delocutives (Was: Graha epithets)

Allen W Thrasher athr at LOC.GOV
Thu Dec 11 18:58:06 UTC 1997

Clare Martin wrote:

<<I'm not a student of indian languages either but as a native speaker of
english and as a woman I feel I could make some comments about being
"honeyed". The situation usually arises when some man addresses a
woman with those forms of pseudo endearment such as "Honey" or
"Baby" which tend to be belittling and are also americanisms. If the reply to
this is
"Don't honey me", the "honey" is actually in quotes, referring to the
previous comment. It's not being used as a verb.>>

I think the "Don't you honey me" formation is used when the word is
offensive whether or not it is offensive in itself as opposed to in the
immediate context.  "Honey" and "baby" are standard endearments
between spouses and lovers in the U.S. .  The refusal to be "honeyed" is as
likely to come when someone is trying to placate his spouse or sweetheart
for some perceived offense and she refuses to be won over by sweet talk
as when someone uses it inappropriately as an undesired sexual comeon
or just an excessive familiarity.  In addition, these terms are used by either
sex towards the other, not just by men to women.  In parts of the U.S. they
are used towards co-workers or relatives other than spouses or just
anyone of the opposite sex one is talking to amiably.  They used not to be
confined to the opposite sex. In the minutely researched Patrick O'Brien
novels of the British Navy in the Napoleonic period, the heroes Jack Aubrey
and Stephen Maturin call each other "honey" and similar epithets routinely
(they are both straight).

In some offices the women can be divided into those that are offended if
they are not honeyed and those that are offended if they are.

Australian men are reputed or stereotyped to be ungallant.  Perhaps they
only honey when they have ulterior power motives.

Allen Thrasher

The opinions expressed do not represent those of my employer.

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