by Daniel A. Kaufman
Every culture and sub-culture develops and employs its own distinctive terminology and sometimes even its own language. At times, these linguistic innovations may be difficult to understand, especially in the absence of competent bilinguals.
Perhaps one of the best contemporary examples of such a language is that of the Woke (WL). While WL’s semantic and grammatical simplifications might tempt us to think that it is an English pidgin, WL is not a hybrid. It draws exclusively from English and traces its history back to white millennial hipsters and their fellow travelers. WL is also distinctive in that its terminology and common expressions are almost entirely disingenuous and manipulative. The current consensus among linguists, consequently, is that WL is much more like a cryptolect or cant than a pidgin, and much of the difficulty in translating it, is that virtually all of its distinctive terms and expressions are lexically indistinguishable from their Standard English counterparts.
Because the Woke are an insular, suspicious, and hostile people, located almost exclusively in several large cities and haphazardly distributed around a seemingly unlimited number of coffee houses and organic microbreweries, linguists have found it difficult to embed with them in such a way as to develop a solid base of bilingual speakers.
This is we why are pleased to present the latest addition to our much beloved series of concise dictionaries: The Larousse Concise Woke-English/English-Woke Dictionary. For each entry a Woke Term or Expression (WTE) is followed by its translation into Standard English (SE)
WTE: ‘I use X pronouns’/‘My pronouns are X’
SE: You’d better use X pronouns when talking about me or else.
WTE: ‘I identify as X’
SE: You’d better publicly acknowledge that I am X or else.
WTE: ‘The X Community’
SE: X’s who agree with me.
SE: Things I dislike that I conflate with actual injuries.
WTE: ‘Structural X-ism’
SE: A take on X-ism that justifies going after people who haven’t done anything.
SE: Any advantage of yours that I use to justify putting you at the bottom of whatever social or dialectical space we are in.
WTE: ‘People of Color’
SE: Everyone who isn’t of European origin, including Asians, but excluding them if including them takes us off-narrative.
WTE: ‘White Adjacent’
SE: Non-white people whose inclusion under ‘people of color’ takes us off narrative. [See ‘People of Color’ above.]
SE: Any quality or thing that I dislike and which I say causes harm. [See ‘Harm’ above]
WTE: ‘Educate Yourself’
SE: Read the sources and hold the views that I agree with.
WTE: ‘Center X Voices’
SE: [When said to non-X] Shut up.
WTE: ‘Queering X’
SE: Reconceiving X so that it becomes impossible to make any distinctions.
WTE: ‘Holding X accountable’
SE: Destroying X’s relationships, reputations, or sources of livelihood.
WTE: ‘Right Wing’ / ‘Alt Right’
SE: Everyone I disagree with, even if they are Marxist feminists.
SE: A trivial bit of speech or behavior that causes no actual injury but is used as a basis on which to claim harm. [See ‘Harm’ and ‘Problematic’ above.]
WTE: ‘Invalidating my existence’
SE: Saying – or thinking – things about me that I dislike.
WTE: ‘Safe Space’
SE: A physical or discursive space in which no one says or does anything I dislike. [May or may not include puppy rooms.]
WTE: ‘Decolonize the Curriculum’
SE: Get rid of as many good books and influential people as possible.
WTE: ‘Non-Consensual Co-Platforming’
SE: Being included in a group endeavor with people with whom I disagree and who are better than I am at doing whatever the group endeavor is.
SE: Anything I dislike that is said or done or not done by someone I dislike.
SE: Any group of people who receive the support of and are aggressively promoted by mass media, celebrities, and gigantic corporations.
SE: Any view regarding X that I dislike.
SE: Anyone whom I accuse of X-phobia. [See ‘X-Phobia’ above.]
SE: Someone who believes and says and does everything I want.