Rubbers (was: Spanish education)
|From:||Jonathan Knibb <jonathan_knibb@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, March 14, 2002, 18:42|
Lars Henrik Mathiesen wrote:
>>>I think that's an example of taboo replacement: Rubbers, originally
made from leather, were quite peacefully known as rubbers for over 400
years, while the word was applied to the new substance used for them,
and then to similar substances like latex --- but when the name now
has been transferred to an object with sexual uses, it can no longer
be used for something that goes in every child's pencil case.
If it's any consolation, Lars, my attitude if I ever need to use the word is
to fix my interlocutor with a penetrating gaze, use the word 'rubber' and
implicitly dare them to giggle. Naturally, this stems from my deep-seated
Rightpondian prejudices against 'eraser'. :)
You may also find it amusing to note that it used to be a popular pastime
among my classmates, at the age of ten or so, to ask me 'Have you got a
rubber, Johnny?' - 'Johnny' being another euphemism for the same object.
If you do find it amusing, though, I'm afraid I shall have to kill you. :)
'O dear white children casual as birds,
Playing among the ruined languages...'
W. H. Auden, 'Hymn to St. Cecilia'