[Ads-l] "Oppressive Language List"

Mailbox mailbox at GRAMMARPHOBIA.COM
Sun Jun 27 12:09:01 EDT 2021

> On Sat, 26 Jun 2021 06:48:02 -0400,  Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> Subject: Oppressive Language List
> No comment:
> https://www.brandeis.edu/parc/accountability/oppressivelanguagelist.html
> JL
OK, one comment. Included is “rule of thumb” (https://www.brandeis.edu/parc/accountability/oppressivelanguagelist_violent.html <https://www.brandeis.edu/parc/accountability/oppressivelanguagelist_violent.html>) which has been vilified as politically incorrect since the mid-1970s, when it was said to have originated as a legal term for what was allowed in wife-beating. This is a persistent myth; “rule of “thumb” had no such origin and there never was such a law. My husband and I wrote about this years ago on our blog: 

https://www.grammarphobia.com/blog/2009/04/rule-of-thumb.html <https://www.grammarphobia.com/blog/2009/04/rule-of-thumb.html>

It’s too bad that a university would help perpetuate such misconceptions.  More, for anyone who’s interested: Kelly, Henry Ansgar. “‘Rule of Thumb’ and the Folklaw of the Husband's Stick.” Journal of Legal Education, vol. 44, no. 3, 1994, pp. 341–365. JSTOR, 
www.jstor.org/stable/42893341 <http://www.jstor.org/stable/42893341>

Pat O'Conner

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

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