Monday, August 31, 2015

Things That Make Linguists' Heads Explode

The venerable Oxford English Dictionary was recently updated, adding a list of new words that have gained usage traction since the last update. The new adds include:

Manspreading - ‘the practice whereby a man, especially one traveling on public transport, adopts a sitting position with his legs wide apart, in such a way as to encroach on an adjacent seat or seats.’

Cakeage - ‘a charge made by a restaurant for serving a cake that they have not supplied themselves.’ We had a major experience with this new word earlier this year, when the restaurant at which we had a small reception after the funeral of Agnes's father ordered three cakes for the guests, then charged us not for the cakes, but for each slice of each cake.

Rage-Quit - to ‘angrily abandon an activity or pursuit that has become frustrating, particularly a video game.’

Butt Dial - to call someone accidentally when sitting by compressing the buttons on a mobile phone carried in a rear pocket.

These new terms are all interesting and useful in context. There is one, however, that is just completely and utterly silly and - in my humble opinion - a ridiculous example of political correctness gone bizarrely wrong. I refer, of course, to the term Mx.

There was a time, not so long ago, when "MX" referred to a type of deadly intercontinental ballistic nuclear missile. Today, however, it is used as an utterly gender-neutral honorific before a person's name, replacing the "sexist" honorifics Mr, Miss, and Mrs, and replacing even Ms, which was itself supposed to be a neutral feminine honorific (there being no distinction between married and unmarried men with the use of Mr for both).

Mx??  Mx?? For pete's sake, how would you even pronounce it?

Now, don't get me wrong ... I have no problem with getting rid of things that might lead to discrimination. But I think we've gone off the linguistic deep end with this one.

This is an Mx ...

This is not ...

Any questions? If so, please call 1-800-GET LIFE.

Have a good day, regardless of your preferred method of gender identity.

More thoughts tomorrow.



KathyA said...

CHARGED YOU FOR EACH SLICE???? Now that's a travesty!

And here I thought those referring to me as 'MX Ariano' had a horrible speech impediment.

John Hill said...

Thanks for the informative post, Mx. Bilbo!
(Personally, I think Mx is to be used to indicate the country of my favorite beach resorts such as Ixtapa, Mx where I'll be next week!)

Mike said...

So Mix (or Mux) has been around since 1977? How about just dropping honorifics all together? I don't consider myself anyones Mr. (master) anyway.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

A Mx is as good as a mile? No Mx for me, please!

Linda Kay said...

I'm sticking with Mrs., not Ms., thank you very much, and definitely not Mx.

Deena said...

Miss me or Ms. me. Just don't Mx me.

Hell Hound said...

This is weird and not likely to catch on.

allenwoodhaven said...

Committees make such wonderful decisions, don't they? It will fail to become a common term.