dwj-digest (Diana Wynne Jones) V1 #758

Sarah sarah-neko at dove.gen.nz
Thu Dec 4 15:51:10 EST 2003

> The problem I have is that my students then think that it is okay to 
> use
> they even when the subject is clearly singular: "a student handed in 
> their
> homework."
> Robyn

Yes, that's the use that bugs me. I understand that it doesn't *flow* 
to say 'his or her,' 'she or he' in a situation where you genuinely 
don't know the person's sex or where their sex is beside the point...
I'd try to get people started using s/he and hir but they *look* 
terrible, and, of course, can't be distinguished when spoken aloud.

> After the "they" word, my favourite hate is badly constructed words 
> like
> "chocoholic". That's derived from alcoholic, which is alcohol + ic.
> Therefore is must be chocolatic. (if you drop the e...).

And workaholic, and any other 'holic,' especially when the reference is 
not to a real addiction or compulsion but just to an enthusiasm. They 
really annoy me.
I wonder if, born in another century, I would have been one of those 
people bitching that 'television' or 'telegram' or 'petroleum' was a 
loathsome hybrid of Greek and Latin.

> Oh, I'm sure of it--if the baby's identified, it seems strange to be 
> using a
> neuter pronoun.  What I think is strange is why the gender wouldn't be
> identified...but only "strange" in the sense of "we are so much more
> obsessed with such things than people were in days of yore."
> In fact, I realized that I use "it" myself when writing or speaking of 
> a
> baby whose sex I do not know.  I think that's where I picked up the 
> habit,
> those old texts.

I use 'it' for gender-indeterminate babies, but think dogs are 'he' by 
default and cats are 'she.' Goodness knows why.

> I wish my life were that easy.  I'm lucky if the children respond to 
> their
> given names without me tacking on middle and surname as well, 
> delivered in a
> loud carrying theater voice.
> Melissa Proffitt
> (whose oldest child is reading over her shoulder and thinks I am Very 
> Funny
> to mention it)

My mother calls me and my sister by each other's names with tiresome 
frequency (including, while under stress, 'Sarah, stop bothering me and 
go and sit with Sarah!').

> Pani: What an excellent description of the effect! I plowed through 
> Marion
> Zimmer Bradley's [blanking on title- something about Avalon-- the
> Arthurian one] with extreme effort, because I found by 1/3 of the way
> through that I disliked everyone in the book, and felt that most of 
> them--
> especially the pagan priestesses one was supposed to admire-- might 
> have
> been better drowned at birth.

*^.^* Mists of Avalon, I think. I had the same problem when I was 
reading (for the same class as 'Earthsea' - it really made me reassess 
my assumption that I 'liked fantasy,' because SO many of the fantasy 
books we studied were not up my alley at all) 'Black Trillium,' by a 
triumvirate of female fantasy writers. I scorned everyone in that darn 
book utterly (especially Orogastus, the 
villain-who-you-are-supposed-to-think-is-rather-hunky). I was amazed to 
learn they had thought it was worth writing sequels.

> The one who used to do for my mother in the eighties (a student) was
> English and called himself "a cleaner".
>    Irina

I do for my mother and honorary maiden aunt while I'm unemployed and 
call myself a skivvy.

> Deborah:
>> Charlie, is that you what's won the ChLA 2003 Article Honor for your
>> _Red Shift_ article?  If so, Mazel Tov!
> Ahem - yes, 'tis I. I'm trying not to let it change my life, though. 
> :-)

Well anyway, well done!
Have a butter-pie, or something.

> On Wednesday, December 3, 2003, at 04:41 PM, minnow at belfry.org.uk 
> wrote:
>> Now I wonder: does the lady on whom Zinka is
>> based identify with Zinka?  Memo to self, ask
>> her when the chance arises...  also ask her
>> whether she identifies with the Pratchett
>> character also based on her.  Would that lead
>> to an identity *crisis*, if both?  Hmmmmm
> Who is the Pratchett character based on her?

Unless my memory has played me false, I think I was actually present at 
a signing in Auckland, New Zealand when he sourced the name for 
Constable Ping ('It means a water meadow').
I have always agonised over the fact that I thought Terry gave me an 
annoyed look when he signed my book. Perhaps he was just tired. Perhaps 
he thought my hat was making fun of his hat. *frets*

> Minnow: Is her name Helen?  She mostly gets called "my Missus" and 
> "the Queen" in
> TMN, but I think she's named in one of the other books, or maybe at 
> the end
> with the coronation.

Named Helen, called Nellie. I believe!

> Not being a Pratchett fan, nor having read them for -- well, since one 
> came
> out and I decided I wasn't going to bother to buy any more, around 
> *Mort*
> or thenabouts, I can't remember the names, but one of his witches was
> greeted at the time she occurred at SF fandom in Britain as being 
> based on
> Sue and another on her and one other member of fandom, and both they 
> and he
> agreed that was right.  I got confused because he took the *name* of 
> the
> other fan and gave it to one of the witches, but swore blind the 
> character
> of that name was not based on the fan of the same name, but on Sue 
> Mason
> really.  Something along those lines anyway.  It was in a convention 
> bar...

I have heard him say that Nanny Ogg is named Gytha after another witch 
he knows, but that this woman is not like Nanny apart from being a 
witch called Gytha (it's Old English for Gift). She's rather annoyed 
with him about it because people get the idea that she must be motherly 
and she isn't at all.

E you later,
(the artist formerly known as Sarah-neko)

Air and Angels Anime Shrines

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