The words we choose can change attitudes — and change lives. A swing-dance instructor has switched to gender-neutral language when teaching couples. He says that using words like “leader” and “follower” actually works better than using gendered terms. But not everyone agrees. Plus, a pithy observation about how stray comments can seem meaningless at the time, but can lodge in other people like seeds and start growing. Plus, slang you might hear in Albuquerque, sufficiently suffonsified, make ends meet, cut a chogi, and minders, finders, and grinders. This episode first aired February 4, 2017.
A listener in Shreveport, Louisiana, reports that after a fine meal, her father used to announce, “I have dined sufficiently, and I have been well surossified.” It’s a joking exaggeration of the word satisfied. In a 1980 article in American Speech, former editor of the Dictionary of American Regional English Frederic G. Cassidy reported lots of variations, including suffancifed, suffencified, suffoncified, suffuncified, and ferancified. Another version of the phrase goes, “My sufficiency is fully surancified; any more would be obnoxious to my fastidious taste.” We also talked about it in 2011.
A 1957 story by James Thurber includes a sentence with oddly stranded prepositions.
The word traces denotes the long, thin leather straps that secure a horse to a wagon. The expression to kick over the traces, meaning “to become unruly,” refers to the action of a horse literally kicking over those straps and getting all tangled up. It can be used metaphorically to describe a person who rebels against authority or tradition.
Quiz Guy John Chaneski’s game involves misreading memos that start with re:. For example, if Don Draper of Sterling Cooper Draper Price leaves a message asking you to “comprehend written matter,” what’s the subject of that message?
To cut a chogi, also spelled choagy or chogie, is an English slang term meaning “Let’s get out of here.” It probably stems from Korean: cheogi or jeogi means “there” (it’s opposite, yeogi, means “here”). and was picked up by U.S. soldiers during the Korean War.
A swing-dance instructor in Burlington, Vermont, says gender-neutral language has been well-received in his own dance classes. Instead of the words man and woman, he now uses leader and follower. He reports this not only helps clarify his instructions but makes everyone feel welcome. Swing dancer Cari Westbrook has detailed discussions about the pros and cons of such gender-neutral language, as well as the word ambidanectrous, on her blog The Lindy Affair.
Poet Adrienne Rich wrote powerfully of the “psychic disequilibrium” that occurs when people don’t see their own identities reflected in the language of others, “as if you looked in the mirror and saw nothing.”
Burqueño slang, spoken by residents of Albuquerque, New Mexico, includes such expressions as umbers, said ominously when someone’s caught doing something wrong, as well as get down, meaning “to get out of a vehicle” and put gas for “fill a vehicle’s gas tank.” Then there’s the Burqueño way to get off the phone: bueno bye!
Photo by Alan L. Used under a Creative Commons license.
Book Mentioned in the Episode
Music Used in the Episode
|Mars||The Olympians||The Olympians||Daptone|
|Neptune||The Olympians||The Olympians||Daptone|
|Apollo’s Mood||The Olympians||The Olympians||Daptone|
|The Selma March||His Majesty King Funk||Grant Green||Verve|
|Odessa Heat||Soul Scratch||Pushing Fire||Colemine Records|
|Diana By My Side||The Olympians||The Olympians||Daptone|
|Pluto’s Lament||The Olympians||The Olympians||Daptone|
|Cantaloupe Woman||His Majesty King Funk||Grant Green||Verve|
|Mercury’s Odyssey||The Olympians||The Olympians||Daptone|
|Volcano Vapes||Sure Fire Soul Ensemble||Out On The Coast||Colemine Records|