Aussie Life

Language

16 July 2022

9:00 AM

16 July 2022

9:00 AM

Here is a delightful phrase which may well become a familiar idiom in English language: ‘weather dependent economy’. I encountered this on an American website—but (foolishly) I failed to note which one, so I can’t give you a precise source. The explanation offered for ‘weather dependent economy’ was that if and when much (or most) of our electricity comes from wind and solar we will be in a ‘weather dependent economy’. According to the argument, battery power has a limited capability, with even huge battery arrays having the ability to hold only a limited amount of power (sometimes only hours). Hence electricity supply is vulnerable to weather condition such as the ‘wind drought’ that struck Europe earlier this year and lasted for weeks. Even an extended period of rain (and overcast skies) such as eastern Australia has experienced can have the effect of flowing on to the electricity supply once we live in a ‘weather dependent economy’. The point was also made that if there is a substantial switch to electric vehicles this concept will extend further, and we will have a ‘weather dependent transport system’ too.

I didn’t know there was such a word as ‘deadname’ until the lexicographers at the Merriam-Webster dictionary drew it to my attention. They say that a ‘deadname’ is: ‘the name that a trans-gender person was given at birth and no longer uses upon transitioning’. That’s the noun. There’s also (according to the same usually reliable source) a verb ‘to deadname’ someone. This means: ‘to speak of or address (someone) by their deadname’. The Merriam-Webster people say the noun form is generally written as a single word, although (they add) it is occasionally found as an open compound (‘dead name’). We live in a free society, so the reality is that if someone born with a normal, healthy, male body wants to live using the appearance and manner of a female (or vice versa) they are free to do so. And our language can reflect their choice with such new expressions as ‘deadname’. What our language cannot do is deny the reality of existing words such as ‘male’ and ‘female’/ ‘man’ and ‘woman’. These words have been part of English for over a thousand years—and if we lose them, we have no way of naming the reality they label.


Some time ago I passed on a report that had appeared in the UK Daily Mail claiming the English language (presumably the whole English language) is racist. Clearly, if the language you and I use is inherently and unavoidably racist this should concern us. Here is what the report said: ‘A “woke” anti-racism Open University training course is teaching academics that the English language upholds “white superiority”’. Now, I don’t know about you, but that strikes me as an extraordinary claim to make about the most widely spoken language around the globe, used by all peoples, of all ethnic backgrounds. The report went on to say: ‘Course material claims that “white superiority” is ingrained in the “cultural psychology of the English language”’. However, the Critical Race Theory academics making this claim are making it in English! They are teaching their course about the ‘racism’ of the English language in the English language! Does that mean every time they open their mouths, they are committing a race crime because they are speaking English? And to avoid the ‘racism’ of the English language, which language do they suggest we use instead? French? Spanish? German? All those countries had overseas conquests and colonies so I assume they must be racist languages too. What about a dead language? Would it be safe for them to teach their course in Latin? Well, no, because the Roman Empire conquered and colonised much of the known world in their day. So Latin is off the list. A bit of problem for these people, isn’t it? What language can they use in order not to be complicit in racism? Lithuanian? (That is what is called a reductio ad absurdum argument; pushing a ridiculous claim to its logical conclusion to show how absurd it is.)

 

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Contact Kel at ozwords.com.au

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10


Show comments
Close