[Ads-l] Only *one* answer? And why only one? Why had the speaker not heard either term before?

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Sat May 30 22:18:26 UTC 2015


On Sat, May 30, 2015 at 6:09 PM, Ben Zimmer wrote:
>
> On Sat, May 30, 2015 at 3:28 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:
>>
>> "Almost the first mischievous question he shot at me was 'Are you homo
>> or hetero?' I had never heard either term before; they were explained
>> and there seemed only one answer."
>
> Context, from previous thread: "_My Father and Myself_, the memoir of
> J.R. Ackerley (1896-1967), in which he recalls a conversation with a
> Swiss friend named Arnold Lunn in 1918."
>
> Link: https://books.google.com/books?id=hxerchUMqXAC&pg=PA153
>
> In Ackerley's case, he had not heard either term before --
> "homosexual" and "heterosexual" being new clinical terms at the time,
> and their clipped forms being very new indeed (OED2 only has "homo"
> from 1929 and "hetero" from 1933). It's implied that once Lunn
> explained the terms, Ackerley identified himself (for the first time)
> as homosexual. Lunn goes on to lend Ackerley some relevant literature,
> including the work of Otto Weinberger and Edward Carpenter.

Sorry, make that Otto Weininger (author of _Sex and Character_, 1903).

> More discussion here:
>
> http://www.exploringsurreyspast.org.uk/themes/subjects/diversity/lgbt-history/fwwhomosexuality/ackerley/

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