"It's really kind of amusing to me," said Dennis Baron, a University of Illinois linguist and curator of a Web site that decodes language in the news. "People think if we don't have anything to call the decade, that maybe we will forget it, that it will be some kind of orphan decade, that it won't exist. But it's simply not true."I think we settled on "lover," just because it was too amusing not to use. Either that or "special lady."
For evidence, see: the romantic partner of an older adult who is not married. The phenomenon exists; there just isn't a good, specific word for it.
"If you are 60 years old, saying 'my girlfriend' sounds stupid," Sheidlower said. " 'Partner' sounds too businesslike or suggests a gay relationship. 'Companion' doesn't sound romantic. The Census Bureau calls it POSSLQ -- persons of opposite sex sharing living quarters. That obviously doesn't work. The fact that there is a need for a word doesn't mean it will arise."
Saturday, December 26, 2009
THE OH-OHS: It's not just that I'll read any article about our nation's continuing failure to put a name on this decade; it's the use of the following analogy by the Washington Post's Michael Rosenwald which will take some readers here back more than a decade to the pre-WWW version of this blog ...
Posted by Adam at 6:54 PM