Alison Flood “Sexism row prompts Oxford Dictionaries to review language used in definitions” http://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/jan/25/oxford-dictionary-review-sexist-language-rabid-feminist-gender
Michael Oman-Reagan “Sexism in the Oxford Dictionary of English” https://medium.com/space-anthropology/sexism-in-the-oxford-dictionary-of-english-6d335c6a77b5#.i31fk1isw
Laura Silver “Oxford Dictionary Of English Accused Of Using Sexist Definitions” http://www.buzzfeed.com/laurasilver/go-on-call-me-a-rabid-feminist#.siWAnGA8G
カナダの人類学者Michael Oman-Reagan氏*1が、Oxford Dictionary of English*2の用例が性差別的であると批判し、批判された側の、Oxford Dictionaries*3（牛津大学出版局の辞書部門）は辞書の用例を見直すことを宣言した。論争の発端となったのは、rabidという形容詞の用例としてのrabid feminist。まあ狂信的とか過激といった意味を持つrabidは、犬を修飾して、rabid dogになると、狂犬病の犬になる*4。だから、後ろにどんな名詞が来ても一悶着あるんじゃないか。例えば、
rabid SMAP fan
rabid Ozawa believer
まあ、「共産主義者」は既に絶滅危惧種であり、「SMAPファン」とか「小沢信者」は英語圏ではそもそも意味不明で*5、用例として機能しないかも知れないが。ただ、Michael Oman-Reagan氏によると、問題はrabid femministだけではなく、ODEにはさらに性差別的な定義や用例があり、それらを繋げると、怪物のような女性像が構築されてしまうということなのだ。
Emer O'Toole*6 “A dictionary entry citing ‘rabid feminist’ doesn’t just reflect prejudice, it reinforces it” http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jan/26/rabid-feminist-language-oxford-english-dictionary
(…) It’s telling that Oxford Dictionaries’ reaction to being questioned by Oman-Regan was to label his considered feminist action “rabid”. Clearly, definition and example in tandem have led to an understanding that any feminist query – no matter how gentle – is extreme and unwarranted.
It could be possible that the editor responsible for choosing “rabid feminist” as a usage example acted from malice, consciously using their position as an opportunity to propagate oppressive political beliefs. It’s also possible that the editor genuinely believed that this example was the best one to help place the word in its social context. All you need to do is read the tweets below Oxford Dictionaries’ original response to Oman-Regan*7 – the angry, aggressive outpouring of hatred for feminism and feminists – to see that this latter explanation is very possible.
But there are significant problems with this way of thinking about the function of a dictionary. Let’s imagine we live in a society in which it’s widely believed that a certain group – let’s call them Group A – is stupid. This belief has no empirical basis. Would it be okay to use Group A as an illustrative example when explaining the word “stupid”? It would certainly be effective, as it draws on widespread prejudice to locate the word in the web of context in which it is used and meaningful. But it would not be ethical. It would propagate a belief about Group A that has no basis in fact, and legitimate harmful attitudes towards Group A.
According to the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, “to imagine a language means to imagine a form of life”. The example “rabid feminist” is possible because of its relationship to our form of life – a life in which women are caricatured as shrill, bossy and nagging, and caring about women’s rights is extreme and fanatical.
Wittgenstein believes that “the meaning of a word is its use in language”. Explaining words is not simply a matter of defining a discrete object or concept. Rather, it’s a matter of locating that object or concept in the complex web of usages that we share. In fact, as Wittgenstein shows, for a word to function in language, it does not actually to have to refer to any specific thing. A word’s meaning can exist entirely in how it is used. He explains this abstract idea with this delicious thought experiment*8:
“Suppose everyone had a box with something in it: we call it a ‘beetle’. No one can look into anyone else’s box, and everyone says he knows what a beetle is only by looking at his beetle. Here it would be quite possible for everyone to have something different in his box. One might even imagine such a thing constantly changing. But suppose the word ‘beetle’ had a use in these people’s language? If so, it would not be used as the name of a thing. The thing in the box has no place in the language-game at all; not even as a something: for the box might even be empty. No one can ‘divide through’ the thing in the box; it cancels out, whatever it is.”
As the above illustration of an abstract concept suggests, and as the editors of the ODO should recognise, giving examples, to quote Wittgenstein again, “is not an indirect means of explaining … For any general definition can be misunderstood too.” Examples are as important to our understanding as definitions – they connect the threads of that shared web of usages.
David Shariatmadari*9 “Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language” http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jan/27/eight-words-sexism-heart-english-language
Linguists call it collocation: the likelihood of two words occurring together. If I say “pop”, your mental rolodex will begin whirring away, coming up with candidates for what might follow. “Music”, “song” or “star”, are highly likely. “Sensation” or “diva” a little less so. “Snorkel” very unlikely indeed.
Oxford University Press (OUP), is to show how words are used in the real world. And that is their response to allegations of sexism. “The example sentences we use are taken from a huge variety of different sources and do not represent the views or opinions of Oxford University Press,” they said in a statement.
In other words, it’s not the dictionary that’s sexist, it’s the English-speaking world. Why choose “feminist” over, say, “rightwinger”, “communist” or “fan”, though? As if not quite convinced by its own explanation, the OUP is now “reviewing the example sentence for ‘rabid’ to ensure that it reflects current usage”.
David Shariatmadari氏はそのような「化石」の例として、pejoration*11を挙げる。「侮蔑化」とでも訳すべきなのだろうか。言葉の意味が時を経るに従って段々とネガティヴなものになっていくこと。身近な例でいうと、日本語の二人称代名詞。貴様もお前も君もそもそもは敬語だった。女性関係の言葉の「侮蔑化」の速度は男性関係の言葉よりも速いという。具体的には本文を参照していただくとして、David Shariatmadari氏が例示する８つの単語を列挙してみる；
Language, as the medium through which we conduct almost all relationships, public and private, bears the precise imprint of our cultural attitudes. The history of language, then, is like a fossil record of how those attitudes have evolved, or how stubbornly they have stayed the same.
Thinking about the male equivalents of some of these words throws their sexism into sharp relief. Master for mistress; sir for madam; governor for governess; bachelor for spinster; courtier for courtesan – whereas the male list speaks of power and high status, the female list has a very different set of connotations. These are of either subordinate status or sexual service to men. The crucial thing to remember is that at one time, they were simply equivalents.
These eight words show how social conditions leave their mark on the language. The process of pejoration may take place below the level of consciousness, but in historical perspective, the direction of travel is obvious. Have the achievements of the feminist movement percolated down through the many layers of our language? The Oxford Dictionaries controversy suggests not. Can the words we use to describe women avoid the fate of hussy, mistress and courtesan? There’s hope, but only time will tell.
*2:See eg. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxford_Dictionary_of_English ODEとOEDを混同しないように。といっても、そういう心配があるのは俺くらいか。
*5:See eg. Justin McCurry “Breakup of beloved boyband Smap shocks Japanese pop fans” http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/13/breakup-beloved-boyband-smap-shocks-japanese-pop-fans Justin McCurry “Japan rejoices as boyband Smap say they are not splitting up “http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/19/japan-rejoices-as-boyband-smap-says-it-is-not-splitting-up [Mentioned in http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20160114/1452735318 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20160120/1453225926]
*10:See eg. http://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/collocation https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collocation これは「予測文法」というのを想起させる。Cf. 白井恭弘『外国語学習の科学』（p.136）[Mentioned in http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20140926/1411704983 ]