Tuesday, October 26, 2010

This Bugs Me

Okay, I'm going to go really, really geeky here but I'm a writer and I get hung up about language so just let me rant.

I like good funny tee shirts. I like wearing them and they make good presents and since I'm poly and have a lot of friends who are poly, I thought a good, funny poly tee shirt would be a great thing to find. I've looked several times but the only one I seem to be able to find is this one.

This shirt bugs the heck out of me. Not because the joke is a little long-winded, possibly a bit awkwardly phrased. Not because it's an etymology joke. I'm the kind of person who would love a knee-slapper about hilarious suffices. And you've got to admit that this kind of humor is pretty appropriate to the subject, since polyamorists are generally a pretty smart, geeky group of people who could enjoy a dorky joke like this just as much as I would.

No, this shirt bugs me for a much simpler reason: Who the heck says it's wrong to mix Latin and Greek roots in the same word?!? That's perfectly normal. It's called a hybrid word and there are plenty of them. Automobile, dysfunctional, kilometer, electrocution, hyperactive, bilingual, sociology, sociopath, television. Even the most heteronormative etymologist wouldn't have a problem with polyamory on a grammatical level. If he did, he'd be a complete hypocrite because heteronormative is another Greek-Latin hybrid, with a French suffix to boot.

Besides polyamory, a lot of words to describe sexuality are also hybrids, like heterosexual, homosexual or bigamist. Polyamory is just the latest in a long tradition of English words that have smashed together bits and pieces of other languages. That's what makes the English language great!

So you heard it here first, kids. Polyamory is most definitely NOT wrong.


  1. I think pollés agápes just sounded to... Greek. };^)~

  2. I've got another one for you, though this one is not on a t-shirt. It is long winded, and it is on a graph. I'll give the link so there's credit: http://tacit.livejournal.com/333842.html