Re: [OPE-L] When is Bob your uncle?

From: Jerry Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Wed Jan 04 2006 - 15:53:06 EST


For what it's worth,

I'm not sure how it works in the Netherlands (or
how relevant it is to this discussion) but,  here in the US,
an Uncle has many meanings.  Uncle Bob,  for instance,
might (by a different form of reckoning) be a first cousin
once-removed (e.g. a male first cousin of my mother).
Or, Uncle Bob might be a long-time close friend of my
mother or father -- not a 'blood relation' at all.

How does Uncle Bob come about then if he is not the
brother of your mother or father?  Well, it's very simple.
Your mother, father, or guardian tells you at an early age
that Bob is Uncle Bob and Bob then answers to this title.
It comes to have a kind of generic meaning that can be
given to a male adult.  You might say that this is not its
original meaning.  True enough -- but the meaning of many
words change over time and in different cultures.

In solidarity,


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