4.1169 Summary: Fresh? (1/88)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Wed, 20 Mar 91 17:06:59 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 1169. Wednesday, 20 Mar 1991.

Date: Sat, 16 Mar 91 07:40 EST
Subject: SUMMARY: Inclusive word for 'freshman'

Toward the end of February, I requested suggestions for an
inclusive word to replace 'freshman.'

Several responses, including an editorial, appeared on HUMANIST,
and I received two private suggestions, which I excerpt here:

Gene Davis wrote:
I first began thinking about "freshman" when our daughter at the
College of Wooster in Ohio informed us that, though this is her
first year in college, she was NOT a freshman. There, first-year
students are called, somewhat cumbersomely, just that: First
Year Students. I'll ask her whether there's a clever coinage or
slang term for this condition next time I write. I'll follow
this discussion with interest on Humanist.

And reported soon after:
I just heard from our daughter via Email. Seems students in her
situation at Wooster are called, or call themselves, logically
enough, "first-years," a term "no more cumbersome than freshmen."

Another person, who has not yet replied saying it is ok to use
her name, wrote:

We use the sometimes awkward "first year student" with sophomore etc.
Cumbersome but effective.

I dimly recall a term, perhaps "Gruenschnabel," used in sense of
"frosh" in the German academic context. "Greenhorn" would be
available, but appears to have no tradition on U.S. campuses.
(Gruenschnabel, or whatever the word is, may have no tradition on
German "campuses," only in chapbooks intended for students in
sophomore German classes.)

The responses that appeared on HUMANIST are attached to the end
of this note (I hope I didn't drop any).

Interestingly, the database search of recent postings that I used
to find references to "fresh" picked up the following:

... I thought that what I learned as a fresher in college was
written in stone, and would never change, that....
Sigrid Peterson


From: Henry Rogers <ROGERS@vm.epas.utoronto.ca>
Tracy Logan asks for a replacement for 'freshmen', suitable for a formal
written context. 'First-year students' seems an obvious suggestion.
This is the normal Canadian term where the American terms 'sophomore',
etc. are not used. Actually, 'freshmen' or 'frosh' is used, but
usually in a non-academic context, such as in a student newspaper about
life in a residence.

For a gender neutral first-year student, I've been expecting some British
correspondent to suggest the old Oxford slang, "freshers". None of the
clash of the neologism and quite neutral.

From: "Robert S. Kirsner" <IDT1RSK@UCLAMVS.BITNET>
This is clearly a job for -NIK, which was the subject of postings a
while back. Indeed, Freshniks would seem to have a great deal in common
with Peaceniks and Beatniks, but none of the industriousness of
Kibbutzniks. But perhaps they will deconstruct just like Litniks.

If -NIK is disfavored, there is always -OID, as in "Postal made a rather
Chomskyoid remark." We could have Freshoids, Sophoids, Junoids and
Senoids. One could even apply this one to the administration. An
Associate Dean could be termed a Deanoid. And a Vice Chancellor a

Or, if THAT doesn't work, we could fall back on the diminutive: All
Freshies will report to the maleperson's gym at 9:00 for the placement
tests. Sophies should report at 11:00.

Or, we could even evoke the ZERO affix, as in "The Chair is perplexed at
your remark!". In that case, all Freshes could report to the
malebeing's gym at 9:00 for the placement test.

THERE! Another way in which L*I*N*G*U*I*S*T*I*C*S makes your life
better for you!


- tracy
uucp : rutgers!lafcol!logant
Bitnet : loganT @ LAFAYETT
Internet: loganT @ lafvax.lafayette.edu