Questions over ascent of the A hole

Questions over Ascent of the A-hole


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1) How old is it as a derogatory term for a person? Who first started using it that way?

2) Whats the difference between profanities and obscenities?

3) What does Nunberg mean when he says that some of the obscenities stopped being used for what is considered obscene?

4) How does f differ from a-hole in terms of the type of meaning it conveys?

5) What does it mean to say that the word a-hole is sui generis? How does it differ from, say, phony?

6) How do Tom Cruises movie characters come into this?

7) Why do we not call kids a-holes?

8) What is the moral logic of assholism?

9) Women arent called a-holes as regularly as men are. Why?

10) Would we be as concerned/obsessed with the concept behind the qualities of being an a-hole if we didnt have the word for it?


Questions over the the f-word

1. How did faggot, which earlier meant a bundle of sticks most likely come to be used to refer to homosexuals in a derogatory way?

2. What is metonymy? Give an example. Try to think of one other than they give.

3. When was faggot first recorded as a term for a gay man?

4. Today a use of faggot or gay has taken on a more general meaning as an insult, one that is not about sexuality. What does Zwicky say about the acceptability of that use?


Questions over The B-Word? You Betcha by Andi Zeisler

1. What does she say the to convey by the use of the term bitch?

2. Why did they choose the term for the name of the publication?

3. Describe the McCain episode that Zeisler discusses. How do you think McCain (a presidential nominee at the time) should have responded?

4. Do you think the word bitch can be used for other men in a way that doesnt make some comment on women and their proper role?


Grammar of expletives

Some expletives (words used to ) are much more flexible grammatically than others; that is, some terms can fit different can work as nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs in certain sentence frames. Sometimes they can do so with derivational endings and sometimes without. Sometimes, they don’t take such endings. Lets look at these words:

d–n, p–s, bas—d, f–k, h–l, a-hole, s-t, c–t. Which of the following frames can they fit it?


You + _______. Direct address

2 Personal Reference The _______. or What the __________? Said about someone or something that may or may not be present.

3 Destination _________ off! Telling someone to take themselves somewhere else

4 Cursing _________ you! Direct

5 General expletive of anger, annoyance and frustration _________!

6 Explicit expletive of anger, annoyance and frustration __________ it!

7 Can be used as phrasal verb. __________ around, up

8 Adjectival extension (possibly with ing ending or y ending) ___________ driver

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