Generation D

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Mar 30 05:38:11 UTC 2001


At 12:30 PM -0500 3/30/01, Jesse Sheidlower wrote:
>The well-known "early" example of _Generation X_ apart from
>the name of a punk band in 1977 (featuring Billy Idol) is
>as the title of 1964 pop-sociology book about disaffected
>youth in Britain.
>
>It is quite possible, though, that a certain historical
>dictionary is sitting on an early 1950s example that will
>be publicized in due course.
>
>I would also ask Larry to qualify his "the actual generation
>in question (however defined)," since _Generation X_ is often
>felt to refer specifically to the post-baby-boom generation,
>and thus an example referring to disaffected youth who are
>not part of the U.S. post-baby-boom generation may not
>count for his purpose.

Right, it wouldn't.  My "(however defined)" was intended to allow
some wiggle-room about the start- and finish-date and geography, but
no more than such wiggle-room.  I was wondering about  the first cite
that uses "Generation X" in the sense corresponding to the AHD4
entry--

"The generation following the post-World War II baby boom, especially
people born
  in the United States and Canada from the early 1960s to the late 1970s. "

--with the incorrect attribution "After Generation X, a novel by
Douglas Coupland (born 1961), Canadian writer".  It's clear from the
Nexis cites in the mid-to-late 1980's that the label was already
extant before the appearance of Coupland's novel in 1991.
Coupland, however, may well have popularized the label and expanded
its distribution, not a negligible role in historical lexicography
(cf. Wayne & Garth re retro-NOT).

larry,
who just realized today that he's the father of two Gen Y-ers and who
is now wondering when the official transition to Gen Z took, or will
take, place
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