soldier = sailor

Bill Palmer w_a_palmer at BELLSOUTH.NET
Thu Feb 4 18:54:42 UTC 2010

I wouldn't object to sailors or Marines being referred to as "warriors", any
more than I'd have a problem with football players being called "athletes".

But I would not agree that football players can be called "golfers", for

The basic fighting unit of an army is the "soldier", and the basic fighting
unit of the Navy is (traditionally) the ship, manned by sailors.

Bill Palmer

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jonathan Lighter" <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Thursday, February 04, 2010 11:37 AM
Subject: soldier = sailor

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> header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      soldier = sailor
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Weve already discussed whether or when marines are ever soldiers.  But the
> following ex., obviously written by someone with professional-level
> skills, shows that "soldier" now subsumes sailors too, at least for some
> people:
> 2007 _Moviefone_ [
> German director Wolfgang Petersen's U-boat drama realistically captures
> the
> claustrophobia and uncertainty of a fighter sub and portrays the German
> soldiers as real people, not Aryan monsters.
> Perhaps, as skeptics will chuckle, this is merely a slip. Maybe. But if
> so,
> it is a bizarre slip IMO. The writer obviously knows what the movie is
> about.
> Consider too the peculiar phrase "fighter sub." That supports the idea
> that
> the writer is not very familiar with even everyday military/naval usage,
> at
> least as little boys grew up learning it in the '50s.  I've heard Fox News
> refer to all combat aircraft as "fighter planes."
> (If you don't understand my point, you may be proving it.)
> The explanation (if one is needed) may be that over the past couple of
> decades, all members of the armed forces have come to be described in
> journalism as "warriors" generally. (There are several reasons for this.)
> But if "warrior" can subsume "sailor," why can't "soldier"?
> Inglish. Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.
> JL
> --
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the
> truth."
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -


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