Some years ago, I heard, on the wireless, a young woman with an exotically, positively rococo, East End ('Estuary') accent say that 'Mel C' was her "me:er". I'm fairly sure that this is Estuary English for "Mentor". Not very Hellenic ...
P S (1) I think 'Mel C' may have been one of the "Spice Girls". I was still in teaching when these phenomena were live, so I had them explained to me. No? ... ah, well ...
P S (2) Mentor has now (2021) spawned a lovely derivative: 'Mentee' (as 'tutor' once spawned 'tutee'). Does anybody know how far this usage, reminiscent of the old Latin Gerundive, goes back?
P S (3) How about 'Mentrix' for the feminine of Mentor? When my wife taught at Roedean, she was addressed as Ma'am. Would Mentrix have done instead?
P S (4) When a neo-Fowler is produced, I wonder if the complex rules governing the glottal stop will make it clear that a consonant preceding the eliminable T must itself also be eliminated?
P S (5) Or should I say "elimina:ed"? Indeed, should I school myself henceforth to refer to the "Glo::al ::op"?
P S (6) The -ee suffix would seem to have endless possibilities. Murderer on death row: hangee. Candidate for gender reassignment: choppee. Potential victim of spontaneous street aggression: muggee.
Traddy Catholic in a Franciscan pontificate: eliminatee.
"Mel C" = "Sporty Spice", apparently...
Good recollection Father. Obviously you were well 'instructed' back then!
This was not from personal knowledge, however. Google does come in handy betimes.
Mel B, Mel C. Am I alone in finding the absence of a Mel A disconcerting? These people could at least emerge in sequence.
The p-in-c of the eponymous church in Oxford is wont to describe St Mary Magdalen(e) as the first Spice Girl.
Mel A Noma?
This somehow reminds me of the unlovely pronunciation of the proper name of the Southernmost Continent as Anta:tica (while for those speaking non-rhotic dialects, the "r" is silent, it is the omission of the first "c" that remains nonstandard, though sadly not reprobated).
..... and Fowlee?
I once heard a person weighing himself on a bathroom scale referred to as "the weighee".
In the world of business, if you attend a meeting, you are an 'attendee'.
I think the passive ending is based on a general assumption that you are not attending of your own volition.
The OED has a long entry under -ee as a suffix. It says it "was orig. an adaptation of the -é of certain AF. pa. pples., which were used as sbs....
"The use of this suffix in law terms has been freq. imitated in the formation of humorous (chiefly) nonce-words, as educatee, laughee, sendee, denoting the personal object of the verbs from which they are formed."
I assume the -ee suffix derives by analogy from French past participles and implies the recipient of an action. But now we have horrors like “attendee” and I once saw a notice on a bus proclaiming that there were only permitted “ x standees”!
On P S (3): in English-speaking monasteries of nuns, the one who leads the singing is not a Cantor. She is the Cantrix, thank you very much!
... Can Father clarify, was the first syll'bł a straight "mê"? Or perhaps slightly nasalized... er... borowing from the Poles, "męʔǝr"?
Conjecturing: ordinary "n" and "t" are in identical tongue positions, the difference being that one is voiced and nasalized, the other is devoiced and, when audible, plosive. If one could freely say "menʔǝr" with a fully closed, voiced "n", it'd be even easier to say either "menǝr" with no glottal, or a more classic "mentor". What would "painter", or "worsted", or "wilt" sound like?
Some say that mentee goes back at least as far as 1958: https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/mentee
The -ee seems to be a way to render the french participle english. Actually, it should be written -i, as in menti = someone who's lied to.
Antarctica is good Italian as in Vaughan Williams' seventh symphony, his Sinfonia Antartica.
Not weighed? As in best not weighed into that discussion.
The attendees at many of the meetings I have had to attend could well be described as borees. (Anyone familiar with Australia will know the reference.)
I welcome anyone else on this wonderful blog commenting on the gendered shift of calling a group of teenagers or adults as "you guys", including if the "guys" are "gals" or even older folks.
I could be wrong, but no girl or boy (in the late 70s) would call out to a group of girls "hey you guys". We learned in school that "ils regardent la télé" could include only males, or a mix of males and females, whereas you would use "elles regardent la télé" for a group of females, and that succinctly described the Canadian English usage at the time.
In the last 25 or 30 years, I think something has shifted in the use of this term "you guys" commensurate with shifts in social mores. Girls "pal around" in public now like guys do (often meaning behaving as badly in public). I routinely hear girls and young women call out to a mixed crowd or a group of only women (including elderly people) "hey, you guys".
I cannot recall hearing either that degree of informality or that use of "guys" to simply mean "any group of individuals, or whatever age range, gathered for a casual purpose".
Dear Belfry Bat. Wilt (probably more likely to refer to the tired behaviour of a lettuce than the future desire of the second-person) in London is most definitely pronounced "wìw", (with a short 'i', which punctuation my computer will not offer me). As in "a wìw:id le:iss."
Of course a good East End Catholic boy might end his contribution in the Box with "ven do wi' me wot var wìw." And he will go to 'Eaven as a result.
Mario, speaking as a North American, I suspect that this use of "guys" is confined to our continent. Others would be more inclined to use "bloke", "chap", or (in Australia) "mate".
On a visit to America, G.K. Chesterton observed:
"An American friend congratulated me on the impression I produced on a lady interviewer, observing, 'She says you're a regular guy.' This puzzled me a little at the time. 'Her description is no doubt correct,' I said, 'but I confess that it would never have struck me as specially complimentary.' But it appears that it is one of the most graceful of compliments, in the original American. A guy in America is a colourless term for a human being. All men are guys, being endowed by their Creator with certain… but I am misled by another association. And a regular guy means, I presume, a reliable or respectable guy."(What I Saw In America)
Chesterton was associating "guy" with Guy Fawkes, which would not be a complimentary association. In America, however, the informality has progressed to the point where the use of "you guys" is quite common in speech, though fiercely opposed by some as being sexist.
There are even those who seem to feel that "hey, you guys" is grammatically imprecise. These resort to a double plural: "hey, yous guys".
Thanks for that wonderful Chesterton quotation! I suppose the masculine "guy" connoting nothing more than another human has always been the norm in North America. Maybe it was the gendered nuances seeping through from our francophone brothers that led me to my initial view of the term.
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