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name instead of “mentee”
2011/03/19
12:32pm
915clare
La Jolla CA
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instead of menteed,
use “learner.”

The mentor helped his learner, Karen, to understand the field of public relations.

2011/03/19
5:29pm
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EmmettRedd
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Protege also works.

2011/03/20
2:40pm
Philip Unitt
San Diego
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Dear Martha and Grant,

A word representing the other half of a relationship with a mentor is “disciple.” My partner is an adherent of a sect of Buddhism in which this term is used commonly, as in “the oneness of mentor and disciple.” And the word has a very long history in English!

As a professional editor, I have delighted in your show for many years.

Thanks much,

Philip Unitt

2011/03/20
2:48pm
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Heimhenge
New River, AZ, USA
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How ’bout just “student?” There’s a lot of synonyms for this concept.

2011/03/23
3:40pm
lux rationis
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EmmettRedd said:

Protege also works.


Protégé (protégée if female) is exactly the right word. Interestingly, when Grant offered this suggestion, the caller believed that that word somehow implies superior performance. It doesn’t. You can be an utter failure as a protégé. Yet many people seem to think that “protégé” carries this connotation. A professor I had many years ago in college called this phenomenon “semantic interference.” Occasionally, one will see the words “protégé” and “prodigy” confused, as in:

He was a child protégé. He could play Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto #3 at the age of nine.”

That kind of usage is an eggcorn: the unintentional substitution of a similar-sounding word for the intended word. Semantic interference is similar to an eggcorn, but at the connotative rather than the denotative level of meaning. In such a case, the user employs the correct term, but the precise understanding of the term is adulterated by connotation that the user is transferring from a similar-sounding word, in this case, “prodigy.”

2011/08/08
3:49pm
bookkeepersson
Brookeville, MD
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I agree with lux. That protege is the best choice, and that the original caller was mistaken about there being an implication of superior performance.

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