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Posted: 05 September 2007 10:32 AM   [ Ignore ]
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In an earlier thread someone asked is it PC to use the “maiden name” terminology.

I just discovered née. Is this PC?

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Posted: 05 September 2007 11:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Nay.

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Posted: 05 September 2007 11:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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What’s not PC about it?

It is simply French for born as (feminine of past participle of naître). It’s a very useful identifier for those who might not know the woman by her married name.

Even if you believe that women should not change their names upon marriage, you must recognize that it is a common practice and that there is a need for such an identifier.

There is even a male equivalent, , for those rarer occasions when you need to identify a man’s birth name.

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Posted: 05 September 2007 06:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Well, it’s certainly better than relict (not that they’re parallel exactly).  As in “the relict of the late Honorable governor Humbert VonHumbertperson.” When I first saw this on tombstones in a St. Andrews cemetery, I was perplexed to say the least.

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Posted: 05 September 2007 06:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I think we have an ambiguous question.

“Is this PC?” could mean “Is this some politically correct phraseology, like “differently abled” or “persons of color”, that we are required to use lest we be thought hopelessly out of it, or even be labeled a member of the oppressor class?”

Or it could mean “Is this term acceptable by the standards of political correctness--can I assume that I won’t be branded a member of the oppressor class just for using it?”

No to the first, yes to the second.  Many feminists object to women changing their name at marriage, but I don’t think many of them would attack you for taking note of the fact that some women do, and using née to indicate such a change.  And as Dave implies, it can even be used to indicate name changes for other reasons.

[ Edited: 05 September 2007 06:32 PM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 06 September 2007 04:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Dave, have you seen that né somewhere? I have had to translate the German equivalent and I usually write ‘birth name’. For a woman, I would write née, but I would be dubious about né for a man.

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Posted: 06 September 2007 05:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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né is a correct and used term for adopted (name changed) males in France on eg. Cartes d’identité, where all civil “events/history” (birth, marriage, parents natural & adoptive, grandparents etc) are recorded

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Posted: 06 September 2007 06:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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is in the OED3, first cite in 1937. I’ve also seen it in the wild, but it’s much, much rarer than née.

OED cites:

1937 N. MARSH Vintage Murder xiv. 153 He’s a very nasty little person, is Mr. St. John Ackroyd, né Albert Biggs, a thoroughly unpleasant piece of bluff and brass. 1972 Times Lit. Suppl. 27 Oct. 1271/1 Headlam-Morley (né Headlam) was born in 1863. 1977 New Yorker 10 Oct. 50/1 One of the few Western holders of the Lenin (né Stalin) Peace Prize. 1988 Washington Post 25 Sept. E 6/1 L’Amiral de Grasse (né Francois Joseph Paul) played a brief but crucial role in the Revolutionary War. 2000 Church Times 27 Oct. 10/3 The weather in Madras might be baking, but John (né Sidiq) will tut at the rainclouds gathering over New Falls, Wisconsin.

Still seems to be in use and in very mainstream, wide circulation publications. The New Yorker citation is interesting in that it doesn’t refer (directly) to a person, but to the renaming of a prize.

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Posted: 06 September 2007 07:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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More importantly, “né” is a vital word for playing Scrabble.  (The accent seems not to be a problem under the rules.) “Née” is only occasionally useful.

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Posted: 06 September 2007 09:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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“Née” is only occasionally useful.

Much employed by Houyhnhms to signify dissent.

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Posted: 06 September 2007 11:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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neilhow,

né is a correct and used term for adopted (name changed) males in France on eg. Cartes d’identité, where all civil “events/history” (birth, marriage, parents natural & adoptive, grandparents etc) are recorded

But that’s in French, isn’t it? I mean English. I think I will stick to birth name.

No-one would ever have let me get away with ne in Scrabble (or is it in Chambers?)

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Posted: 06 September 2007 03:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I would say “né” and “née” are both English words when used in English: they mean “born”. They are adopted from French. It might also be claimed that both are French words and not English words even when used in English: it depends on one’s nomenclature, I suppose. It might also be possible to quibble about whether they’re both the same word.

But surely—IMHO—for a given expository context either (1) both “né” and “née” are appropriate (depending on sex) or (2) neither is appropriate.

[ Edited: 06 September 2007 04:31 PM by D Wilson ]
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Posted: 06 September 2007 10:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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This is getting too serious for me. I just wrote ‘nay’ as a joke.

About the French question: it was directed to the poster, who said it is used a lot in France. I didn’t mean you can’t use it in English, I wanted to know in what sense - in French or in English translations - it is used in France. Because if it is used in French, that is not really good evidence of its use in English - or have I overlooked something?

As for my translations, I have a gut feeling, which may be wrong, that né is too obscure to use, unlike née. I don’t think I’m going to use it. I also have quite different problems, like ‘name before marriage’, which may not be identical to birth name.

Anyway, thanks for all the information.

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Posted: 07 September 2007 05:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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As Dr. T. observed my original post was ambiguous. I had seen née and was asking “Is this term acceptable by the standards of political correctness--” It subsequently occurred to me to do a Google News search and found it is not uncommonly used in online newspapers in the US. (Of a thousand or so Google News ghits a few less than half were US.)

[ Edited: 07 September 2007 05:31 AM by droogie ]
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Posted: 07 September 2007 07:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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You obviously play Scrabble in English, zirbelnuss. You’re old-fashioned. Take a look at the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary (fourth Edition). It has thousands of words which are hard to think of as English --- “Scrabblish” better describes the language.

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Posted: 07 September 2007 08:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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You’re old-fashioned.

Isn’t it amazing how one slips into being old-fashioned? Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was new-fangled?

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