The dumbening of the English language

The dumbening of the English language

The only point I want to make about this National Geographic article is word usage. The first sentence says: “Japanese fishers have found an unusual bottlenose dolphin with an extra set of fins that could be an evolutionary throwback to the time when the marine mammals’ ancient ancestors walked on land.”


I guess fisherman has gone the politically correct way of the fireman (firefighter) and policeman (police officer) and mailman (mail carrier). I suppose it’s small consolation they didn’t feel compelled to use a two-word variant like fishcatcher. Is anyone besides the egregiously thin-skinned feminists upset by the use of the generic “” on words?

It reminds me of the proposed ICEL translation of the Lectionary a few years ago that would have change Christ’s words to the apostles in English: “I will make you fishers of men” to “I will make you fish for people,” which sounds to my ears like he’s going to turn them into a seafood platter.

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  • No contradiction. “Fishers of men” is a verbal noun usage, very common in English where the regular term would be unwieldy like “fishermen of men” would be and it is a nice play on words.

    On the other hand, the National Geographic usage is a P.C. circumlocution, plain and simple.

  • Re: I actually had a priest change “fishers of men” to fish for people . . .

    Count your blessings –  in Canada we get “fishers of people” routinely.  It’s in our NRSV lectionary (which Rome has banned for liturgical use, BTW).