diverse => 'ethnically different'

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Jan 19 18:20:32 UTC 2011

At 12:37 PM -0500 1/19/11, Victor Steinbok wrote:
>This really reeks of use/misuse distinction or, at least, the assumption
>of "non-standard" usage. But we already have a parallel in "coed".
>Certainly, "coed" means something that involves an educational
>opportunity for both sexes--whether it's an entire school, a college
>dorm or something else. But "coed" is often used to indicate women only
>and has been nouned in that sense--when some Neanderthal refers to a
>"sexy coed" he certainly does not imply any sense of androgeny. Are you
>going to say that when used in that context that it "does not MEAN"
>women[-only] but that "we INFER that that is the intended sense"? Or do
>you simply imply that there is a difference between the two because
>"coed" has been around much longer with its dual meanings?
>      VS-)

While that "coed" *as a noun* has this restricted meaning, "coed" as
an adjective ("coed dorms", "coed college", "coed toilet", "coed
showers", "coed (naked) volleyball", etc., just designates
mixed-sex/unisex.  This is part of the general conspiracy involving
nouns vs. non-nouns as described by Bolinger, Wierzbicka and others
and discussed on the list in earlier threads.  A parallel, although
less dramatic, contrast is "blond(e)" as a unisex adjective vs.
"blonde" as a <+fem> noun (a man is less likely to be described as "a


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list