[Ads-l] dude = 'person of any gender'

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jan 27 20:01:46 UTC 2021

Frankly, if McCarthy had said "guy" instead of "dude," I think it would
have sounded weirder.


On Wed, Jan 27, 2021 at 2:36 PM Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:

> See also my WSJ column last September on "dude," which I wrote for the
> release of the movie "Bill & Ted Face the Music":
> Paywalled: https://bit.ly/dudebillted
> Archived: https://archive.is/9fMIN
> Here's an excerpt:
> "In 'Bill & Ted Face the Music,' the words 'dude' or 'dudes' appear more
> than 100 times in the dialogue, usually spoken by Bill or Ted. But this
> time, Bill and Ted are middle-aged fathers of young women who also, as it
> happens, say 'dude' quite a lot -- including to each other, since now the
> term can be non-gender-specific. ... In a 2004 article for the journal
> American Speech simply entitled 'Dude,' Scott F. Kiesling, a linguistics
> professor at the University of Pittsburgh, points to 'Fast Times [at
> Ridgemont High]' and the 'Bill and Ted' movies as key pop-cultural
> disseminators of 'dude,' used by characters who 'take a laid-back stance to
> the world, even if the world proves to be quite remarkable.' In 'Face the
> Music,' Bill and Ted’s daughters carry on that laid-back legacy. Mr.
> Kiesling told me that he watched the movie online with his own daughter the
> day it came out, and he found Billie and Thea’s 'dude'-heavy dialogue true
> to life. 'I have three daughters and stepdaughters, and they all definitely
> throw "dude" around unremarkably,' he said. That’s most excellent, dude."
> Larry mentioned the previous widening of "guy" into gender-neutral terrain
> -- I discussed this in an earlier column, pegged to Billie Eilish's 2019
> hit song "Bad Guy" (in which she sings, "I'm the bad guy... huh?").
> Paywalled: http://bit.ly/badguybz
> Archived: https://archive.is/CTFpT
> --Ben
> On Wed, Jan 27, 2021 at 2:13 PM Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
> wrote:
> >
> > Nice.  The locus classicus for “dude” widening is Scott Kiesling’s 2004
> > American Speech paper of that name.  It would be interesting to revisit
> his
> > data now to see how much it’s progressed, especially in non-vocative
> > contexts like McCarthy’s.  And it’s also non-referential, which also
> helped
> > earlier with the growth of sex-neutral singular “guy”. (One of my early
> > examples is “the other guy is a girl”, from a speaker who might not have
> > been as likely to identify a woman as “the guy in the corner”.)
> On Jan 27, 2021, at 12:57 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> > wrote:
> >
> > Not new, but worth noting:
> >> Gina McCarthy, White House Climate Adviser (age 66), on CNN just now:
> >> "I'm the dude who's supposed to deliver this in a timely way."
> >
> >
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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