[Linux-aus] Converting Linux Australia's "Committee" to a "Board"

Bret Busby bret at busby.net
Fri Feb 16 14:16:10 UTC 2007

On Fri, 16 Feb 2007, Donna Benjamin wrote:

> Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2007 01:38:25 +1100
> From: Donna Benjamin <donna at cc.com.au>
> To: Bret Busby <bret at busby.net>
> Cc: Linux Australia List <linux-aus at lists.linux.org.au>
> Subject: Re: [Linux-aus] Converting Linux Australia's "Committee" to a "Board"
> On Thu, 2007-02-15 at 22:30 +0900, Bret Busby wrote:
>        The correct title is CHAIRMAN. It has nothing to do with gender.
>        The word uses the Latin root of the word man, for the action of
>        doing, so the word chairman, simply means the person who chairs.
>        It has nothing to do with the use of the word man to mean a
>        person who is a male.
>        <snip>
>        And, this need is well demonstrated by the lack of understanding
>        of the word chairman.
> Interesting you should focus on this particular point, it's a common
> misconception that 'man' refers to manus or latin for hand, but it's
> apparently not true.
> http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=chair
> http://gorbould.com/blog/2006/07/is-chairman-sexist.html
> http://www.word-detective.com/112304.html
> Chairman has also taken on connotations beyond it's pure linguistic
> meaning.
> It is for that reason that many modern organisations no longer refer to
> the position as chairman or chairwoman and instead refer to the position
> as "the chair".

Chairman: "the occupier of a chair of authority; the person chosen to 
preside over a meeting, a company, a corporate body, etc"
- The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary

I tend to use the Oxford Dictionary as an authoritative source of 
definitions of English words.

I note that the definition has no reference to gender, in the definition 
of the word "Chairman", but instead, uses the words "occupier" and 
"person", both "gender-neutral".

The interpretations of the word "Chairman", as being gender-based, and 
the implementations of the words "Chairwoman" and "Chairperson", tend to 
come from the people who believe that words like "manufacture" should be 
replaced by "personifacture", or "womanufacture", and no doubt, 
"manifest", by "personifest" and "womanifest", and that "Dobermann" 
Pincers should be renamed "Doberperson" Pincers, or, "Doberwoman" 
Pincers, in the case of bitches, and that the Isle of Mann should be 
named the Isle of Person, and that a person from that locality, should, 
instead of being named a Manxman, should be named a Personxperson. 
Similarly, with all words containing the syllable "man"; the part of a 
car that is known as a "manifold", should be a "womanifold", if a car is 
owned by a woman, or a "personifold" if the gender of the car owner is 
an uncertainty, a "mannikin" becomes a "womannikin" or a "personnikin", 
"humanity" becomes "huwomanity" and "hupersonity" (not to be confused 
with hypersonic), "manipulate" becomes "womanipulate" if done by a 
woman (that seems to be what has been done wth the words and the 
language), or "personipulate", and, "manner" becomes "womanner" or 
"personner". And so, the list goes on.

Similarly, I suppose, where the word "womaniser" exists, I suppose that 
for a person who so pursues men, we can have a "maniser", and, where the 
culprit is bisexual, a "personiser", not to be confused with 

And thence, instead of "maniacs" being inclusive of all genders (now 
that we appear to have new genders, such as "trans-genders"), we must have 
"womaniacs" and "personiacs", not to be confused with the ENIAC, 
contact with which, nowadays, may cause the creation of maniacs and 
womaniacs and personiacs. And, instead of just having "manic 
depression", we must now have "womanic depression", and "personic 
depression", of which, if too much is evident, then it must be 
"hypersonic depression", which is probably what would occur if a 
Concorde crashed into flat land.

It is part of the bastardisation of the English language, to politicize 

Oh, and I am quite aware of the degradation of the word "terrific" - 
similarly with "aweful", and, from the usa and now like alot of what the 
usa has done in taking over the world, the spreading bastardisation of 
the word billion, which properly means a million million ("by 
substitution of bi for mi" - Shorter Oxford Dictionary), and trillion, 
which similarly properly means a million million million, etc.

Bret Busby
West Australia

"So once you do know what the question actually is,
  you'll know what the answer means."
- Deep Thought,
   Chapter 28 of Book 1 of
   "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
   A Trilogy In Four Parts",
   written by Douglas Adams,
   published by Pan Books, 1992


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