' and the very judgemental 'bastard" of the time, which brought with it great disgrace, and often great and unfair discrimination.

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Online Kiltpin

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Re: Semantics.
« Reply #2 on: Tuesday 01 September 20 14:00 BST (UK) »
I agree. The English language is constantly evolving and words and phrases often become the opposite of their original meaning. 

I make a point of deliberately misunderstanding when an American tells me he has "lucked out" - when he means that he is in luck! 

Most people in medical professions would consider a natural child to have been conceived without the aid  of any external procedures, or medication. 

Regards 

Chas
Whannell - Eaton - Jackson
India - Scotland - Australia


Offline oldfashionedgirl

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Re: Semantics.
« Reply #3 on: Wednesday 02 September 20 11:53 BST (UK) »
Interesting Kiltpin, I didn’t realise that. I would have assumed that ‘Lucked out’ meant out of luck !

Online Kiltpin

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Re: Semantics.
« Reply #4 on: Wednesday 02 September 20 12:45 BST (UK) »
Interesting Kiltpin, I didn’t realise that. I would have assumed that ‘Lucked out’ meant out of luck !
 

Yes, so would the rest of the world, except for the bit between Canada and Mexico! 

Regards 

Chas
Whannell - Eaton - Jackson
India - Scotland - Australia

Offline ReadyDale

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Re: Semantics.
« Reply #5 on: Wednesday 02 September 20 14:25 BST (UK) »
As George Bernard Shaw (allegedly) said "two nations separated by a common language"

Online Erato

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Re: Semantics.
« Reply #6 on: Wednesday 02 September 20 14:38 BST (UK) »
"I make a point of deliberately misunderstanding ...."

Why?
Wiltshire:  Banks, Taylor
Somerset:  Duddridge, Richards, Barnard, Pillinger
Gloucestershire:  Barnard, Marsh, Crossman
Bristol:  Banks, Duddridge, Barnard
Down:  Ennis, McGee
Wicklow:  Chapman, Pepper
Wigtownshire:  Logan, Conning
Wisconsin:  Ennis, Chapman, Logan, Ware
Maine:  Ware, Mitchell, Tarr

Online Kiltpin

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Re: Semantics.
« Reply #7 on: Wednesday 02 September 20 15:13 BST (UK) »
"I make a point of deliberately misunderstanding ...."

Why?
 

For my own amusement.  I use deliberate misunderstanding in conversation when I note that others are being obliquely racist, or ageist, or sexist, or, or ...  It forces them to either realise what they are saying, or defend their attitude. 

Regards 

Chas
Whannell - Eaton - Jackson
India - Scotland - Australia

Online Erato

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Re: Semantics.
« Reply #8 on: Wednesday 02 September 20 15:46 BST (UK) »
Maybe it's just me, but I don't see anything offensively racist, ageist, or sexist about the idiom 'to luck out' and I have never heard it used in such a way.  Would it be cynical to suspect that your explanation is deliberately disingenuous?
Wiltshire:  Banks, Taylor
Somerset:  Duddridge, Richards, Barnard, Pillinger
Gloucestershire:  Barnard, Marsh, Crossman
Bristol:  Banks, Duddridge, Barnard
Down:  Ennis, McGee
Wicklow:  Chapman, Pepper
Wigtownshire:  Logan, Conning
Wisconsin:  Ennis, Chapman, Logan, Ware
Maine:  Ware, Mitchell, Tarr