FW: Homeland, Motherland

Frank Abate abatefr at EARTHLINK.NET
Mon Sep 24 15:04:39 UTC 2001

I can't vouch for the military use suggested, but "homeland" did make me
think of the UK Home Guard of WWII, which was the domestically based
military for defense/defence of the UK itself, in case of invasion or other

OED shows uses of "homeland" back into the 17th century.  It connotes one's
native land along with the "warm" overtones of the word "home", and long

I would say that "homeland security" is, then, simply a combination of two
established words, in keeping with the regular rules of English.  And the
word choice seems to me appropriate to the application.

It has been noted that the White House or the Pentagon (whichever) backed
away from "Infinite Justice" when it was pointed out that Islam teaches that
such is only from Allah.  You would have hoped that they had picked up on
that before issuing the code word, but at least they changed their minds

It was also noted that Bush has backed away from some ill-chosen terms, like
referring to the hijackers as "folks" (in one of his earliest statements on
Sept 11), and alluding to the Old West with "Wanted Dead or Alive" re bin
Laden.  His own "natural language" is frequently subject to derision, as has
often been noted.  On the other hand, his speech last week to Congress was
very measured, with simple words and brief, declarative sentences.  He has a
very good speechwriter who wrote to the occasion in words well-suited to the
speaker, and Bush delivered it well, I felt.

Frank Abate

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU]On Behalf
Of pskuhlman at JUNO.COM
Sent: Sunday, September 23, 2001 12:18 PM
Subject: Re: Homeland, Motherland

I believe"homeland defense" is a military term that has been borrowed in
naming the new cabinet level department, but don't know when it
originated in the military lexicon.

Patricia Kuhlman
pskuhlman at juno.com
Brooklyn, NY

On Sat, 22 Sep 2001 23:44:07 -0400 Thomas Paikeday
<t.paikeday at SYMPATICO.CA> writes:
> I wonder if this use of "homeland" is another example of the "Bush
> Dyslexicon," like the use of "infinite" in "Infinite Justice."
> leslie savan wrote:
> >
> > Gov. Tom Ridge will head the new cabinet-level Office of Homeland
> > Security. "Homeland" evokes for me the sound of "Motherland" and,
> to a
> > lesser degree, "Fatherland." Is there anyone out there who has
> detailed
> > the history of these words and how, if at all, they've been used
> > interchangeably?

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