Re: Korean Shamanism

Ruby Rohrlich (rohrlich@GWIS2.CIRC.GWU.EDU)
Sat, 4 Nov 1995 18:18:53 -0500

While it is undoubtedly true that changing attitudes precedes changing
language, still perhaps it helps change attitudes when those of us whose
attitudes have changed indicate the changes in language that have
ensued. Ruby Rohrlich

On Sat, 4 Nov 1995, Allan Dunn wrote:

> Just a thought, but language is initially a psychological phenomenon.
> In "1984" language changed attitudes, but I think, for the most part it
> is the other way around. We need a sort of a social paradigm change to
> irradicate sexist nuances in language that comes of changing attitudes,
> forcing language to conform to a particular attitudes may be met by only
> reactionary responses. The answer to this is knowledge.
> For example, when it becomes generally known that postmen are often
> women these days, the term "postman" will lose its "-man" connotation and
> so its lexical meaning becomes "one who delivers mail" and not "a man who
> delivers mail", or the word itself will change to "mail-carrier" or
> "postal worker" in general usage. The same for any other title. The
> words "actress" and "actor" I think specify gender in the individual
> because the roles they play are most often femal or male accordingly
> (though not always). As in Spanish, a group of female actors are "actresses"
> while a group of any actors/actresses mixed are "actors". This may imply
> sexist usage- which may or may not lose its meaning with time.
> Shamaness contains an affix, for a role that general knowledge
> thought was male. Similar to the term "male nurse" for a role that was
> thought generally female. In a way, tagging a word to connotate sex is
> more of a conceptual bridge where general society can make the change
> from designating a role by gender to accepting a role for either gender.
> My theory, anyway. Please respond.
> AD