Monday, August 20, 2007

Can Someone Mentor The Mentors

... on language?

While it's foolish to quantify English into its precise number of words, the OED contains entries for 171,476 current and 47,156 "obsolete" words, I think it fair to assert that an adequate number of words exists such that the invention of new words is unnecessary. Especially when new words are incorrectly created to stand-in for words ignored by, uh, ignorant people.

I'll explain.

If you want to get the inner-linguist in me hopping mad, simply use the word "mentee." I've ranted about this before. The word "mentee" is predicated on ignorance. It assumes the word "mentor" parallels words like contractor or nominator. It does not. A mentor's student is not a "mentee." A mentor's student is a protege - or, if you must enslave yourself to the law student hoppy of slapping an "ee" on everything printed on a page, a "mentoree."

A mentor's student is not a mentee. Just. not.

I accept, hell, I sometimes celebrate, that language evolves. I like that we can turn most anything into a verb these days and get a laugh out of someone by doing it.

But the losing the word "protege" really irks me - perhaps because it is a word that should be used by educated people - the kind of people who'd have benefited from being a protege or could do good by mentoring.

Please, save the endangered protege. And eradicate the dangerous mentee, before it's too late.

No comments: