SIGNIFICANT OTHER: Increasingly Significant Issue

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat May 4 18:33:50 UTC 2002

At 10:08 PM -0700 5/3/02, Ruth Barton wrote:
>Why not just call them "friend" and be done with it.  If one is living with
>them surely they must be a friend.  Ruth

Married people don't usually refer to their spouses as "friend", but
as husband or wife, and this is in part because the latter category
labels are more informative.  Even if it were true that one's
husband, friend, lover, or domestic partner is one's friend (would it
were so!), it's certainly NOT true that one's friend is necessarily
one's partner (or whatever), and the difference between these
categories is often relevant for social and institutional purposes.


>At 7:27 PM -0400 4/10/02, Joanne M. Despres wrote:
>>It seems to me that "partner" (less formal) and "domestic partner"
>>(more formal) are the terms of choice for gays, lesbians, and
>>bisexuals.  I'm not usually the first to catch on to newer trends,
>>though -- maybe others have a different impression.  To my ears,
>>those terms sound more to the point and less euphemistically
>>vague than "companion" and less klutzily p.c. than "significant
>>Joanne Despres
>Ruth Barton
>mrgjb at
>Westminster, VT

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