Linguistics Paper Exerpt

No really, I wrote this for my American Englishes class.

I really like the word bitch because of its versatility. It started out meaning “female dog” and then progressed to have a meaning more like “irritable or mean female.” But now it has a variety of meanings. The primary way to use bitch is still to refer to a sour female. I like the word even for this usage, as it indicates a very specific and feminine type of behavior. The word can also be used on men, indicating that they’re acting annoyed or angry in a way that seems distinctly feminine. Additionally, to call a man bitch could indicate that he’s being scared or hesitant, “like a female.” I don’t like this usage because of its negative view of women (like men can’t be scared too), and think the term weenie is just as good. The verb to bitch is incredibly descriptive as well, giving the feeling of ranting but with an extra layer of futility. If you’re bitching, it’s because there’s either absolutely no answer to the problem, or because the answer is so painfully obvious you shouldn’t have to talk about it. (“Stop bitching; things will never change,” versus, “Stop bitching and do something about it!”) And finally, I love the term bitchin. As in “What a bitchin new car, dude!” The meaning of this is somewhat unrelated to bitch in its other uses, without any indication of femininity or negativity. In fact, this word pretty much means “cool.” Bitchin!


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