char siu, raper

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jun 4 15:51:00 UTC 2008

>>>> On Mon, Jun 2, 2008 at 3:49 PM, Benjamin Barrett <gogaku at>
>>>>> "Raper" is more unusual, a word used by George R.R. Martin in _A Game of
>>>>> Thrones_ (Bantam Sept 1997) on multiple occasions. ...
>>>>> So far in my reading of this book, this is the closest Martin comes to
>>>>> defining what a raper is; I assume it's the same as a rapist. This is a
>>>>> fantasy book, but most of the events are realistic. Given the multiple
>>>>> appearances of the word, it seems to simply be an idiosyncratic part of
>>>>> Martin's vocabulary.

>>> On Jun 2, 2008, at 1:43 PM, Mark Mandel wrote:
>>>> Speculative fiction is full of lexons and usages that are found only
>>>> in a particular work, often for new meanings (start with "hobbit" and
>>>> work out from there) but sometimes also equivalents to existing words,
>>>> used as part of the setting or color.
>>>> * including fantasy, science fiction ("sf" in the traditional sense),
>>>> and more

>> On Tue, Jun 3, 2008 at 12:50 PM, Benjamin Barrett (off list)
>>> Another word I ought to have mentioned is "ser" for "sir," which seems
>>> likely to have been borrowed from other works. BB

> On Jun 3, 2008, at 4:11 PM, Mark Mandel wrote  (off list)
>> Or coined independently. But nah, he's probably seen some of those
>> others. I know I recognize "ser"; I can't place it, but it'll come to me.

On Wed, Jun 4, 2008 at 1:47 AM, Benjamin Barrett   (off list)
> That's exactly the feeling I had. I sure don't care for it, but it should
> probably be recognized in the lexicon. BB

If you're talking about "raper", possibly, since it's formed from a
normal English word with a productive prefix; but I feel somewhat

If you mean "ser", I disagree. Words that are used only in a single
"universe" of fiction do not belong in a general dictionary, any more
than their protagonists belong in a biographical dictionary. Only if
they catch on in wider use do they become the business of the general
lexicon: e.g.,
 * Tolkien's "dwarves", "orc" -- widely used now in fantasy and in
fantasy-based gaming
 * Rowling's "muggle" -- used in contexts beyond discussion of the HP series

I think this part of the conversation belongs on the general list and
am cc-ing it there.

Mark Mandel

The American Dialect Society -

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