Ask Language Log: Caitlyn Jenner, Patriarch?

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Julia Preseau wrote to ask about a phrase in Caitlyn Jenner's (5/5/2021) interview with Sean Hannity, where Jenner seems to say "I love this country, I'm a patriarch":

The last syllable is a bit unclear, but a spectrogram pretty clearly shows the final lowering of the third formant associated with an /r/:

Presumably this is a (Fay-Cutler) malapropism for "patriot", perhaps cut a bit short as the speaker recognized the error in progress.

The context:


  1. AntC said,

    September 9, 2021 @ 12:51 am

    On the (intermittent) series of questionable gender-specific/woke terminology,

    re the Texas Abortion Law decision at the Supreme Court, AOC's preferred term is 'menstruating person'. Starting about 1:10 here.

    I take it AOC's intent is to exclude Caitlyn Jenner a.o., without prejudicing whether Caitlyn could/should be described using a gender-specific term such as 'patriarch'.

  2. Philip Taylor said,

    September 9, 2021 @ 4:00 am

    Can one be "a patriarch" ? I would have thought that one is either "the patriarch" (of a given body) or one is not.

  3. Matt Sayler said,

    September 9, 2021 @ 6:14 am

    @Philip Taylor — surely the term encompasses enough groups that someone might themselves "a patriarch," even without getting into family metaphor. For example,

    (Quite aside from whether this was a slip of the tongue)

  4. Jake said,

    September 9, 2021 @ 6:58 am

    @AntC: The intent is not to exclude transwomen but to include transmen.

  5. Ellen K. said,

    September 9, 2021 @ 8:42 am

    Point of fact. Caitlyn Jenner is well past the age where being a transwomen vs a ciswoman makes a difference on whether one is a "menstruating woman".

  6. David said,

    September 9, 2021 @ 5:50 pm

    In the context of AOC's discussion – the six weeks requirement in Texas – "menstruating person" was very much to the point: if men menstruated every four weeks and were sometimes late, they would understand how absurd the 6 weeks limit is.

  7. Andrew Usher said,

    September 9, 2021 @ 7:01 pm

    First, the speech error is obvious. Though the last sound may be absent, 'patriarch' is the only real word that fits. But then, after listening to the voice and the intonation in just that one sentence, it would evidently feel absurd to use the feminine pronoun to refer to that speaker – the gendered word 'patriarch' only makes it more so – and the original post and the comments have avoided using a pronoun, I can't help noticing.

    Also, though maybe it could be explained better than I yet know, I don't see the difference between a 'classical' and 'Fay-Cutler' malapropism to be useful; it is only a speculation about the mental state of the speaker that even he or she may not be really conscious of.

  8. Pj said,

    September 11, 2021 @ 4:02 pm

    I believe she meant to say, "patriot."

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