Of “Statesman” and “Stateswoman”   Leave a comment


Above:  Stateswoman

Writing and Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor


Years ago, when I was a graduate student and teaching assistant at The University of Georgia (UGA), Charles, one of the other teaching assistants with whom I shared an office in the basement of LeConte Hall, asked me to proofread something he had written for an assignment.  I was glad to do so.  I proofread the text and used the the spellcheck function of Microsoft Word.  The spelling and organization of the text was excellent, by the way.  The spellchecker did, however, flag the word “statesman,” which Charles used to describe Willy Brandt (1913-1992), the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1969 to 1974.  I recognized no need to recommend that Charles change the word.  After all, Brandt was a man.  I told Charles of the spellcheck result.  He agreed with my conclusion.

Today is, on my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, the Feast of Flora MacDonald (1926-2015), whom I describe as a “Canadian Stateswoman and Humanitarian.”  I have no hesitation describing her as a stateswoman, for she was, obviously, a woman.

Accuracy and precision in language are wonderful.





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