Home » Discussion Forum

Discussion Forum—A Way with Words, a fun radio show and podcast about language

Discussion Forum (Archived)

Please consider registering
Forum Scope


Forum Options

Min search length: 3 characters / Max search length: 84 characters
The forums are currently locked and only available for read only access
name instead of "mentee"
2011/03/19 - 12:32pm

instead of menteed,
use "learner."

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

859 Posts
2011/03/19 - 5:29pm

Protege also works.

2011/03/20 - 2:40pm

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

How 'bout just "student?" There's a lot of synonyms for this concept.

2011/03/23 - 3:40pm

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

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.

Forum Timezone: America/Los_Angeles
Show Stats
Martha Barnette
Grant Barrett
Grant Barrett
Top Posters:
Newest Members:
Eileen Kosnik
Forum Stats:
Groups: 1
Forums: 1
Topics: 3647
Posts: 18912


Member Stats:
Guest Posters: 618
Members: 1267
Moderators: 1
Admins: 2
Most Users Ever Online: 1147
Currently Online:
Guest(s) 17
Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)