"man" vs. "guy" redux

Tue Nov 19 22:05:49 UTC 2002

I think this is a good example of  being "inclusive" as opposed to
"exclusionary." More about this at the Atlanta ADS.

Tom Paikeday

----- Original Message -----
From: "Mark A Mandel" <mam at THEWORLD.COM>
Sent: Monday, November 18, 2002 12:01 PM
Subject: "man" vs. "guy" redux

> Several months ago we discussed the widespread use of "guy(s)" where one
> might well have expected "man/men", even where there was no question of
> trying to be gender-inclusive because the reference was quite clearly to
> men stricto sensu, adult males of species Homo sapiens. IIRC, we reached
> no conclusion or hypothesis as to the reason for this replacement. I
> would like to hypothesize a reason: modesty.
> It seems to me that "man" often carries a strong connotation of
> "virtus", i.e., manliness, embodiment of the male virtues howsoever
> defined. These often include courage, strength, swagger, sexual prowess,
> etc., each in its proper place and time. But in the kinds of context
> where we see "guy"='man' spreading, explicitly attributing such
> characteristics to oneself or one's group would be unseemly boasting.
> "Guy" is neutral and suggests a diffidence appropriate to the
> conventions of the context.
> Whaddya think, guys?
> -- Mark A. Mandel
>    Linguistic Data Consortium, University of Pennsylvania

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