Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Essay: "Bankuage." William Safire.

Meaning the language used by banks. Citicorp is engaging in a mentoring program for college students and has dubbed its participants as “mentors” and “mentees.” Mr. Safire says that people can’t just go around turning every noun that ends in “-or” into related participants with a word ending in “—ee.” If a word exists already—“Lessee”—then use it. But don’t just coin an expression by adding “—ee.”

The mentors at the bank respond, “Until you can find some better way of expressing the relationship, we’ll use it the way we do. It’s “mentor” and “mentee.”

Coming to Terms. William Safire. New York: Doubleday. 1991.

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