char siu, raper

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Wed Jun 4 16:14:27 UTC 2008

On Jun 4, 2008, at 8:51 AM, Mark Mandel wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Mark Mandel <thnidu at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: char siu, raper
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>> 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
> opposed.
> 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.

I posted "raper" as it seemed an odd duplication of "rapist" that
might potentially show up elsewhere either in imitation or as a nonce
usage. At this point, I don't think it should be included.

If "ser" is used commonly in books, surely it should be considered for
inclusion in a general lexicon. Excluding words in a single genre of
fiction is unreasonable and would cause many other words to be
eliminated. Perhaps this is possible if a word is limited to a genre
(or subgenre) with limited circulation, but I don't think that is the
case here. BB

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