char siu, raper

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Wed Jun 4 16:56:40 UTC 2008

On Jun 4, 2008, at 9:35 AM, Laurence Horn wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: char siu, raper
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 12:24 PM -0400 6/4/08, Douglas G. Wilson wrote:
>>>>> 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
>> I recognize it immediately from Jack Vance's "The Moon Moth" (1961).
>> Google Books search shows it used repeatedly by L. E. Modesitt,
>> also by
>> G. Bear, E. Moon, C. L. Wilson, and others. It also has many
>> occurrences
>> in more conventional books, apparently (at my glance) often/usually
>> as
>> eye-dialect (I Googled <<yes-ser>> since <<ser>> gave too many
>> abbreviations etc.). It's natural, surely.
>>> If you're talking about "raper", possibly, since it's formed from a
>>> normal English word with a productive prefix; ....
>> "Raper" is not unknown. I guess I would probably prefer it myself
>> in a
>> context such as "At the Rape of Nanking, who were the rapers/
>> rapists?"
>> where I think maybe "rapist" would point too strongly to the
>> specifically sexual sense of "rape".
> FWIW, dictionaries such as AHD include "raper" under the head entry
> of "rape" (with no separate definition), while "rapist"--involving a
> less fully productive suffix--has its own entry and definition ('one
> who commits the crime of rape').  This is in fact tantamount to
> Doug's observation above, since other (non-criminal) senses for the
> verb "rape", including metaphorical ones, are included.  Thus, there
> are 66 hits for "rape our civil liberties" (curiously, most of them
> seem to refer to the "war on terror"); one would expect the alleged
> culprits to be referred to as rapers, not rapists, of those civil
> liberties.

Thank you for noting that. I would have expected the online version to
take that into account, and I did not try looking at "rape". BB

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list